• 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
    I'm loving the story line everyone is ripping on it for saying they are just trying to remake Lost.....SO. What's wrong with that Lost was one of the greatest tv shows ever I hope it turns out to be just as captivating as Lost was. The only thing I don't like is the Paranormal camera work I hate that always have since Blair Witch good concept just NO ONE can pull it off. But will definitely keep watching. Expand
  5. sYs
    Mar 2, 2012
    Awesome TV-series. Mix of horror/drama/adventure. Looking forward to more. Feels like early "lost" hope it will not turn to bad as "Lost" did after season two.
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. kap
    Mar 7, 2012
    I absolutely am hooked by this show. Has a fair amount of tense moments as well as an addictive plot line. It has become my Tuesday night routine and will miss it after the season is over.
  11. 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
  12. Feb 10, 2012
    NEW LOST???:
    Not what I see so far but it has the mistory and has a more supernatual element like lost but not the script and th charactors that lost had.
  13. 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??
  14. Feb 9, 2012
    What is up with all the bad ratings this show is good. Its better than 99 percent of everything that is currently on the air. The acting is good but could get better but the story is interesting and has nothing to do with LOST, its a completely different story. Think Indian burial ground, magic, ghosts, etc. People need to give this show a chance.
  15. Feb 9, 2012
    This show has a lot of potential, the premise is good, it just needs some time. The more and more I watched the more and more interesting it became. I do not get the critisism this is a good show, I hope it stays steady in the ratings next week, I hope people give it a chance because it is something fresh. I am tired of the same old cop shows, tired concepts, etc. This just might work.
  16. 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
  17. Feb 9, 2012
    I think it has alot of potencial, and i liked the first two episodes, and if you enjoy mistery/thriller with a bit of horror and shaking camera you will love this for sure.

  18. 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..?
  19. 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
  20. Mar 8, 2012
    This is my favorite show on T.V. right now if there is not a second season I will be upset! This show should stay on for the reiwers that love it and want to see more!
  21. Feb 15, 2012
    It's tough to grade the series on just a couple of episodes. As a fan of the Paranormal movies, I have to highlight a key difference between the franchises. Supernatural stuff happening in your bedroom (that sounds bad, actually), or in your house is truly scary. You want to think that you're safe within the four walls of your domicile. But when you change the setting the the Amazon - which is already teeming with wild animals, snakes, bugs, spiders, etc. - the added layer of ghosts and spirits is just not all that scary. Your guard is already up - what's worse, a piranha attack or getting moved 5 feet in my tent by my dead father's ghost? Tough to say. But I'll take the ghost. The actors are good, and I hope something comes of the story. I think it gets 2 more episodes. Expand
  22. Feb 9, 2012
    How is it even legal to give this show a negative review? This show is exciting, bone-chilling, terrifying, and scary as hell. The acting can use alot of work but everything else is perfect. The Story is adventurous and genius. The camerawork switching from the regular camera, to handheld, and to the positioned cameras on the ship and in the woods are horrifying, and they will most assuredly have you biting your nails while your on the edge of your seat. This show is one of a kind. There are countless terrifying moments in the series premiere, better than any horror movie released in a long time. Amazing, terrifying and a one of a kind, hell of a show. I give the premiere a 9.5/10 only because the acting definitely needs some work, the actors get a bit corny but its not terrible. You MUST watch this show. Pure genius. Expand
  23. Feb 11, 2012
    Was actually impressed with The River. I went into it expecting it to be the same 'ol. But I was pleasantly surprised. I can't wait to see how it turns out.
  24. Feb 12, 2012
    I thought the show was pretty good. I didn't get so see lost so I figured this would be pretty similar. Hopefully ABC gives it at least 2 to 3 seasons.
  25. Feb 27, 2012
    I have no idea how this show will progress. And I mean that in a good way its shocking twisting and has Steven Spielberg producing. Scariest thing on TV definitely.
  26. Mar 5, 2012
    "Theres magic out there!" but not with the main character whos the son of the fictional steve irwin. His accent is so distracting and annoying you keep asking yourself where the hell did he learn to talk like that. The environment is cool but the scariness isnt at the level you hoped it be. The black guy camera man is the best character and voice of reason it appears. The mexican mechanic and his daughter, who he claims, "god cursed me with such a beautiful child", isnt all that cute and you keep wondering to yourself, why does he think shes so good looking. Has its moments of scary but doesnt go as far as you'd like. Expand
  27. Mar 9, 2012
    I absolutely love this show. It is creepy and very entertaining to watch. I would be highly disappointed if they canceled it. It is different than all the other shows out there.
  28. 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. Collapse
  29. 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 !
  30. Mar 1, 2012
    I have mixed feelings about this show. I didnt like how this is shoot like "found footage" , its really not because there are times where characters are alone and theres really about 4 different angles that are switched through when theres only 2 camera men. Anyway, the premise of the show is that these people are searching for a guy who did this show in the wild and he mysteriously disappeared, and they uncover that there was more to his appearance, supernatural things. The story isnt very strong at all and the episodes are very disconnected since theres a different supernatural occurrence or entity in the wild. Other than that the episodes are sometimes interesting, although i havent been keeping up. Overall, Its a very "Meh" show and i dont expect it to get very far Expand
  31. 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
  32. 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
  33. 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.
  34. 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
  35. Mar 20, 2012
    Suuuuuuch a great show, gonna miss it and im hoping for its return. Every tuesday i turn off all my lights and sit down for the ride. Filming style and plot were great, acting was good, and the whole idea of spirit in untouched forests is spooky.
  36. Mar 20, 2012
    The River is a great show. It's a nice change of what's being offered on TV, it's a horror and adventure all in one. I hope it sticks around for another season
  37. Mar 20, 2012
    March 20, 2012

    Wow we really loved the finale. The River is the perfect show to watch when you want suspense confusion and spooky! If you want reality then maybe you should be watching reality T.V. The River was quite entertaining and we looked forward to it every Tuesday! We look forward to another season way to go ABC
  38. Mar 21, 2012
    This is a guilty pleasure. The plot and idea is a great one. I love the supernatural aspect and the ability to keep you watching to see what happens next. The acting is a bit lacking. Everyone seems so stiff except for the British cameramen. I'm not a fan of jerky camera movement. That is the only reason for a lower score. It's not groundbreaking, but certainly entertaining. Will be watching next season. Expand
  39. Apr 28, 2012
    The River is enjoyable to watch, but mostly it is because of the wrong reasons. The River is a bad show; it's got bad acting, poorly written dialogue and cheesy music that ruins the horror feel of the series. But the show is indeed fun to watch! The show isn't creepy but it does have it's fair share of creepy moments to it. If you are bored and looking for something cheap and silly to watch, The River is your show. 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.