Paranormal The River


Code Monkey
Staff member
Just watched the first two episodes of The River on ABC and... I didn't think it was that bad! :eek: I know, I know... shocking since I am usually pretty critical of most shows but this one caught my attention.

The premise is that Emmet Cole, the TV host of an animal/exploration show (think Jack Hannah mixed with Bear Grylls) disappears along with his TV production crew as they were boating deep into the Amazon. Six months later, after having been declared dead, Cole's emergency beacon starts broadcasting. The producers of his TV show agree to finance an expedition for his wife to follow in his footsteps to find the beacon but on one condition. Cole's estranged son of the host agree to go along.

A new crew is quickly assembled and makes their way into the Amazon in search of the beacon. The find the beacon but they aren't really prepared for what happens next.

Now there is some good & bad with the show.

The good is that it held my attention long enough that I didn't fast forward through it. ;) It is a horror show but is not the 'in-your-face-gore' type like you saw on American Horror Story. It is more like horror-lite, along the lines of a Stephen King novel adapted for TV. It is ABC, after all, so don't expect too much extreme images. The story moved fast enough to get right to the heart of the story but not so fast anything was missed and the cast of characters all seemed to have their own background stories that could be explored as the show went on.

The bad, however, is that parts of it just aren't believable. For example, some of the characters seem to accept the supernatural without blinking an eye and go straight from straight-laced to ghost hunter without missing a beat. Even after a crew member is killed there is no sense of panic, just a "Oh, he's dead? Guess we'll need a new camera man." mood. Another crew member is the daughter of a camera man from the original crew that was lost. She ends up joining the crew in the middle of Amazon by arriving in a helicopter. No explanation as to how she knew where the new crew would be nor any any explanation as to whether the production company sponsored or trip or if she is paying for on her own. Yes, she is searching for her lost father but a trip to the Amazon to arrive finally by helicopter isn't exactly something you can arrange at a moments notice.

Cool Sci-Fi regulars will also know that I'm not a big fan of 'found footage' films but, yes, this is what this show purports to be. In the first show they have a remote controlled quad-copter camera and that is just how there happens to be footage of them as they travel. Of course the premise is silly because you quickly realize that there is nobody operating the camera at all times, the video quality is too good, the audio quality is too good, and a flying remote controller camera doesn't exactly fly that smooth in the middle of think jungle brush. So with that said, the notion that everything you are seeing is found footage is quickly dropped and you just forget about it as well your viewing experience will go a lot better.

I've got set to auto-record on the DVR so I'll keep watching it for a bit more yet. Hate to say it but I don't think it will survive that long; a horror show on ABC just doesn't seem like a natural match even though they have been heavily promoting it.


Code Monkey
Staff member
... and speaking of The River, Netflix is already talking with ABC about picking up the series if ABC cancels it. No official word yet from ABC about the fate of the show but the ratings did not come close to what ABC was expecting.

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