• Network: ABC
  • Series Premiere Date: Feb 7, 2012
  • Season #: 1
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 90 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 57 out of 90
  2. Negative: 22 out of 90

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  1. Feb 8, 2012
    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.
  2. Feb 8, 2012
    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.
  3. Feb 8, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand 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. Expand
  4. Feb 8, 2012
    One of the worst shows to ever pollute the stream in on the cables. Let's ignore the supernatural stuff for a moment. That said, this show has more plot holes than a sieve. The characters are so one dimensional and over the top predictable. You don't care about any of them. They do the exact opposite things a normal person would do simply to move the "story" along and keep them on the boat searching for the missing people. And about those supernatural happenings... Plain stupid. In the first episode, SPOILER ALERT the Latino girl that talks to ghost KNOWS whats welded into the ships panic room, yet she tells no one, simply warns them not to let it out! OF course they do, otherwise the show would have ended there. They let out a ghost of a member of the lost crew of the ship, one that now craves their blood and wishes to kill them. It does kill one crew member. The son decides to retrap this evil spirit back in the husk that was welded into the ships panic room, remember that, it was welded into inescapable room, trapped there. Using his own blood the doctor/son traps the ghost back in the husk, while his mother screams at the ghost to tell her if her husband is alive, once for no, twice for yes. the stupid ghost fall for the trap, the one that ended with it trapped in that panic room for 6 months contemplating it's mistake. Do they then reseal it in the panic room? Nope, the guy simply throws the husk into the river, problem solved. PROBLEM SOLVED. And the real kicker is now the mother has two scratches on her, the ghost that was trying to kill them all decided to let them know that the dad was still alive... WTF? The second episode was equally stupid and bad, with our heros running in the dark in the rain forest after having second thoughts about spending the night under the "spirit tree" that was growing beside the cemetery. When the ghost decides to steal his mommy, the doctor takes all of 10 seconds to come up with the brilliant idea to dig up the dead girls mother to trade for his. UGH! Even if the stories weren't so badly written, the Blair Witch fake documentary camera style will give you a headache before the first commercial break. I'm giving a show a 1, and that being generous. Expand
  5. Feb 14, 2012
    I like this for the cast: Joe Anderson, Bruce Greenwood and the rest. Sometimes one has to watch a show just to see the performers exercise their chops. And, once again, Spielberg's influence in the background will probably render this like his god-awful Terra Nova and Falling Skies - dull.
  6. Feb 10, 2012
    The comparisons between The River LOST are natural, but the two shows have little in common. LOST was shot nicer and had a more dedicated story arch. The River appears to be more of a 'adventure every episode' format. Comparisons with Supernatural are more apt, but it lacks the charm and scares of that show. The biggest let-down is the camera work, which does little to help the show. If anything, it hinders it. The River could have capitalise don its suspense more if it opted for a more traditional approach. But currently it is just painful to watch as the cameras give away obvious suspense moment (the camera man paradoxically never looks at what everyone else is staring at, mouths gaping, until the last second).

    The River is an interesting idea and a fair premise: a light paranormal yarn that will scare anyone who can't stomach American Horror Story. But it still falls short.
  7. Feb 15, 2012
    I saw the 1st 25 minutes of The River last night on Hulu. That was long enough for me to turn the TV off, resist the urge to throw it in the River, and join a monastery, so I never have to see that shaky camera crap again. Itâ
  8. Feb 18, 2012
    Offers occasional shocks and a bit of run of the mill spooky, but it's basically a melodrama at heart. If the supernatural elements were darker or had more of a cohesive mythical plot, perhaps I could overlook the trite "i have daddy issues/my family has secrets/now i must find my father to find myself" plot line. The hand held, faux documentary approach has been done so many times that you have to really go for it to make it work. A maudlin story line combined with relatively predictable "monster/myth of the week" episodes that seem relatively self-contained make this a no. Expand
  9. Feb 8, 2012
    Oh no! Not another complicated unrealistic story starring the 'Smoke-thing' or a close relative. Not going to be watching this one. Where are the good dramas, like Detroit 187??
  10. Feb 9, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Everything that made Paranormal Activity successful was thrown into a video editing blender and set on puree. Instead of a well-paced tale of mystery and horror, The River quickly becomes a mysterious **** of pure swill. The skinny: the acting looks like acting, the characters are so shallow they can walk on water, and nobody seems particularly frightened by the evil entity at all. Add in the 20+ cameras that this floating boat/studio has to offer, and you'll quickly get motion sickness from it all. Expand
  11. Feb 13, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This show demonstrates how completely one dimensional Creator Oren Peli is; he brings absolutely nothing new or fresh to the table. Although comparisons to Lost are all but inevitable the two shows could not be more different, Lost was full of compelling and interesting characters that worked well together and we tuned in each week in the hopes that some of the mysteries of The Island would be revealed.

