TONIGHT: The River runs on ABC and CTV

Paul Devlin’s cousin.

Looking to add a little paranormal activity to your evening? Tonight ABC launches The River, a spooky drama starring Bruce Greenwood (left) as a Crocodile Hunter-type dude named Dr. Emmet Cole who goes missing deep in the Amazon jungle. When his wife (Leslie Hope) and son (Joe Anderson) start getting a signal from his emergency back up beeper, they partner up with his old series producer (Paul Blackthorne) and allow him to shoot a documentary as they head into the jungle in search of Cole.
Besides Canadians Greenwood and Hope the series boasts a very international cast, including three Brits, a German and a Honduran. There is just one American among the leads, Eloise Mumford (Lena Landry, whose cameraman dad disappeared with Cole).
Because this is produced by Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity), in partnership with Steven Spielberg (who seems to be attached to every second TV show these days), there are plenty of frights along the way. The River is more Blair Witch Project than Crocodile Hunter. There are plenty of intense, “Don’t go behind that door!” moments. Something creepy and supernatural is out there in the jungle and it seems pissed that this boat is poking along its river banks in the dark.
ABC apparently beat out NBC in a bidding war over the series. So why are they airing it in mid-season?
The pilot has its thrills, with the unique feature being the actor’s point of view on the series. Many in the cast were shooting while they were acting, with cameras strapped onto their arms, legs or noggins. Greenwood, who was at last month’s TCA press tour in Pasadena, said it took some getting used to. Read more about that in this story I filed last week for The Canadian Press.
Eight episodes have been shot so far, the pilot in Puerto Rico and the rest in Hawaii. Greenwood says it was easy to say aloha to that.
The River premieres Tues., Feb. 7 at 9/8c on ABC and CTV

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