‘Resurrection’ falls flat following premier

Posted April 19, 2014


“Resurrection” entices its viewers with an intriguing plot that plays on one of our biggest curiosities, death. However, the show falls flat on its writing and acting and instead falls back on clichés and its initial narrative to keep audiences.

The basis of the show is quite alluring, piquing many people’s interests: residents of a small town in Arcadia, Mo., are taken aback when people they know have died return to the town seemingly intact. The first previews of the show introduce federal agent J. Martin Bellamy (Omar Epps), who shows up on the doorstep of Lucille (Frances Fisher) and Henry Langston (Kurtwood Smith), claiming to have their 8-year-old son.

Henry Langston responds that his son died 32 years earlier. Jacob Langston (Landon Gimenez), their son, appears and runs into his father’s arms, to his father’s astonishment. These previews appeal to humans on a basic level, since losing a loved one is something everyone can relate to, and the idea of having them back in our lives is reassuring and something we have all wished for.

Throughout the duration of the show (there have been six episodes so far) more people thought to have died return to Arcadia, the same age they were when they died and with perfect memories of their families, friends and experiences.

The first episode of “Resurrection” premiered on March 9 with 13.9 million U.S. viewers and each subsequent episode has had fewer and fewer, with 8.05 million viewers tuning in to the most recent episode airing on April 6. Ratings for the first episode also started out promising, with a 3.8 while the most recent episode garnered a 2.2

With such clichéd exchanges as “It’s over,” “No, it’s just beginning…” one can see how the audience members have been lost to disinterest and general disappointment with the way the story line plays out.

In some scenes, the acting is over-the-top and at times laughable even though it is far from a comedy. However, the drama genre may be new territory for some of the actors. For example, Kurtwood Smith, who we all know and love as “foot-in-the-ass,” straightforward and strict Red Foreman on “That 70’s Show” now plays a complex father who struggles with accepting that his only child is dead, but has returned. Henry Langston is positive that he buried is son, so he grapples with the idea of letting his “old” son go, and accepting this “new” boy who has appeared in his life.

In addition, flashback scenes occurring without a cutaway from the current scene can cause confusion at times and nearly every episode ends on a cliffhanger, which can get bothersome after the first two.

So far, there has been little focus on the reappearance of dead people, but rather how they are settling in. The people in the town seem to be accepting of the fact that people who have been mourned and buried are suddenly alive and walking around.

Although it seems like everyone in town is aware of the returners, there has been no media frenzy in Arcadia or interest from federal government agencies in investigating or studying them. The returners not only bring up old feelings, but resurrect new relationships, new familial dynamics and open up old mysteries that appeared to have died with them.

There are similarities between “Resurrection” and “Les Revenants,” a 2012 French television drama about a small town in France where dead people return to the town and live seemingly normal lives. However, “Resurrection” is based on the 2013 book series “The Returned” by Jason Mott. While the TV show only focuses on Arcadia as the location of dead people returning, Mott’s book has a global scope, with the dead returning in communities all around the world, causing chaos.

Grappling with the idea of death and its permanency is something that many struggle with, so the show is intriguing and accurate in that respect, but ultimately I am disappointed with its treatment. With two episodes left in this first season, I will keep watching if only to see how they close out the mysteries raised in the first six, but unless the writing gets substantially better, this is a show that may not need to be revived for a second season.

  • Name: “Resurrection”
  • Station: ABC
  • Air Time: 9 p.m., Sundays
  • Run time: approximately 43 minutes
  • Major actors and actresses: Omar Epps, Kurtwood Smith, Frances Fisher
  • Category: Drama
  • Summary: Members of a small town are boggled when their deceased loved ones return.