Life before death would be nice
''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.”