Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Lost in the Amazon

This week Amber West and I review two mini-series on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday: the BBC favorite, Doctor Who, and the new ABC paranormal mystery, The River.

The River has been described as a paranormal, action-packed, and adventurous program that falls into the horror, mystery, and fantasy genres.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

First, a quick summary of The River:

The series follows the friends and family members of Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood), as they search for any signs that the famous television personality and wild life expert survived his last voyage into the Amazon.

Desperate for the opportunity to search for their loved one, the doctor’s wife (Tess, played by Leslie Hope) and son (Lincoln, played  by Joe Anderson) agree to allow Dr. Cole’s former producer (Clark, played by Paul Blackthorne) to join and film the expedition “documentary” style, in exchange for his funding of the trip.

The search team also consists of: Lena (Eloise Mumford), a valued resource and the daughter of Emmet Cole’s missing cameraman; Emilio (Daniel Zacapa), the ship’s mechanic and his young daughter, Jahel (Paulina Gaitan); Captain Kurt (Thomas Kretschmann), a bodyguard hired to protect the crew but who also harbors a secret agenda; and lead cameraman,  A.J. (Shaun Parkes).

Will the team discover the truth behind Emmet Cole’s disappearance, or will they too fall victim to The River?

Now, a bit of the story:

For over twenty years, Emmet Cole starred in a popular television series that explored the different parts of the world and the organisms that populate it.  His catch phrase, “There’s magic out there,” reached out to millions of loyal viewers, but perhaps no one quite as much as his wife and son who traveled with him on his ship, the Magus, during his expeditions.

But on his latest voyage to the Amazon, Emmet leaves behind those that usually travel with him (his wife, his son, his producer, and his cameraman’s daughter).  Instead, he hires a new crew and ventures out on his own searching for magic.

See? Magic…

Magic is just what he finds – a mysterious magic in the Amazon.  But before he can return with his discovery, he along with everyone else on his ship vanishes.  Emmet was presumed dead by the world, that is until his emergency beacon activates six months later.

Tess, feeling a bit guilty for reasons we won’t mention, insists they find her husband.  She decides to partner up using Clark’s financial resources to document her search for Emmet and builds the team, including her reluctant son, to find the ship and her husband (and the other missing people, but everyone has their own agenda out there).

Once the team locates the Magus, they board and immediately start watching footage taped by Lena’s dad (Russ, played by Lee Tergesen) and Jonas (Scott Michael Foster).  It is obvious to the viewer that something in the Amazon is making Emmet appear like he is going crazy; but the team presses on despite the forces working against them — forces such as possessions, magical legends and curses, poisons, and ghosts.

So far, the search and recovery has yielded two of Emmet’s missing shipmates: Russ and Jonas; but still no Emmet.  After seeing what happens to these men (no spoilers), one can only imagine Emmet’s fate is doomed.

For television, The River is actually very spooky and mysterious and the special effects are surprisingly good (Steven Spielberg is involved, after all).  The season is short (only eight episodes long) and I’m hoping for some answers in the remaining two shows.  While I am enjoying the series and it’s not sitting in my DVR queue very long, I’m still not so sure about the overall program’s rating.

Lost in the Amazon at night… spooky!

A part of me feels that I should award the JFTV rating; The River is unlike anything else on network television today (American Horror Story is better, in my opinion), but I have a bad feeling that the direction of these final episodes could possibly leave a Lost feeling in my mouth.  For that, and for that fear alone, I must award The River the SSTV rating.  It’s still simmering; what can I say?

What do you think? Do you watch The River?  Is it worthy of a higher rating?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on the regenerating doctors of Doctor Who.

Come back next week when Amber and I review two new (or maybe old) TV shows.  We like to keep everyone on their toes.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech