A couple of years ago a friend of filmmaker Tony Ayres gave him a tantalising “what if” proposition: What if there was a small country town in Victoria where people who had been dead for up to 200 years came back to life?

That sparked an idea which he developed with writer Louise Fox and has evolved into Glitch, a six-part supernatural drama for the ABC. Screen Australia has agreed to co-fund the Matchbox Pictures production, which is due to start shooting in October.

The key character is the town’s cop, James, whose wife died from breast cancer two years earlier and reappears. Each episode will introduce a succession of undead characters. No director has yet been announced.

“We don’t often do high-concept supernatural drama in Australia,” Ayres tells IF. “It’s my favourite genre. It will be a very Australian spin on the genre. We are looking for emotional truth.”

According to the storyline, the fictional town becomes “the gothic rural backdrop to a tale of love and redemption, of second chances gained and lost, of vengeance and forgiveness. As the Risen discover who they are and why they have returned, those around them are also faced with a perplexing new reality, challenging all the beliefs and ideals they held dear.”

The producers are Ewan Burnett (The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, Small Time Gangster, Dead Gorgeous) and Fox (whose writing credits include Broadchurch, the miniseries Camelot and Love My Way). The writing team includes Kris Mrska and Giula Sandler.

As the executive producer, Ayres will start work on Glitch as soon as he finishes the second series of fantasy action adventure Nowhere Boys for ABC3. The series will be sold internationally by Matchbox’s parent NBCUniversal.

Ayres is also co- EP of the US remake of The SIap, which is being produced by Universal TV and Matchbox Pictures for NBC.  Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) has signed to direct the first two episodes and executive produce all eight episodes. The adaptation of the Australian drama is written by Brothers & Sisters creator Jon Robin Baitz.

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  1. What a novel idea. At least it was when Robin Campillo made Les Revenants a decade ago. I wonder if he’s friends with Tony Ayres and their usual medium of communication is DVD.

  2. So how is this different to The Returned (original French or US remake)? Or the US series Resurrection? Or the UK’s In The Flesh? Hasn’t this idea been played out in the last five years?

  3. Er…

    Sounds a LOT like ‘Resurrection’ to me – now airing on US and Australia screens…

  4. StoryLine: Residents of the small mountain town of Caldwell, Washington grapple with the mysterious return of their dead loved ones. With no memory of their deaths, and no awareness of the time that has passed in their absence, ‘the Returned’ struggle to reintegrate into a world that has changed without them…’

  5. I have to agree with the other commentators. Why invest in something that has essentially already aired recently, and done so well as The Returned? Everyone will make the comparison. Perhaps they are hoping to cash in on this aspect. A shame as there must a ton of original genre related ideas, never given a chance.

  6. What if a couple of years ago a friend of filmmaker Tony Ayres gave him a tantalising synopsis of a TV series in production in France, “Les Revenants”, an adaptation of Robin Campillo’s film released in 2004, and swapped small mountain village in Haute Savoie for a rural Australian town in Victoria…

    At least it’s stealing a higher concept than intergalactic grave robbers come to Earth resurrect the dead – a.k.a. “Plan 9 From Outer Space”.

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