between series Windows) et unending on Canal+, parallels South Disney+, The Seven Lives of Lea on Netflix or the movie Flashback on Amazon Prime Video, there has been a wave of French genre productions on streaming platforms for several months now. Fantastic and science fiction works are still not legion in France, the new creation of Simon Astier is therefore presented as the last UFO listed in the hexagonal serial catalog. And if the formula of visitors turns out to be less original than expected, yet it is a fun pop-retro ballad.
After Weird stuff who downplayed his fantasized old school filter, visitors in turn, opted for an ultra-referenced retro design with a nostalgic purpose. With a less meta and philosophical approach thanWindows)compile the episodes more or less subtle nods to the classics of the 80s and 90s which they invoke as totems and pastiche for parodic purposes: ET L’Extraterrestrial by Steven Spileberg is thus Fred L’Extraterrestrialwhile Fox Mulder and Dana Scully from X files make way for the absurd duo Muller and Scolla.
The plot also inherits the narrative clichés of the genre, be it the nighttime discovery of the crashed spaceship in the forest, the disappearances of civilians that don’t worry many people, the inexplicable phenomena that affect the population or the eternal shenanigans. of the army.
The return of the boy bands
Fortunately, the series isn’t content with piling up lazy tributes and grotesque caricatures already washed away by Les Nuls, Kad and Olivier or Le Palmashow (also present in the cast). More accurate than it seems, visitors takes the time to provide the soundtrack’s artistic direction and synth parts, bit flashy, but facilitates that immersion without exposing the frugality of resources. Simon Astier also shows a commendable attention to detail, especially with his old-fashioned commercials, the many “easter eggs” scattered across the screen or the kitschy reworking of the Warner TV logo for the opening episode set in the past.
To complete the arsenal of the vintage SF series, the episodes also favor prosthetics and other slimes with digital effects. The series not only gives itself a well-made artisanal cachet, but at the same time exhausts the dripping, slimy images of Fly or The thingas they present repulsive creatures close to the facehuggers ofAlien to perfect the cinephile decal. Simon Astier has made with these different patterns an entertaining and sometimes playful pop patchworkbut unfortunately not always striking or relevant.
The passion in the eyes
war of the worlds
The younger Astier’s writing is less caustic and elegant than that of his older one, but Simon Astier skillfully handles absurd and awkward humor† Without falling into the series of clumsy and mind-numbing jokes, the screenwriter has chiseled the dialogues, sharpened the lines and refined his comedic pace, in addition to relying on a cast adapted to this more lunar register. In particular, we see Tiphaine Daviot, formidable in her role of unbearable wife, Julie Bargeton, brilliant as a jaded ex and I don’t care, or Vincent Desagnat, almost too comfortable in his jumpsuit from geek on edge.
Cet ironic humor bordering on surrealism echo Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy (to which the first episode briefly alludes). visitors borrowed the frame from Busy hassle with another disillusioned cop and mindless, unwelcome colleagues in a remote town, the group dynamics of old friends worn out by life and the ways of alien invasion The last pub before the end of the worldas well as the unprecedented crisis that has been dealt with with as much seriousness as in Shaun of the Dead† The events take place in Pointe-Claire, a fictional French-American town that you would think came from the depths of Kentucky, mainly because of the clothing and vehicles of the local police.
Between FBI: Missing in Action and Captain Marleau
With its short sitcom format and only eight episodes on the clock, the series avoids getting bogged down in its schoolboy humor while allowing itself to chain events together with no downtime, though the story still lacks a bit of euphoria and energy to be really gripping† But the beginning of the story refuses to take itself seriously, the sixth episode marking a welcome and rather surprising break in tone. The camera movements are less pure and wise, the frames are destructured, the editing is carried away and the narration breaks the linearity to create confusion and a paranoid and psychotic atmosphere that the first episodes did not foreshadow.
Despite several agreed, even expected reversals of situations, the mid-season is above all an opportunity to reveal the real problems of the story, to go beyond the caricatures of the characters, but also to build a real galactic mythology ( and not just for fun). Season 2, if pre-ordered, thus promises: push the apocalyptic delirium even further and find the balance between low-key humor and cosmic epic† This first batch therefore serves more to take the temperature before Simon Astier gets to work.
From May 10, 2022, three episodes of the Visitors series on Warner TV every Tuesday evening