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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

On The Air: Staying alive

Posted: 13 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

While the dead have come back to life on Resurrection, the show itself is struggling with its own identity.

I HATED Jason Mott's The Returned. I felt little for its characters, it chugged along at a snail's pace, and worst of all, it offered no resolution. So when I heard the 2013 novel was going to be adapted into a TV series, Resurrection, well, I was actually quite happy.

The premise – the dead coming back to life in the exact same form as the moment they died – is arresting enough to capture fickle-minded viewers and the novel's whiny disposition would have to be pacier to fit the small screen.

In the opening scene of the pilot, we meet eight-year-old Jacob Langston (Landon Gimenez, who oddly reminds me of a mini Taylor Swift) who wakes up in the middle of a paddy field in a province in China. Jacob drowned in a river in Arcadia, Missouri, 32 years ago, and with the help of Immigration agent Martin Bellamy (Omar Epps), he is brought back to his hometown.

Henry (Kurtwood Smith) and Lucille Langston (Frances Fisher), now in their 60s, answer the doorbell only to find their son – conveniently labelled "the Returned" – not a day older or younger, wearing the same red baseball jersey, standing on their front porch with Agent Bellamy.

It is a pivotal scene and actors Smith and Fisher deliver a heartfelt, believable performance, emitting a sense of genuine excitement yet laced with cautious scepticism. It is a powerful moment that speaks to viewers universally, me included. Immediately, we are reminded of the loved ones we have lost and made to wonder what it would feel like should our dearest departed return one day.

Resurrection gets off to a strong start, thanks to its premise, but where does it go from here?

The first season of the series spans only eight episodes. Unfortunately, the first four are slow and cumbersome, albeit more bearable than the novel. They consist of flashbacks to the Langstons' past, medical examiners poking and prodding at Jacob (and dealing with the ethical dilemmas that come with that) plus more of the Returned are introduced, giving rise to more backstories.

The mysteries don't get answered here, and it gets more frustrating when the show dwells on its characters' petty conflicts and dramas (ugh!). I know, it's all in the name of character exploration, but it's hard to say whether the writers were actually adding more layers to the characters or merely trying to buy time.

If it's the latter, then a great way to buy time would be to introduce two attractive and very single characters and make them fall in love. Indeed, Bellamy and Arcadia's local doctor Maggie (Devin Kelley) have a little something going on but not enough to go anywhere really. The romance plotline is so thin here, it's almost pointless.

Thankfully, things get more interesting in the second half of the season. The same questions still remain largely unanswered but a supernatural element appears. It's not a lot, but enough to keep audiences hooked until the finale. It's also great to see how society responds to people and situations that don't make sense – or, as some might call them, miracles.

All in all, Resurrection struggles with two major issues. Firstly, there isn't a character in the show that viewers feel compelled to root for. Ideally, it should be the Langstons but at times, little Jacob gives me the impression that he is not as clueless as he seems and has a sinister agenda.

Lastly, the series, which has been picked up for a second season, has to decide if it wants to embrace its inherent supernatural element wholeheartedly, as there is a huge market for such tales should the show head in that direction.

> Resurrection airs every Monday at 10pm on Lifetime (Astro Ch 709).

'House' star Omar Epps talks zombies, Brad Pitt and 'Resurrection'

Posted: 11 May 2014 08:35 PM PDT

New TV series Resurrection is a matter of life and death, the actor tells The Star in an exclusive interview.

Actor Omar Epps doesn't dismiss the possibility of life after death.

Epps was in town recently to promote his latest work, Resurrection, an eight-episode series about the dead returning to life in the little town of Arcadia, Missouri.

"I feel that energy is eternal. Whatever any of our believes are, that's one thing that holds up," he said in a video interview with The Star's Entertainment editor Gordon Kho.

In Resurrection, Omar Epps (left) plays immigration agent Martin Bellamy who discovers there are dead people who have returned to life in the little town of Arcadia, Missouri.

In Resurrection, Omar Epps (left) plays immigration agent Martin Bellamy who discovers there are dead people who have returned to life in the little town of Arcadia, Missouri.

Epps plays immigration agent Martin Bellamy who is tasked to bring eight-year-old Jacob Langston, who was found in the middle of a paddy field in a Chinese province, back home to Arcadia.

There's only one problem. Jacob drowned in a river in Arcadia 32 years ago.

From here on, Bellamy leads an investigation to help the townspeople make sense of the boy's return.

"It's such a universal story, I felt it would translate to all the different cultures," the 40-year-old star shared on why he decided to sign up for the role.

"When you think of the loss of a loved one, which we've all experienced, we do what I call patchwork. You never fill that void, you just do that patchwork around your heart to enable you to keep going on."

Epps is best known for his role as Dr. Eric Foreman in the hit medical drama, House.

His work on Resurrection joins a a growing list of African American actors who are taking on lead roles such as Kerry Washington in Scandal and Don Cheadle in House Of Lies. "The world is changing. When it comes to the entertainment business, it is our job to reflect what society really looks. So this evolution of African Americans playing leads on major networks is just reflection of that."

Resurrection premieres tonight at 10pm on Lifetime (Astro Ch 709).

Related stories:

Resurrection: Sometimes they come back

Kurtwood Smith and his two memorable characters


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