The River

Since I never get to start threads about TV shows – I tend to come to TV about two years after everyone else – I’m going to do so now. I don’t know much about whatever this River thing is that’s starting tonight, but I know I’m going to watch it based on it being produced by Oren Peli, who directed Paranormal Activity, and directed by Juame Collet-Serra, who directed Orphan. Both movies are total aces in my book. And since I think Teh River is being billed as some sort of Lost/horror thing, I’m guessing a lot of you are going to watch it as well. So, ha! Welcome to my TV show thread! We shall convene after the first episode has aired.


Yeah, I’m on board. I’m a sucker for found-footage horror, and was a huge fan of Paranormal Activity. Advance word says the the show pulls off the scares pretty well, but the dialogue could use some work. We’ll see.

I’m definitely looking forward to this.

Whoo hoo! Bruce!

 I come from down in the valley
 Where Mister, when you're young

Wait! What? This is a horror TV show?

Never mind.

It does star Bruce.

Bruce Greenwood, that is.

Disjointed, steals scares from PA, fairly cliche at times, and character motivations I really have trouble buying.

On the plus side, great premise and a few nice twists. Not sure if it will be enough to carry it or if it will eventually come together, but I will stick with it for now.

The biggest problem is that since they have to draw this out to 12 (or however many) episodes, the scares will be too infrequent at the cost of character development (see The Walking Dead).

We need to combine this with that other series so we can have ‘South American Horror Story’.

They said in the previews for next week that it’ll only be 6 more episodes, which is a good thing probably. I don’t know if Paranormal Activity: Amazon could hold up over a whole season.

I liked what I saw well enough. Although I wonder if every episode will center around “There’s this old Amazonian legend…” like the first two did.

For some reason it highly amuses me that Tom started this thread. Though given his affection for the found footage style of storytelling, it’s not surprising!

Seems like it has enough crazy to be interesting, but not enough crazy to be off-putting. Though I’m not sure mainstream viewers are going to latch onto it. I liked it, so

Thought the second episode story was a little strange in that at the start they’re all “this is one of the places he could have been” but after their interaction with the tree they’re all “let’s get the heck out of this place” before really determining that Emmett wasn’t there. Sort of reminds me of questing in RPGs where you’re told your objective is at one of 6 locations. So you go and explore each. I guess this area only contained the doll tree and a bunch of dead ends so they went back to the boat to go to the next area (though I don’t know how the heck you have dead ends in the Amazonian jungle).

Also I suppose they killed off the redshirt in episode one, so I don’t expect anyone else to die.

And lastly, I loved the miraculous recovery the blonde girl had in episode one. She’s gotten her leg cut horribly by the blood-hunting spirit, and 5 minutes later she’s hanging out in the (dirty) water and thereafter her leg is hunky dory.

Do we know if the premiere is going to be re-aired? I forgot to record it.

They are showing it on if that helps.

I was disappointed Chucky didn’t jump out of the bushes.

They weren’t going back to one of the other sites, they were going to press on in this direction. They just weren’t going to go all the way back to the boat in the dark until the ghost stuff freaked them out.


I had a bad feeling when perky blonde girl showed up out of the sky to extrapolate tides data model blah blah blah them to the boat. I did like the bit with the panic room, and part of me likes to think they’ll explain at some point why the beacon was put in an underwater cage designed to hold something in. But I suspect the show has moved on and simply can’t be bothered.


I don’t know - while you’re right that so far it’s been a fairly bland ghost of the week thing, they’ve done a fair bit of hinting at a larger plot which I’d like to think will have -some- sort of payoff. I guess we’ll see. I wasn’t expecting any genuinely ground-breaking horror from a broadcast network TV show, (plus I didn’t think Paranormal Activity really worked very well, though I did like Orphan, so there’s that), so I guess I wasn’t as disappointed with what we’re getting.

Even serialized television shows have to have procedural elements. If you want a show that never picks up an event of the week, you’re pretty much stuck with a few items on cable. In the gigantic group of genre shows that have a serialized plot but need some weekly cycles to do specific episodes, The River is pretty damn impressive. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s good enough for a network show.

I will say that you probably shouldn’t expect to have all your questions answered by the end of the eighth episode, and it’s going to need to do some work building ratings over the premiere if it wants a second order.

Liked it, but the blurred/censored F-bombs are a little off-putting. Seems like they created this for cable (AMC), but had to edit it a bit for network television.

No. It was always for ABC. It’s part of the found footage from a reality show style they’re going for. I actually quite prefer this to the alternative, which is some sort of weird parallel universe where it can rain cockroaches and ghosts are punching people in the kidneys and nobody ever gets distressed enough to complain about all this shit that’s going down or exclaim that the whole situation can fuck right off.

Blech. I love the style of the filming and the subject matter is creepy, but I don’t find the cast to be pulling it off at all. Lost worked because I thought the cast was terrific, was able to gel rather quickly and made unbelievable occurrences relatively believable. Even slapping my brain into neutral and suspending as much disbelief as possible, I don’t think this bunch does it at all.

Brain, since The River is being advertised as a six-episode mini-series, I was hoping it would have a narrative arc stronger than “hey, we fight a different ghost ever week on the way to finding Bruce Greenwood!”. But I grant that I could be misreading it based on the first two episodes.

Great point, Tyjenks. As much as I grew to hate Lost, it had a really compelling cast, even if you didn’t like some of the actors (hi Evangeline Lilly and Naveen Andrews!). I tolerated a lot of jerking around in Lost because I liked most of the actors and their characters. I probably would have been a lot more patient with The River if even a single one of those characters have some kind of hook, or spark, or some reason to make me want to come back next week.


No - it’s totally the show you think it is. They’re going to have to deal with a different magical Macguffin every week between now and the finale, but that’s because this isn’t a mini-series, and if they’re advertising it that way they’re doing it a disservice. It’s a short series that had its order shortened shorter than it had originally intended (which was already short), but it is very much conceived as a television show, with all of the usual tropes and idioms. The producers would totally sign on for a 22 episode season if they could get ABC to agree to one. Now, the ratings from the premiere are such that they’re not terribly likely to get that offer, but it’s definitely what they want.

Generally speaking, the best thing to assume is that absolutely everything on broadcast is the kind of television you probably won’t like, because serials are poison. They’re inherently limited by their very premise and the series of blunders all of the networks have committed trying to replicate Lost has made networks that measure their viewership with standards too big to subsist on genre consumers extremely skittish about them. On cable, where you actually can get by with only a significant chunk of a genre audience, it’s a different story, but it’s just nothing doing on broadcast.

Now, if Missing is what it looks like (Taken with Ashley Judd instead of Liam Neeson), that’s pretty much the only impending serial I can think of, and I fully expect it to fail if it is what it alleges itself to be. I guess Smash would also count, but, uh, don’t watch Smash on account of it’s awful, and I’m pretty sure there’s no singing allowed in serials, if for no other reason than because I said so.

Did anyone else find it a little jarring how the lead guy, ostensibly a man of science and reason, is so quick to embrace the paranormal as the cause of/solution to all their problems? I think the writers even went so far as to hang a lampshade on it with some offhand comment he made when they were fixing the propeller, but still…