A&E’s upcoming series “The Returned” revolves around a town whose inhabitants are disrupted when their deceased loved ones begin returning, but it was a different kind of specter that hovered over the show’s panel at the Television Critics Association on Friday. Namely, “Gracepoint.”
Given that “The Returned” is based on the French series “Les Revenants,” “Gracepoint” — Fox’s adaptation of the British series “Broadchurch” that met with lukewarm reaction late last year — was a natural topic of discussion, with executive producers Carlton Cuse and Raelle Tucker taking pains to note that their series won’t be a carbon copy of its predecessor.
“To some degree [the two series are similar], but I think it’s really the starting point that’s similar,” Cuse offered.
“I think over time our show becomes quite different,” Cuse added, putting the point of divergence sometime around episode six of ‘The Returned,” which premieres March 9.
Cuse went on to note that, should “The Returned” return itself for a second season, it will be starting from whole cloth, without the direct reference point of “Les Revenants.”
“This show going forward will be wholly original,” he said. Comparing the original series to “a seed,” Cuse said that “The Returned” is “going to grow into its own thing.”
Another show that Cuse distanced “The Return” from during the panel was ABC’s “Resurrection,” which, quite similarly, deals with dead people finding themselves alive again.
“Very consciously, we didn’t watch ‘Resurrection,’ we didn’t think it would be good for our creative process,” Cuse noted.
Perhaps not surprisingly, there was one show that Cuse didn’t mind comparing “The Returned” to: His former series “Lost.” In addition to sharing an actor in Mark Pellegrino, the two shows share a similar penchant for non-linear storytelling via flashbacks and flash-forwards.
“I think a lot my hope is that every show that I do is a growth experience for me as a writer and a storyteller,” Cuse offered. “This show is sort of a mosaic in the same way that ‘Lost’ is.”