Sundance Channel Promises More of French Zombie Drama ‘The Returned’

Cabler chief Sarah Barnett touts 'non-zombie' show, 2nd season of 'Rectify, bow of 'Red Road'

Sundance Channel chief Sarah Barnett opened her Television Critics Assn. session Saturday by promising the crowd more zombies — the Gallic walking dead of “The Returned.”

Sundance scored a buzzy hit last year by running the French series “The Returned,” complete with subtitles. Barnett said new episodes of the show — which she called “the non-zombie French zombie show” — would air on Sundance later this year.

Barnett also touted the attention garnered last year by Sundance’s first original scripted drama, “Recity.”

Showrunner Ray McKinnon and exec producer Mark Johnson came out for brief remarks and thank-yous to reporters for the high praise given to “Rectify,” which was dependent on good word of mouth. Show’s second season will air this summer, with 10 episodes this time  around compared to six last year.

The big push at the Sundance sesh, however, went to new drama “The Red Road,” which revolves around the tensions in a small town that borders the land occupied by a fictional Native American tribe that is not recognized by the federal government. Jason Momoa, Julianne Nicholson, Martin Henderson and Tamara Tunie star.

Aaron Guzikowski, creator-exec producer, said the project was initially developed for HBO.

Guzikowski is also the screenwriter behind the intense 2013 feature “Prisoners.” He was asked to contrast his TV experience with features, and like many he cited the ability to stay with the characters longer. He joked that “Prisoners,” which many critics have noted is hard to sit through for its harrowing depiction of child kidnapping story, ideally “would have been ‘The Winds of War’ ” — referring to ABC’s epic 15-hour 1983 miniseries.

Nicholson, who is in the awards season swirl at present as a co-star of “August: Osage County,” plays a woman with schizophrenia, which she described as the “hardest role” she’s taken on.

 

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