The River Season 1 DVD Review: An Awesome Sci-Fi Show Taken Before Its Time

The River was the project of executive producer Steven Spielberg and the director of Paranormal Activity Oren Peli. It aired on ABC last season and developed a cult following. However, the following was not big enough to supply the ratings that ABC needed in order to renew the series, so these eight episodes are it for The River fans – unless there are any truth to the Netflix rumors that have been circulating among fans. A second season at this point though seems bleak.

After wildlife explorer, Dr. Emmet Cole disappears, his wife Tess Cole is convinced he’s still alive. Seeing an opportunity, Clark Quietly, Dr. Cole’s ex-producer, arranges a deal to get a sponsored expedition to search for Dr. Cole. The only catch is that the whole journey will be filmed documentary-style. Tess still jumps at the opportunity and her son Lincoln Cole joins – despite his not-so-perfect relationship that he had with his father. With a mixed crew of old friends and new faces, the team sets out on the Amazon and ends up discovering the shocking truth about what actually happened to Dr. Cole as he traversed an uncharted area of the Amazon.

The series itself feels like a cross between Lost, Paranormal Activity and Anaconda – minus the anaconda – and with the addition of something far more creepy – Boiuna. The Boiuna is a type of snake as well; she’s the serpent Goddess of the Amazon who has magical powers. And as we see in the last episode of the series, the Boiuna would have largely controlled the future direction of the series had it been renewed.

DVD Bonus features include an inside look into the origins of The River including a firsthand look at how the Amazon was recreated for the series, 13 never-seen-before deleted scenes, and of course audio commentary.

All-in-all, The River was a great series. It slows down a bit in the middle, but the last two episodes pick up the pace to make it competitive in its genre again, and while viewers may think at one point that the series will wrap up in a nice little bow – the finale proves otherwise. I’m really disappointed that we won’t get to dive deeper into the mysteries that the series teased us with in these episodes, but like many other great sci-fi series (The Event, Invasion, etc…), there just wasn’t enough fans that tuned in. Definitely check out The River on DVD though if you’re a fan of great sci-fi series. It won’t disappoint (other than the fact you won’t be getting any more answers…).

Grade: B
Review By: Emma Loggins


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