September 10, 2013 10:27am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Sundance Channel Adds Zombie Drama 'The Returned'
Sundance Channel is jumping on the horror train.
The cable network, as it continues to push into more original scripted fare, has picked up French zombie drama The Returned.
The eight-part series, from Zodiak Rights, will debut on Halloween -- just two weeks after AMC's The Walking Dead returns for its fourth season.
The Fabrice Gobert drama is based on the feature film Les Revenants by Robin Campillo and is set in a French mountain town where a seemingly random group of people find themselves in a state of confusion as they attempt to return to their homes. What they don't know yet is that they have been dead for several years, and no one is expecting them back. As they struggle to reintegrate with their families and past lovers, buried secrets emerge and new mysteries develop as they grapple with a miraculous and sinister new reality. But it seems they are not the only ones to have returned from the dead. Their arrival coincides with a series of gruesome murders, which bear a chilling resemblance to the work of a serial killer from the past. The series was produced by Caroline Benjo, Jimmy Desmarais and Carole Scotta from Haut et Court.
"We decided to take zombies to a new and utterly original level -- we made them French!" Sundance president Sarah Barnett said. "The Returned is smart entertainment that shocks and entertains at every turn. We think our audience will love how this series grounds the supernatural in deeply human emotions."
The series will premiere Oct. 31 at 9 p.m. and air Thursdays at 9 p.m. as Sundance looks to capitalize on the wave of horror-themed fare that includes Walking Dead, FX's American Horror Story (also returning in October), NBC's Hannibal, Fox's The Following and more.
In France, the series aired to rave reviews and ratings after airing on Canal+ and the U.K.'s Channel 4.
"We are absolutely thrilled to bring this phenomenal series to the North American audience," said Zodiak Rights (Paris) GM Marc Nowak. "This is a sign the U.S. TV market is opening up to French drama and that the independent production and distribution companies need to continue to innovate and create original fiction to succeed internationally."
For Sundance, The Returned comes as the AMC Networks-owned cabler continues to expand its original scripted offerings following Emmy-nominated Top of the Lake and Rectify. The network's second fully owned original scripted series, The Red Road, will debut in 2014 with the second season of Rectify and original miniseries The Honourable Woman, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, the latter of which it will co-produce with BBC Worldwide.