I’ve been looking forward to The River for quite some time now. The premise was intriguing enough and the notion of a found-footage horror / serialized mythology show on network television just seemed like too good an idea to pass up.
After watching the show’s 2 hour premiere, I have to say I’m not sure this attempt was all that successful. I commend ABC for taking a risk and experimenting with this kind of show, but the premise felt forced which is not something you want to have when you’re presenting a show that’s supposed to be “real”. The show’s tone didn’t feel genuine to me and a lot of that was due to the cast who were pretty bland across the board. I did like Tess the mother however; I felt she was an interesting enough character with a range of motivations and characteristics. Her son Lincoln however has to be one of the most annoying characters ever and that’s saying a lot as the show is only 2 episodes in.
I also hated the very obvious smoke monster ripoff from Lost. Really ABC? No one thought that was a bit TOO familiar this soon after Lost ended, and on the same network no less? Moreover, I’m not sure I liked “magic” being such an obvious part of the show as it was all a bit too heavy handed. The fact that the show is shot in Hawaii however gave the visuals a nice boost which is definitely a plus.
All in all, despite its flaws, I enjoyed The River although it was not the phenomenal and terrifying experience I was hoping it would be.