Watching: An Eerie French Drama

And the next Netflix true-crime series.

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By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

The Golden Globes were last night, and if you missed the ceremony, well … you didn’t miss much, but you can catch up with all our coverage right here.

Happy March.


I want something smart and spooky

A scene from “Les Revenants.”Jean-Claude Lother/Haut et Court — Canal+

‘Les Revenants’

When to watch: Now, on Amazon.

I was obsessed with this French series when it came to the United States back in 2013; it has come and gone from streaming a few times since, but its two seasons are available again. If you like things that are dreamy-sad and artful, watch this. (“Les Revenants” translates to “The Returned,” and that’s the title of the mostly-fine American adaptation of the series, which came out in 2015.)


The show is set in a small town where a handful of people who have been dead for years suddenly reappear, just as they were the day they died. Some of their loved ones are thrilled beyond measure. But their return is also, you know, scary and confusing and crazy-making. Not everyone responds to miracles in quite the same way.

Oftentimes, dramas lack imagination when it comes to grief or sorrow — they picture only one trite version of mourning, in which someone becomes spacey, slovenly and obsessive, and then a loving companion has to encourage them to “get back out there.” “Les Revenants” has a more expansive understanding of the gnarly roots and branches of bereavement, especially of how loss looks decades later, when it’s braided into one’s identity.

It’s been days; presumably Netflix has some new true crime thing or whatever?

Behold, a re-enactment from “Murder Among the Mormons.”Netflix

‘Murder Among the Mormons’

When to watch: Arrives Wednesday, on Netflix.

The latest entry in the Netflix crime-o-rama is this three-part documentary about bombings that killed two people in Salt Lake City in 1985. Mostly, though, it’s about the rare-document market, elaborate forgeries and the nature of truth and belief.


The saga here is a complex and interesting one, especially for anyone with a knowledge of early Mormon history and the particular role historical documents play within the Mormon Church. But the documentary itself is just the latest in the subgenre to barely employ visual language at all, with an aesthetic so bland it seems to nudge you to play on your phone while “watching” it, splitting the difference between podcast and television. I continue to yearn for an end to corny re-enactments in documentaries, and the ones here are particularly useless. (Viewers know what sitting on a couch looks like.) That said, of course I watched all three episodes right in a row.

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Also this week

By law, characters on network sci-fi shows must wear jackets like this at some point. Here, Jonathan Tucker and Riann Steele meet the quota for “Debris.”James Dittiger/NBC
  • “Playing With Power: The Nintendo Story,” a five-hour documentary series, is now streaming on Crackle. If you liked Netflix’s “High Score,” or if you want something to activate certain nostalgia receptors in your brain as only the music from “Duck Hunt” can, it’s fun.
  • For those in the market for network sci-fi, “Debris” begins Monday at 10 p.m. on NBC. The pilot is jazzy enough, but “NBC sci-fi” does not inspire confidence.
  • Season 7 of “The Flash” begins Tuesday at 8 p.m. on the CW.


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