The River: A TV Series Worth Watching?

The River TV seriesAre you ready for a scare? ABC is hoping that you are since tonight marks the debut of The River, their new paranormal/adventure/horror series.

On The River, famed explorer and TV host Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) went looking for magic in the uncharted Amazon and vanished six months ago. Now, Dr. Cole’s emergency beacon has suddenly gone off. His wife (Leslie Hope) and son (Joe Anderson) join a rescue party that’s funded by a documentary that’s documenting the dangerous rescue. Others in the cast include Paul Blackthorne, Eloise Mumford, Daniel Zacapa, and Thomas Kretschmann.

Is The River worth your time? Here’s what some of the critics say:

Boston Herald: “The makers of the River deserve credit for spilling so much of their X-Files myth-ology from the start, but there’s not enough reason to book passage on this voyage of the bland.”

NY Daily News: “The problem with ABC’s new paranormal mystery drama The River is that when your story revolves around a guy who disappeared, the viewer has to care about finding him. No offense to Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood), but to be honest, tramping through the remote corners of the Amazon in search of clues to his current whereabouts feels like it may be more trouble than it’s worth… If the central mystery is more finite and manageable [than Lost] — what happened to Dr. Cole? — then perhaps the larger story won’t become overwhelming. Perhaps. The River still requires the viewer to pay at least semi-close attention, though, and the question is how many will want to sign on for the ride.

THR: “Finally, a successor to Lost with potential. There’s a whole lot going on in this horror-adventure from the creator of Paranormal Activity, but whether the series can last beyond its initial eight-episode order without the suspense petering out remains to be seen.”

Boston Globe: “Whether or not viewers take themselves to The River, ABC and the creators deserve credit for one thing: There is nothing that looks like this show on television right now… Employing a similar found footage” approach provides The River” with several layers of visuals and ably conjures the sticky humidity, cramped quarters, and general grime of its settings on the ship and in the jungle.”

USA Today: “If you’re looking for depth or common sense, look away from The River (ABC, Tuesday, 9 ET/PT; *** out of four), a lost-in-the-Amazon spook show that is, intellectually speaking, closer to Lost in Space than Lost. If, however, you’re in the mood for a weekly dose of first-rate and practically gore-free frights — the kind that may give you nightmares, but won’t turn your stomach or cause your children to ask you embarrassing American Horror-style questions about sexual perversions — this is the trip for you.”

LA Times: “As on an episodic crime procedural, The River seems poised to offer a series of discrete encounters with the otherworldly, written with a copy of The Big Book of Amazonian Folk Tales open nearby, as it goes along its long-arc way. This many minutes into a horror film, all the characters but one would already be dead, given the near-universal tendency to run toward rather than away from the loud crash or the rustling in the brush… But as this is television, there is some investment in keeping them alive.”

Washington Post: “There’s paranormal, and then there’s para-puhleeez. The line between those two can be quite fine, especially when results vary from viewer to viewer.”

NY Times: “The River is the second new show in two nights, after Smash, and the third this season (after Terra Nova) to bear the imprimatur of Steven Spielberg as executive producer. Add those to his films War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin, released within a week of each other in December, and there may be a lesson about spreading yourself too thin.”

What do you think? Will you watch the two-hour premiere of The River? If you’ve seen it, will you watch the next episode?

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48 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Patty says

    I finally watched my pvr recording of it ….what a waste of two hours! I kept
    on hoping something more suspenseful would be happening and nothing…The jiggly
    camera effects does not do anything for this show!

  2. kevsmeme says

    I hated the format—too much jiggly cmaera action, panning, too many close close-ups–actually dizzying….didn’t watch the second half……won’t watch again. I can’t believe that Steven Speilberg is the executive producer!!! Wonder if he watched this himself?

  3. Anonymous says

    far too much panning around and jiggly camera work—I was actually getting dizzy and feeling nauseous trying to keep focused on this show—not so great acting either….won’t be tuning again.

  4. Mikey.B says

    Hmmm I was really looking forward to this show but was kinda disappointed by it! The second half was better than the 1st so all those who turned off after the 1st missed the better half! It wasn’t the worse show I have ever watched but it certainly wasn’t the best! The acting is terrible imo and the characterswere not really likeable! There were some pretty creepy moment in it though. I will watch next weeks to see if it gets any better but I think this should just be an 8 ep mini series instead of dragging it on and on!

  5. Quiche says

    It was fun. I look to t.v. for entertainment and this, so far, is entertaining! I will keep watching until it is not! Critics need to take a step back and recall the days when they too had some imagination and believed in monsters and ghosts. It really is fun!

  6. says

    As an avid LOST fan I actually enjoyed the pilot. The second hour was much better than the first, full of creepy surprises. I’ll definitely keep watching. ABC, please don’t cancel this one as well.

  7. chrissy c says

    I thought this was going to be a GREAT show about some creature in the Amazon not detected yet. Boy was I disappointed!! It is too unbelievable and the music makes the dramatics in the show but the GHOST EVIL creature SUX! I think the previews were better than the actual show. ” Rotten Tomatoes D- “

  8. Carmen says

    I thought it was good. I did not watch the last 30 minutes but I do not feel it made a difference since I enjoyed it. Can’t wait to finish the last 30 min…!

  9. Bizzle says

    Noooo i was hoping this would be good and by the sounds of things it isn’t! Oh well i’ll watch it before i pass judgment

  10. bthiel says

    Too much “giggly” camera work, to many 1-3 second cuts, way too much movement, story is too incomprehensible, too much action, too many close-close ups, turned to “Parenthood” at the half-way mark. Would rather see conclusions for V or FlashForward than this bilge.

  11. bruce says

    Didn’t watch it could not care less. Plus even if it’s good, you know those morons at ABC will cancel it. Hell with it.

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