Probably a top five series all of time for me; this looks at life and death (returning from the dead), in an existential way, and not just the positive aspects. Quite a difference in approach to your typical scifis. A merging of atmospheric drama, melancholy, loss and sci fi, + a very filmic style and great soundtrack. At two seasons, far too short, much like the Knick. One of a kind as far as TV shows.
The dead aren't past. They aren't even dead. I'm still just a few episodes into the second season, but the old familiar itch to pass judgment (a character trait which, it turns out, I share with the dead) compels me to lay down some stars. Bearing a great deal in common, as many others have noted, with the first season of The Leftovers, The Returned reverses that show's trauma while retaining its uncanny dolor.
The best French TV show I have ever seen. The American version just couldn't recreate the magic, though it had a wonderful soundtrack. I watched the movie it was based on, and it wasn't bad. Such a long time to wait between seasons, but it was worth it.
Those who describe The Returned as a zombie series greatly misunderstand the overwhelming piece of French existentialism. The series carefully breathes an ambiguity which unfolds your own beauty in the way you rationalise and build together concepts of spiritual vs physical form.