• Network: ABC
  • Series Premiere Date: Feb 7, 2012
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Feb 3, 2012
    100
    The scares are not as over-the-top as American Horror Story but more chilling because they're applied glancingly. [13 Feb 2012, p.44]
  2. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Feb 7, 2012
    90
    The River is a terrifying heart-stopper, a cleverly cinematic supernatural adventure that takes us on a wild ride into an exotic heart of darkness.
  3. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Feb 7, 2012
    88
    An exciting and scary trip.
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Apr 13, 2012
    83
    The performances are good but constrained by the parameters of scary-story acting.
  5. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Feb 6, 2012
    83
    The series' embrace of its narrative style, its creation of such an ominous world and its skill for generating suspense practically out of thin air are all very impressive.
  6. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Feb 7, 2012
    75
    Lots of good stuff, although much is forced.
  7. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Feb 7, 2012
    75
    A strong cast and that things-that-go-bump-in-the-night shooting style so far keep the show on course.
  8. Reviewed by: Sarah Rodman
    Feb 9, 2012
    70
    The mix of the familiar and the frantic creates an intriguingly creepy effect.
  9. Reviewed by: Andrea Reiher
    Feb 7, 2012
    70
    For now, we find it a solid, entertaining spook-fest.
  10. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Feb 7, 2012
    70
    Made with ingenuity and verve, it substitutes the half-glimpsed and suggestive for the in-your-face and explicit, and concentrates more on the buildup than the payoff, the fear more than the fright.
  11. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Feb 7, 2012
    70
    The River makes effective use of the idea that sometimes it's the things you can't see so clearly--or at all--that are the scariest.
  12. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Feb 7, 2012
    70
    The River lacks the sophistication of "Lost" but its formula is more flexible than recent Fox addition "Alcatraz."
  13. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Feb 7, 2012
    70
    A suspenseful, hurtling water ride of a TV show.
  14. Reviewed by: Michael Landweber
    Feb 7, 2012
    70
    The River plainly evokes Lost.
  15. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Feb 6, 2012
    70
    You have a series that cobbles together a pretty strong rooting interest.
  16. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Feb 6, 2012
    70
    The River is one of those pilots it's hard not to admire, even if the longterm prospects for its journey remain shrouded in mystery.
  17. Reviewed by: Gail Pennington
    Aug 27, 2012
    63
    There are real scares, and you'll certainly jump in your seat. On the other hand, who knows if such a dense plot will ever be sorted out?
  18. Reviewed by: Chris Heller
    Feb 7, 2012
    63
    The series manages to serve up a legitimate fright or two, but it needs to slow down.
  19. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Feb 7, 2012
    60
    The River isn't terrible, and it actually has some effective elements, but it's fairly indicative of ABC's post-"Lost" flailing.
  20. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Feb 6, 2012
    58
    The River still has a quirkily eccentric charm. It's just so deliciously odd.
  21. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Feb 6, 2012
    58
    The River in comparison seems like stale tap water, unworthy of any prolonged big drink of time or effort.
  22. 50
    It's reasonably clever and well acted and has strong atmosphere and a few good scares, and the concept--a found-footage voyage into the Amazon to locate a mysteriously MIA scientist--is catchy. But the format of the show may prove a dealbreaker for me.
  23. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Feb 7, 2012
    50
    Depending on your tolerance, it's either a ridiculous presentation best suited to a drinking game (take a gulp every time the screen goes black), or a paranormal adventure that owes everything to "Lost."
  24. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Feb 7, 2012
    50
    The makers of the "River" deserve credit for spilling so much of their "X-Files" myth-ology from the start, but there's not enough reason to book passage on this voyage of the bland.
  25. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Feb 6, 2012
    50
    After swimming in its silliness for two hours, I can only say The River goes downhill fast.
  26. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Feb 6, 2012
    50
    The performances are adequate, but in many cases, the cast deserves credit for having to enliven trite, stock situations.
  27. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Feb 7, 2012
    40
    Although it has some nice moves and the occasional tense moment, the show's visual allure quickly leads to aggravation.
  28. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Feb 7, 2012
    40
    All these characters seem modestly interesting, but none, at least on first acquaintance, feel compelling. Nor are we drawn into their quest.
  29. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Feb 6, 2012
    40
    The mixture of "Lost" storytelling and "Paranormal" style is neither intriguing nor particularly scary, and it doesn't help that there's hardly a glimmer of humor.
User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 90 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 39
  2. Negative: 15 out of 39
  1. Feb 8, 2012
    3
    One of the worst premiers I've seen lately. The Blair Witch style camera-work is pushed to an extreme, often being very difficult to watch. Every time something interesting happens, the camera is dropped and you get to watch shadows running around. The audio is very muffled, the actors mumble, and there are so many *thick* British and Austrailian accents it's almost unwatchable without subtitles. Further - No one speaks Portuguese! Even deep in the Amazon - All of the foreign parts are in Spanish. Pathetic.

    Episode 2 had an interesting storyline, but most of the dialog is missed due to the horrible audio. None of the characters are very compelling, and it's almost laughable how easily (2 minute conversation?) everyone just believes everything odd happening around them is due to "magic". Another floater that won't make it past one season.
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 8, 2012
    1
    Couldn't watch more than 30 minutes of this show before I got bored, acting was mediocre, story line was even worse. I watched toward the end of the 2 hr premiere to see if it got better, it didn't. This is awful. I don't understand the difference of ratings between the users and the critics...maybe the critics are afraid of Spielberg. Full Review »
  3. Feb 8, 2012
    3
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. I'd have to say it is not what I expected. I actually fell asleep towards the end of both episodes but tried to stay awake hoping it would get better. The way the characters acted after each encounter with a supernatural entity was like "oh, we just lost a cameraman to a ghost, let's push on, I see ghosts everyday". There was no real fear in any of the people like there is in paranormal activity, which made that movie truly frightening. With paranormal activity, the actors were truly stressed and frightened and freaking out after encountering a ghost, and the audience felt their anxiety. Nope, not with the cast in the River. It was like, hey, my mom just got sucked into a river and then emerged from the ground at a grave site, lets just pretend that didn't happen and film us a good t.v. show!........ridiculous. Full Review »