ABC’s The River may be the network’s answer to Lost. It has the characters exploring an uncharted section of the amazon in search of Dr. Emmet Cole who went missing searching for magic. The show is shot in the “found footage” style of recent films. This makes sense as it’s from the creators and writers of the Paranormal Activity films. The show has the same air of creepiness to it without actually being scary. The cast is well chosen for the most part and anchor the writing so it never goes off the rails and into a “campy horror movie” feel.
As I said earlier it is filmed in the found footage style but the way it is setup is fairly neat. The ship, Magus, was built to film and edit an on-going tv show featuring Dr. Cole and his family. The ship is covered with cameras. There are also handheld cameras used onboard the ship and when the need to go on land arises. The camera work is well done in my opinion. Yes, it gets shaky but for the most part it is stable and never gets to the point you can’t make out what is happening. It adds to the suspense of the show instead of making it annoying or confusing.
The story of Dr. Cole going in search of the “source of all magic” may sound silly but the show handles it very well. Bruce Greenwood as Dr. Cole, Joe Anderson as his son Lincoln and Paul Blackthorne as the producer Clark Quietly are the strongest actors and are the real anchors to of the show. That’s not to say the other actors are bad, just not as strong in their parts as the other three.
The show has definitely shown that it can handle smaller mysteries that tie into the overall plot. For the most part the show has relied on plot more so than characterization. That’s not to say there isn’t some character growth but what there is mainly takes place because it furthers the plot. As far as the plot goes the creators and writers have done a good job with giving us a well developed opening and continuing to give us enough pieces of the puzzle to keep you wanting more.
With only four out of eight episodes shown so far I am excited to see what surprises the season finale brings.