The River - The Complete Season One
"The River" is a canceled series that tried to capture the documentary feel and horror potential of films such as "Paranormal Activity." However, the show did not succeed in staying on ABC’s line-up. The DVD series includes all of the episodes of the series and some bonus features that shed light on the making of such an ambitious series.
"The River" follows Lincoln (Joe Anderson), a young man, whose famed explorer Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) goes missing and is thought dead. Lincoln joins the documentary crew that leaves to find his father. The crew includes Lincoln’s mother Tess (Leslie Hope), former show producer Clark (Paul Blackthorne), mechanic Emilio Valenzuela (Daniel Zacapa) and bodyguard Captain Kurt Brynildson (Thomas Kretschmann).
The series blends various styles to convey a story that will shock and scare. It cuts between footage of the crew exploring the Amazon, original episode footage of Emmet’s series, and secret footage of Dr. Cole’s search for magic in the real world. There are also many special effects that are frightening given the realistic footage of the series.
The DVD features a behind-the-scenes featurette, "The Magic Out There" that gives in-depth insight into the steps involved in making the series. The series uses extensive camera and special effects to convey a dark descent into the supernatural. The DVD set includes deleted scenes which are mostly just extra talking head moments. These scenes don’t really amp up the storytelling too much. There are also audio commentaries by the writers and producers including Michael Green and Zack Estrin.
"The River" was canceled after a lackluster reception on television. There are some spooky moments but sadly, the documentary style can take some of the thunder away from the series. It can be a little boring at times and disturbing at others.
"The River: The Complete First Season"