This review is based on the first episode of the American remake of "Les revenants", probably the only episode I'll ever watch, given its almost overwhelming inferiority. Once again, someone - in this case, Carlton Cuse (who I have nothing against; I enjoy Bates Motel) - has gotten it in their head that a standout European offering needs to be remade in America. Remember "Gracepoint", the American remake of "Broadchurch"? Yeah, neither do I.
They follow the French script almost exactly, but the execution is terrible. Many of the older characters are made younger; most of the plain or even ugly characters are made at least somewhat attractive, if not hot. The pacing is terrible. Whereas the original featured shots that lingered over scenes to create atmosphere and lingered over characters' faces to allow them to subtly emote, the remake features fast cuts and dutch angles. Thus, the show loses any sense of subtlety. The original was a carefully crafted character drama with the feeling of an elegiac dirge; the remake is a plot-driven mess with none of the atmosphere. The characters simply are not believable in the way the characters in the original were; their motivations and emotions are completely opaque. The language is sanitized, presumably for some ratings board, but due to this does not feel real at all. The music is a far cry from the utterly atmospheric soundtrack composed by Mogwai for the French version. At best, this is an incompetent blunder; at best, it is a travesty against good taste, especially with "Les revenants" so widely available, including in America.
American studios need to start coming up with their own concepts and executing them well instead of badly ripping off European television. And they're certainly capable - from "Six Feet Under" to "Carnivale" to "Breaking Bad" to "True Detective", there have been plenty of good-to-great American programs. But they just fail every time they try to remake an exceptional European show. What's next, "Spiral", the American remake of "Engrenages", starring Angelina Jolie as Berthaud, Justin Bieber as Roban, and shot with a fisheye lens?