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Apple TV+'s 'Calls' & The French Version Of 'Calls': A Comparison

- Calls -
Apple TV+'s 'Calls' & The French Version Of 'Calls': A Comparison

Apple TV+'s new series, Calls, may make you ask yourself, "is it a podcast or a TV show?" within the first few minutes, but it's not the first time a high-concept show like this has premiered. Just look at the French TV series, Calls. No, you didn't misread that (and no, you're not in the glitch). Calls on Apple TV+ is adapted from Calls, the French series, that originally aired on Canal+ a few years ago. Both series revolve around an apocalyptic event, but since that's so en vogue right now, I figured we could look at just how much Apple TV+'s Calls compares to the French Calls.

Timothée Hochet's first season of Calls first aired on Canal+ in December 2017. It has three seasons and just recently released its third season on Dec. 10, 2020. From there, the two shows have a lot in common. (The American adaption is co-produced by the original network, Canal+.) From plot, to style, to casting, let's take a look at how the two compare.

Concept

Both the American version and the original French version follow the phone calls and recordings of different people at different times. The people all seem unconnected, and yet are incredibly connected through the events that lead up to an apocalypse.

Visuals

There are none! For either! Read if you want (I found it helpful), but Calls very much taps into a radio drama that you really just need to listen to while following the story.

Casting

Both Calls series boast impressive voice casts. French cinephiles will recognize the voices of Matthieu Kassovitz, Niels Arestrup, Marie Gillain, Marina Foïs, Jérémie Renier, Charlotte Le Bon, François Civil, Gaspard Ulliel (per French website, Allocine.fr). Season 1 of the American version features the voices of stars like Nick Jonas, Lily Collins, Karen Gillan, Danny Hurston, Aubrey Plaza, Stephen Lang, Danny Pudi, Joey King, Rosario Dawson, and more.

The Timeline

Both series follow the events leading up to and surrounding an apocalyptic event. However, because we only have one season of the American version, we can look to the French version to see where Apple TV+ could take the series should it return for more.

In French Calls, Season 1 tackles the events leading up to the apocalypse. Season 2, however, features calls that took place before Season 1. Season 3 wraps up the mysteries created in the earlier seasons. So, if we do get a second (or even third) season on Apple TV+, expect there to be more time jumps and revelations to how the end of the world came to be in Season 1.

If you're interested in what actually happens in the French version of the show, I highly recommend reading this Season 3 theory post on Allocine. It will most likely mean nothing to you, even after you translate it into English, but it will prove that the nine episodes only scratched the surface of the events that occurred in Season 1.

Images: Apple TV+

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