Watching Sundance's excellent French import The Returned offers a conundrum: the current culture of TV watching is not conducive to subtitles.
Now, this is not a problem for you if you understand French. But for those of us that don't—cough, cough, this writer—settling in to watch The Returned last night revealed how distracted an enterprise TV watching has become. An urge to tweet how much we were loving the premiere episode was curtailed by the fact that we needed to stay glued to the screen to understand what the characters were saying. Plans for light multitasking while watching—making dinner, getting ready to go out—were gone.
The Returned, of course, is not, say, Scandal, a drama-thriller that encourages looking away from the screen with the profuse tweeting that surrounds it. Rather, The Returned is a series on a minor cable network that looks at what happens when the dead come back to life in a small community. Sure there are spooks and twists and violence, but surprise doesn't seem like the end game here. It's slow and thoughtful, and, well, French. One would think it wouldn't be counting on audience interaction to buoy it. And yet, well, Sundance Channel did promote #TheReturned hashtag.