ABC has released a long form trailer for tonight’s pilot episode of The River.
I’m honestly still not sure what to think of the show. It’s like a mashup of LOST, Ghost Hunters, and The Blair Witch Project. The first trailer we saw gave me some confidence in the new series, even if I still wasn’t sure who the audience was supposed to be – but this new trailer takes it all away. It looks melodramatic, overly-contrived, and too reliant on startle tactics to evoke the audience.
The basic premise of the show? An enigmatic river endowed with supernatural properties of some kind.
A film crew navigates the surreal river in search of a missing explorer, only to find themselves swept up in the mysterious place.
Of course, true to the popular ‘big mystery’ show format, the actual nature of the mysterious river and its surroundings will be hidden from the audience for some time. The River also has some elements of the shaky-cam paranormal show, which will become quickly annoying, I think.
The synopsis of tonight’s double episode pilot is thus:
In the first hour, “Pilot,” Dr. Emmet Cole, beloved adventurer and television personality goes missing deep in the Amazon. After a fruitless search for him, his family and friends abandon hope and hold a memorial service to commemorate his amazing life. His grieving wife, Tess, reluctantly tries to face the reality that her husband is gone, while her son, Lincoln, is more than ready to bury his past. Six months later Emmet’s location beacon mysteriously begins to relay a signal. Tess persuades Lincoln to join her and Emmet’s film crew on a journey through the Amazon to find him, a journey on which horrifying and almost mythical events will push them to their limits.
In the second hour, “Marbeley,” when the spirit of Dr. Emmet Cole mysteriously enters Jahel, the message is clear… go home! Instead, Tess determines to go into the jungle to find clues to Cole’s whereabouts. While on their mission, they discover a tree draped in children’s dolls that they suspect is there to ward off the “spirit of the abandoned girl” who drowned in the river. Then, when a member of the crew goes missing, the group realize they’ll have to endure a nightmare in order to appease an angry spirit and get their loved one back.
We also now have an official synopsis of the series itself:
“The River” follows the story of wildlife expert and TV personality Emmet Cole. Emmet set course around the world with his wife, Tess, and son, Lincoln, while filming what would become one of the most popular shows in television. After he goes missing deep in the Amazon, his family, friends and crew set out on a mysterious and deadly journey to find him. Famed explorer Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) went looking for magic deep in the uncharted Amazon and never returned. The shocking truth about his disappearance is out there, somewhere, just waiting to be discovered. To the millions of kids who grew up watching his nature show, Dr. Cole was a hero. To his own son, Lincoln (Joe Anderson), he was more of an enigma. Now, six months after he vanished, Lincoln is finally ready to bury the past when Dr. Cole’s emergency beacon suddenly goes off.
At the urging of his mother, Tess (Leslie Hope), Lincoln reluctantly joins her on a search for his father. To fund the rescue, they agree to let Dr. Cole’s cagey ex-producer, Clark (Paul Blackthorne), film the mission documentary-style. The mixed crew of old friends and new acquaintances includes the sexy and resourceful Lena (Eloise Mumford), loyal mechanic Emilio (Daniel Zacapa) and lethal bodyguard Captain Kurt Brynildson (Thomas Kretschmann).
“The River” stars Bruce Greenwood (“Star Trek”) as Emmet Cole, Joe Anderson (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2″) as Lincoln Cole, Paul Blackthorne (“Lipstick Jungle”) as Clark, Paulina Gaitan as Jahel, Leslie Hope (“24″) as Tess Cole, Eloise Mumford (“Lone Star”) as Lena, Shaun Parkes (“The Mummy Returns”) as Adjay, Thomas Kretschmann (“King Kong”) as Captain Kurt Brynildson and Daniel Zacapa (“Resurrection Blvd.”) as Emilio. “The River,” from Amblin’s Steven Spielberg, Daryl Frank and Justin Falvey, showrunner/executive producer Michael Green (“Heroes,” “Kings”), is also executive-produced by Oren Peli (creator of “Paranormal Activity”), Zack Estrin, Jason Blum and Steven Schneider. Teleplay by Michael R. Perry and Michael Green, story by Oren Peli & Michael R. Perry and Michael Green. The pilot is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and produced by ABC Studios.
The River will premier tonight, February 7, 2012, on ABC on at 9pm EST with a double episode.