“The Returned” Series 2 review: Diminishing Returns

Ok, let me start by saying that I loved the first series of “The Returned”; when it was on, it was definitely my TV highlight of the year and I was very excited at the prospect of a new series.

However, sadly, the second series turned out to be a massive disappointment.

The main problem is simply that the episodes are just so dull! Most episodes simply consist of characters walking slowly, staring out of windows and asking what is going on. There are also far too many instances of hordes of “zombies” just standing still, staring at the other characters, or walking through the woods. Also, many of the earlier episodes simply involve the Segurets just sitting around in the “domain”, waiting for something to happen. After a while, this becomes tedious, boring and frankly, aggravating. When you ask yourself “what happened in the last episode?”, it is certainly difficult to think of a significant plot point!
The series also tries to introduce some new characters, while revisiting some from the first series. Unfortunately, this results in a lack of character depth; by the end, we are left no longer really caring about some of the characters, and many of the new ones simply don’t make a significant enough impact.
The storyline of the second series is also not as good as the first one; it unfortunately seems lazy and somewhat pretentious. To a degree, the second series is doing what it did the first time, namely introducing new “returned” characters and setting up plot strands. The problem is that we had all of that in the first series and by this point, we don’t want to see new characters, we instead want answers to the questions that were left at the end of the last series. Though it does eventually answer these questions somewhat, it takes an awful long time to get there!
Finally, in terms of visuals, the series is also rather drab and unpleasant to look at. It’s understandable that the whole colour scheme fits in with the atmosphere, but for me, the way the series looked had a negative impact.

In terms of positive points, I will say that there are indeed one or two very interesting moments in the series that are definitely exciting to watch, such as finding out how Mme. Costa died and the final explanation as to how the returned came back in the first place. Sadly, these moments are too few in number. Also, I will say that the series does finish with a satisfying enough conclusion; the last half hour or so is definitely when the series (finally) hits its stride.
Also, there is an intriguing new love interest for Julie, introduced in the second half of the series. Since the relationship between Julie and Laure was wonderful to watch in the previous series, it is a shame that the latter doesn’t appear here. However, in the case of the second series, there is definite chemistry between the two actresses, though this is again, sadly, all too brief.

So in conclusion, the second series of “The Returned” is nowhere near as good as the first. Though it does end satisfyingly, it is definitely a long, hard trudge to get there!

2 Stars

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