One thing that makes a TV show a success is when it has a realistic appeal, when it gets us suppositionally involved.

For example, when watching "Dancing With the Stars" or "America's Got Talent," who doesn't visualize themselves, or someone they're close to, being on that stage and getting those cheers?

On "NCIS," doesn't it sound exciting to be an investigator and track down the criminals using hi-tech gadgets and science?

Even while watching "Jeopardy" or "Wheel of Fortune," don't you sometimes envision how you successful you would be on one of those panels? Sometimes it sounds so easy that you feel you would definitely be the winner.

Sunday, a new series premieres on ABC that is guaranteed to captivate the interest of many people. It's called "Resurrection" and it involves people coming back from the dead and rejoining their loved ones.

The series is based on the novel "The Returned" by Jason Mott.

The series follows the residents of Arcadia, Mo., whose lives are upended when their loved ones return from the dead, unaged since their deaths.

Amongst the returned is Jacob Langston, an eight-year-old boy drowned 32 years earlier. Having somehow been found alive in China, he is brought back to America by an immigration agent. His surprise return inspires the local sheriff, whose wife drowned trying to rescue Jacob, to learn more about this mystery.

Let's face it, while watching the series you're going to sit and think, "What if someone who you loved, and who has died, returned?" What would you say to that person? How would you react?

Wow!

We all know people who passed away who we truly miss.

Of course, TV is fantasyland. Some people have beliefs about being visited by spirits, but it's unnerving to think about what would happen if those people instead came walking through your front door in broad daylight.

Would you pick up where life left off? Would you apologize for regrets? Has your life changed to the extent that it would put you in a quandary?

Might it make you think to treat people you care about just a little better while they are living? For example, how many times have you told a friend, "We've got to get together for lunch sometime," but never do?

"Resurrection" certainly seems to have a different concept than the run-of-the-mill reality, investigative, romance, or comedy shows that fill prime time.

Whether it will have longevity depends on the writers and how creative and sensitive they are. Poor writing can be fatal to any TV show regardless of the topic.

It's a guarantee that the first episode is going to draw big viewership on Sunday night.

Hopefully, it will make you not dwell on death, but think about life instead.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com