Life be­fore death would be nice

SFX - - View screen -

''Pre­pare to en­ter a whole new di­men­sion of dull!” is ei­ther the world’s worst tagline or a warn­ing that should pre­cede ev­ery episode of Res­ur­rec­tion. Ex­cept that makes it sound too ex­cit­ing. The show’s cen­tral premise screams “minis­eries”; it’s ba­si­cally a US vari­a­tion on the French The Re­turned with dead peo­ple re­turn­ing to life in a small town called Ar­ca­dia.

By the end of the first run of eight episodes the writ­ers were al­ready lethar­gi­cally tread­ing wa­ter try­ing to con­vince us this was an on­go­ing se­ries. Then some­body com­mis­sioned 13 more. Sadly, no­body came up with enough plot to fill more than three of them.

The prob­lem with high- con­cept shows that kick off with pi­lots full of mys­tery is that the au­di­ence wants an­swers. With a minis­eries they can rea­son­ably ex­pect an­swers. With an on­go­ing se­ries all they get is de­lay­ing tac­tics. Ad­mit­tedly, The Re­turned is an on­go­ing se­ries too, but, like last year’s im­pres­sive US show The Left­overs, the Gal­lic se­ries made it clear from the off that it’s not re­ally both­ered about why what’s hap­pen­ing is hap­pen­ing; it’s more con­cerned with the fall- out. Also like The Left­overs, be­ing weird helped. Enig­matic pom­pos­ity can pa­per over plot holes.

Res­ur­rec­tion, though, is a bland mish­mash of X- Files con­spir­acy arcs and Un­der The Dome, with small town- Amer­i­cans re­act­ing ex­actly the way small- town Amer­i­cans wouldn’t in the face of ex­treme weird­ness. It’s geared to be all about the an­swers. There are some in­ter­est­ing twists to the na­ture of the res­ur­rec­tions, sure, but they’re never ex­ploited, and the tone of the se­ries is re­lent­lessly dour.

Even when it in­tro­duces a mad preacher and an Omen vibe in the fi­nal few episodes the re­sults are more hum­drum than hellish.

Why do the dead come back to life in Ar­ca­dia? Maybe it’s pur­ga­tory. Like watch­ing the show. Dave Golder

“To­day’s les­son con­cerns high­con­cept TV shows.”

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