Third-episode verdict: Resurrection (ABC)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 3

In the US: Sundays, 9/8c, ABC

Ah, what a shame. After such a promising startResurrection has failed to live up to expectations.

Alternately moving and mystifying, the first episode gave us a small-town American child waking up in China, only for immigrations official Omar Epps to discover once he gets the child back to his home that he died 30 years earlier.

Qu’est-ce qui se passe? Well, this isn’t Les Revenants, so stop asking questions in French, but three episodes in, we’re still not sure.

In fact, we’re pretty much in exactly the same place we were in by the end of the first episode, with the producers essentially extending the mystery by bringing back a new dead person at the end of every episode. The only explanation for events that we have so far – it’s all linked to the town’s river somehow – has proved to be a clunker already.

To a certain extent, this isn’t really a show about plot, though. This is a show about loss, what it would mean emotionally to people to have a loved one restored and how everyone would react if they did. So far each returning dead person has been intended at showing a different facet of these experiences.

But ultimately it’s been empty, since it’s not really explored the issues in much depth and often times, despite its unique set-up, it simply states the blindingly obvious or something that didn’t need the supernatural to be explored. So, for example, the local churchgoers are suspicious that it’s the work of the Devil, but no one ponders on what it means for Jesus if he’s not uniquely resurrected – or if he’s now bringing people back. Older parents do find it harder to raise energetic young children: this is as true for normal kids as it is for formerly dead ones. And so on.

So we have something that falls between two stools: it’s not proper science-fiction or fantasy, since it’s singularly failing to explore both the mechanisms and implications of resurrection; it’s not proper drama since it lacks true depth and what emotion there was largely got left behind in the first episode. And it clearly should have been half its length, judging by how far the plot has been strung out already.

Everyone’s doing their level best, but this is an idea apparently best left to the French.

Rob’s rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Will last for a season but no more