"The River": Review: Are You Onboard?
As you know, I’m not a fan of scary TV shows or movies. But there’s just something about the new ABC drama, “The River” that might change my mind…
When the premiere opens, we learn about beloved TV host Dr. Emmet Cole (Think a calmer Steve Irwin) and how he disappeared deep in the Amazon with his camera crew. His son, Lincoln (Joe Anderson), has him declared dead and leads his funeral service. But his wife, Tess (Leslie Hope), refuses to give up—especially when Emmet’s homing beacon goes off. And Tess convinces Lincoln to go to the Amazon with her to find Emmet.
Joining them on the search is Emmet’s usual boat captain, the captain’s daughter, Emmet’s cameraman’s daughter and a mysterious bodyguard.
Here’s where it gets interesting. The expedition to bring Emmet home is being filmed for a documentary produced by Emmet’s ex-producer, Clark (Paul Blackthorne). Everything seems normal until the crew breaks open the door to the panic room, expecting to find the crew. Instead, they appear to unleash some sort of evil spirit. An evil spirit that Emmet had been learning about in the last few weeks of his life and documented on hundreds of videotapes left on his ship.
I don’t want to give away too much, but the crew must find a way to deal with this new spirit while trying to uncover what happened to Emmet. Lincoln, who had a very strained relationship with his father, and Tess disagree about whether to continue the mission, as well as argue about secrets Tess kept from Emmet (We don’t learn what those are, but I think we get a pretty big hint.). Clark wants to live, but he also wants to make a good show. And all the while Jahel (Paulina Gaitan), the captain’s daughter, issues foreboding warnings about the expedition and the mysterious spirit plaguing them.
Although I’m still not a fan of creepy things swooping in out of the dark, there’s no denying the concept of “River” is fascinating. The documentary shooting style is genius and the show finds a clever way to explain all the cameras. I’m not all that into dark spirits with strange names but I’m totally into sleazy producers looking for big ratings (And Paul Blackthorne is a great one) and mysterious family secrets.
By the end of the first hour, you’ll be on board with the expedition as well. But at least you have the benefit of being able to cover your eyes. And if I keep watching this one, that’s most certainly what I’ll have to do…
But it might be worth it to follow what may very well be the most fascinating new show of the year..
“The River” premieres tonight at 9 with two back-to-back episodes on ABC…