One of ABC’s midseason premieres is “Resurrection,” the story of a young boy, Jacob (Landon Gimenez), who returns to his parents, Henry and Lucille Langston (Kurtwood Smith and Frances Fisher), 30 years after he was presumed dead — but Jacob hasn’t aged a day.
The show is based on the 2013 novel by Jason Mott called “The Returned” (not to be confused with the French series “The Returned” which aired on Sundance Channel, which is based on the 2004 French film “They Came Back”). Like the book, as “Resurrection” goes on, more residents of the small town of Arcadia, MO have loved ones seemingly returning from the dead.
Executive producers Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas tell reporters at the 2014 TCA press tour that there is an on-going mythology of the show that they have mapped out, in addition to knowing where the series will end.
“When we went in to pitch to the network what the show was, we pitched them the last scene of the last episode of the series. We know what that will be,” says Fazekas, adding that their time working on “The X Files” gave them good practice in mapping out the mythology of a show. “We spent a lot of time with the writing staff and the producers talking about the importance of knowing where you’re going on the show and really having answers ourselves, whether or not the answers are all shared. But knowing where you’re going with the show and really building a mythology.”
The premise of these presumed-dead people coming back to their families showcases a wide array of reactions and emotions, which Butters says is part of what hooked them on the project. Smith adds that the his character in particular is experiencing many different feelings with the return of his son.
“There is a great mix of emotions because not only is he getting the privilege of having somebody that he lost come back after 30 years, but it’s complicated by the fact that that tampers with the memory of the child that he’s lost,” says Smith. “It forces him to reexamine what he’s done with his life for the past 30 years. Those sort of things cause a real emotion stew in his life.”
“That’s the emotional heart of the show, this little family,” adds Fazekas. “So it’s very important to us that we tell their story in a very full way.”
In telling the story of the Langston family, faith becomes a key component to the show because Fisher’s character sees her son’s return as a miracle from God. Executive producer Aaron Zelman says that the theme of faith will continue throughout the show and they hope to explore it in an honest way.
“[The book] is a study in grief and loss and bigger questions about life and why we’re here and what does it mean to be here. That’s when I was hooked,” says Zelman. “Approaching it honestly, what does faith mean to different people? It means different things to different people. You don’t have to discuss any specific religion. … Every human being who’s ever been born has questions about how we got here and who or what is responsible, if there is someone responsible for us being here.”
“I’m immensely proud of this show. I’m very glad we put this thing midseason, gave us a chance to really get it right,” says ABC president Paul Lee. “We really think it’s something you’re just not seeing on television at the moment. We believe that ‘Resurrection is a very powerful show.”
“Resurrection” premieres Sunday, March 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.