DVD Review: Only Season of ‘The River’ Hints at What Could Have Been

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CHICAGO – I had some notable problems with ABC’s “The River,” saying in my review of the series premiere, “…while the show has effective moments of horror, they never quite build the way you want them to in a cohesive piece due to the creators feeling the need to get at least one major scare between every break.” Watching where the show went with the first season DVD, hitting stores this week, I stand by my criticisms (I have problems with every episode) but I kind of wish that the creators had been given time to iron out their kinks. The fact is that there simply isn’t enough programming on network TV that one could call daring and while I think “The River” was flawed it was undeniably unlike anything else in your DVR.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 3.0/5.0
DVD Rating: 3.0/5.0

The DVD release of what will now be the only season of the canceled ABC show is a pretty decent one for a program that never found an audience. However, it’s a shame that ALL current shows aren’t being released in HD. The people loyal enough to Oren Peli’s program aren’t loyal enough to spend a little extra on Blu-ray? That’s just silly. Having said that, the DVD transfer quality is very strong and the release comes with a pair of audio commentaries. I hope that the missteps of “The River” don’t keep other TV producers from trying something this original. It didn’t work not because of its concept but because of classic TV problems (writing, weak ensemble members, inconsistent tone). If these creative risks keep missing their mark, people will stop taking them. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

The River: The Complete First Season will be released on DVD on May 22, 2012
The River: The Complete First Season will be released on DVD on May 22, 2012
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Synopsis:
Embark on a thrilling journey as Oren Peli, director of Paranormal Activity, and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg, bring chilling legend and lore to life.

Paranormal thriller The River follows the story of world famous wildlife expert and TV personality Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood), host of the beloved series The Undiscovered Country. After Cole goes missing deep in the Amazon, his family, friends, and crew set out on a haunting and treacherous adventure to find him. Led by his wife, Tess (Leslie Hope), and estranged son, Lincoln (Joe Anderson), the rescue mission will lead them deep into the unexplored regions on the Amazon River. A place where nature is cruel, magic is real, and nothing is what it seems.

Uncover the ancient secrets of the Bouina in the heart-pounding first season of ABC’s The River, and dive even deeper into the mystery with never-before-seen bonus features. The shocking truth is waiting to be discovered…if you dare.

Special Features:
o “Magus” Audio Commentary
o “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” Audio Commentary
o Deleted Scenes
o The Magic Out There

“The River” stars Joe Anderson, Leslie Hope, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Blackthorne, Eloise Mumford, Daniel Zacapa, Thomas Kretschmann, and Paulina Gaitan. It was executive produced by Oren Peli, Jason Blum, and Steven Spielberg. It will be released on DVD on May 22, 2012.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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