TCA: “Resurrection” brings haunting drama to ABC

Do we question miracles, or just enjoy them? That’s one of the central questions behind the intriguing, heartfelt drama Resurrection, which premieres at 9pm Sunday, March 9.
The cast and crew spoke with reporters Friday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.

Set in the small town of Arcadia, Mo., a husband and wife (Kurtwood Smith, Frances Fisher) are stunned when a young boy comes to their house and appears to be Jacob (Landon Giminez), their son who died decades ago. The mother accepts this without question, just delirious to have her son back, while the father is afraid and skeptical. Shepherding this is Dr. J. Martin Bellamy (Omar Epps), a doctor who examined Jacob at the hospital and brought him to Arcadia.

Jacob’s arrival also has a ripple effect across the town, touching off reactions of faith and fear. It’s all part of an effort to realistically examine what might happen if ordinary people were faced with such an event.

“People would have very strong reactions, both positive and negative, to something like this,” says executive producer Aaron Zelman. “This show does not shy away from any of the darkness that comes with that experience.”

While Resurrection offers an intriguing plot, it is not unique. Not anymore. The French drama The Returned (Les Revenants) won acclaim in 2012 and last year when it came stateside to the Sundance Channel. A&E has announced it is working on an American version. To further confuse things, Resurrection is based on a novel by Jason Mott called … The Returned.

The producers of Resurrection said they haven’t watched The Returned and purposely avoided it, in fact, in order to not be influenced in any way. Their series also departs greatly from the source novel.

Smith talked about his character’s uncertain reaction to his son’s return, saying it not only had repercussions for Jacob, but also for his own life.

“It’s complicated by the fact that it tampers with the memory of the child that he’s lost, and it forces him to re-examine what he’s done with his life for the last 30 years,” he said. “Those sorts of things cause a real emotional stew in his life, and then it affection the relationship that he has with his wife because she is so much more immediately accepting of the boy. His whole life is thrown into chaos.”