    All of the characters of "The River" are painfully cliche and by half an hour in this show has been revealed for what it is: Paranormal Activity in the jungle. If you liked Paranormal Activity then I guess you might like this show because that is all it is, one 42 minute episode of Paranormal Activity after another that have been cleaned up a little bit to air on television.

    The biggest problem I see with this show going forward is that if you want a horror/suspense show or movie to work you have to be cheering for the characters; if you don't feel attached to the people on the screen there is neither horror now suspense, there is only boredom. The biggest failing of this show moving forward is that with every passing week we will sympathize less and less with the characters. We can all cheer for characters trapped in a bad situation who are doing there best to get out, but that is not the situation here. They can turn around and leave whenever they choose BUT THEY DON'T; they seem to either have a Captain Ahab complex or be the dumbest people I have ever seen because after horrific encounter they have they just seem content to pretend it didn't happen and soldier ahead.

    On like the third day of this ill fated expedition they run into a blood hunting demon who kill one of the camera men and like two days later when they have a run in with another evil spirit one of the main characters says, "It is hard enough to believe there is a spirit out here". HOW IS THAT HARD TO BELIEVE?! Did you forget about the blood demon from Tuesday?

    I just don't see how the creators of this show expect us to care about the characters when they are content to close their eyes, put their fingers in their ears and hum loudly as they march head long into certain death when at any time they could just turn the boat around and go home. All the characters seem content to march off to their certain deaths so I have to ask:

    If none of them care if they survive, why should we..?
  12. Feb 13, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. absolutely awful. silly, soap opera grad writing and acting. ridiculous set up that in no way captures any of the mystery, intrigue or suspense that lost managed to generate on a weekly basis. lame duck characters-the cameraman introducing himself by saying "i'm on the amazon...there aren't many jews here." ugh, really? and spirit traps, or whatever? who ya gonna call? not oren peli unfortunately. yeah, "there's magic out there," but none of it made it into this show. Expand
  13. Feb 24, 2012
    I wanted to like this one. In the first scene though, it's makers blew the realism big time. Mom enters a bar with a film crew, and within minutes (if not seconds), her son is opening his heart about how Daddy was never around. There's no hesitation whatsoever about describing their dysfunctional relationship on camera - They go for in-your-face camera and hidden camera at once, making the scene awkward and unrealistic. They could have approached the family tension in far subtler and effective ways. Instead the introduction felt like a soad opera and they lost me. I'm very glad that there's actually enough quality TV out there nowadays, that I don't have to suffer through a show like The River, waiting for scraps of redeeming dialogue. Expand
  14. Mar 23, 2012
    I gatta say Im really disappointed . when i saw the trailer i thought it will be super awesome . there are not many horror-paranormal shows out there plus its in the great Amazon . the first episode was average but the whole story is not doing okay at all . sometime it seems too boring to see !
  15. Mar 23, 2012
    Attention TV Land: The found footage approach is **** The Blair witch project is **** . Cloverfield is **** Paranormal activity was actually good, but that is the only time it has or will ever work. Not using FF would have made this show better but it would still be bad. None of the characters are good enough to make you care if they live or die and the plot is presented too slowly and badly to care what it is about either. I watched the double premier as 2 separate episodes because I couldn't bare watching it all at once and I gave up after 15 mins of the 2nd half. Expand
  16. Feb 26, 2012
    I've seen episodes of Sesame Street that were more suspenseful than this show. The writing is vacuous and lacks any sense of humor. The acting is acceptable but unremarkable. The show simply moves way too fast for its own good. If you want to create legitimate scares, you must build suspense, you must make your viewers care about the characters for them to care if they are in danger.

    was one of the worst premiers I've ever seen, don't waste 45 minutes of your life on it. Expand
  17. Mar 6, 2012
    I had high expectations; they were shattered by a weak, unrealistic plot and an absence of scares. It's minimally suspenseful with no true frights. "The River" is trying to hard to be "Paranormal Activity: The Series," which results in a lifeless thriller.
  18. Mar 7, 2012
    There are two sides of my reaction to 'The River': I feel that it has a great deal of potential, and that I enjoy the concept that it's as much of a quest of self-discovery as a search for a missing father, husband, and media figure. I think that the setting can be easily creepy, and the entire concept of a search has drive many a show for years....but that's the problem: As new as the idea seems, it's not. I can't sympathize with the characters, and I don't always care why they are searching for the good Doctor. There is no chemistry with certain characters there should be, and the 'Mystical force of the week' idea is getting old, quick. If this show wants to truly distinguish itself, it needs to take real chances and break away from the 'lost' mold. The potential is there...but I am afraid it's probably too late. Now that being said, I still watch it for the hope that it could evolve into the show it *could* be, not the show it is. Expand

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: Gail Pennington
    Aug 27, 2012
    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?
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Apr 13, 2012
    The performances are good but constrained by the parameters of scary-story acting.
  3. 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.