The River began with a promising premise when it premiered on February 7: An explorer named Emmet Cole was lost while on an expedition to find “magic.” The search had been called off after six months, and the show features the quest of the few who haven’t given up hope. As they search, they are haunted by various spirits and other paranormal beings, all tied to the magic that Cole doomed himself by finding.
The first episode begins with a quick prelude describing Cole; Emmet Cole had his own outdoor show, along the lines of “The Crocodile Hunter,” which featured himself, his wife and son and followed their journeys and discoveries across the globe.
Since Cole’s disappearance, his wife, Tess Cole, has convinced their son, Lincoln, to participate in an expedition for his rescue. The trip is financed by the television company that produced Lincoln’s father’s show. The company is filming their quest, which is the perspective from which the audience views the interactions.
The ‘crew’ of the expedition is varied: A rather belligerent private security contractor, a television producer, two camera men, the ship’s mechanic and his daughter, Tess and Lincoln Cole, and Lena Landry, the daughter of the missing camera man who was lost with Cole’s father.
The River shows promise as a “thriller,” with some scenes filmed in the same fashion as The Blair Witch Project. Depending on your horror threshold, watching this show before you go to bed may not be a good idea, as scary things often pop out randomly, sure to get your blood racing.
An interesting comparison may be made between The River and NBC’s The Office, as the characters understand they are being filmed. The relationship the viewers share with the characters becomes all the more personal, and therefore the bad moments are quite engaging.
It has been ten years since the failed revival attempt of The Twilight Zone, the most notable horror television series of all time. Apparently television networks believe that they may start regenerating interest into the genre.
While some shows, such as American Horror Story, have an eerie horror theme, The River is the first time any television network has attempted a “jumpy” style horror show. “Jumpy” horrors typically target teens or adults that want cheap thrills from unexpected frights.
This show may be a bit risky for ABC, as they might just scare their viewers away after the first watch. The River is a show to be watched with friends when you feel like laughing at some far-fetched pop-up horror, not watching it by yourself, for the story really isn’t all that fun. I will probably not watch it anymore, unless I am with friends.
The special effects were good; the ghosts, and the filming perspective was definitely interesting. While I watched the show, the level of suspension of disbelief required kept detracting from the story; a good deal of the show worked out unbelievably well for the characters, such as having access to the entire network of cameras left by the crew of the Magus, Emmet Cole’s ship.
The River airs on Tuesdays on ABC at 9:00 P.M.