“The River,” a successful follow-up to “Lost”


“The River” series logo implies the mysterious and thrilling nature of the fictional Amazon the show portrays.

By Cole Seefus

New TV series catch my eye all the time, but very few make my DVR list. Among these select programs is ABC’s “The River”, where the makers of “Lost” and a not-so-star-studded cast make the unbelievable believable.

Dr. Emmet Cole, played by Bruce Greenwood (the only actor I recognize on the show), embodies the plot. Similar to TV personalities like Steve Irwin, Dr. Emmet video records his ventures into the wild for the public to watch and enjoy. With his wife Tess (Leslie Hope) and son Lincoln (Joe Anderson), the family becomes a national icon for natural exploration and appreciation.

All falls apart when six months prior to the series’ events, Dr. Emmet, accompanied only with a camera crew, goes missing on a mysterious trip deep into the Amazon. He is assumed dead until a signal is received from The Magus, the ship taken on Dr. Emmet’s last endeavor.

Tess, Lincoln, Lena, one of the cameraman’s daughter (Eloise Mumford), producer Clark (Paul Blackthorne), Emilio (Daniel Zacapa), and protector Captain Kurt Brynildson (Thomas Kretschmann) comprise the main characters and create the document-style show.

Setting the plot apart from any other wilderness rescue mission is the presence of magic. The deeper the team travels into the Amazon along Dr. Emmet’s tracks, the more supernatural and perilous their plight becomes. It also becomes increasingly clear why Dr. Emmet left his family behind on this journey. He was looking for what is mysteriously referred to throughout the first few episodes as The Source.

“Lost” fans would not be disappointed. From man-eating, damned souls to murderous vines to stolen souls, “The River” takes its viewers first-hand through it all. Beside the events themselves, the most unbelievable, most impressive part of the series is the realism it portrays. The phenomena are as alien to the characters as they are to the viewers, making each seemingly impossible experience more plausible. The combination of first-person camera perspective and talented actors has a chilling effect.

As the crew continually struggles for their well-being against the magical, spiritual, undead elements of the natural world, their emotions evoke true interest in their success.

People would not consider me spiritual by most standards, but the acting convinces me the supernatural can be true and sends shivers through me just before bed every Tuesday night.  Logically speaking, of course I don’t fear the Amazon anymore than I did before The River, but it’s enough to make me jump.

Like “Lost”, “The River” leaves its audience on the edge of the couch and caught up with every twist and turn along the current.