Since “Lost” disappeared from television, fans have been craving a really good mystery. ABC is about to fill that void for us with “The River.” In the show, a group of people search for a missing TV researcher in the Amazon jungle. (The show is filmed in Hawaii, on the one island that doesn’t have an actual river: Oahu). That said, it’s not “Lost” in the Amazon. Especially in one very crucial way.
At the TV critics’ winter press tour, executive producer Michael Green explained that each episode is a self-contained horror/adventure story. It seems that ABC learned its lesson from “Lost.” Of course it was an incredibly popular show, but the people who dropped off often did it because they missed a week and it was too complicated to catch up. Green said that though there is an overarching storyline, you could “ignore” it. Sure, the idea is that the group is searching for Dr. Cole is there every week, but there is also an “X-Files”-style mystery that resolves each week. In fact, the show was compared to “X-Files” a number of times.
“We know all the pitfalls,” Green said, “and do not want to fall
into them. Each episode is a stand-alone horror film. We looked more to ‘X-Files’ than to shows like ‘Lost.’ We’re going make each one of them a little jewel.”
The show does have one other similarity to “Lost.” No character is safe. Leslie Hope who plays Tess Cole, the wife of the missing doctor said that she got Green to promise her that she’d stay alive for at least 40 episodes, but Green laughed, saying “It’s the Amazon, there’s more than ghosts to be scared of. There’s an endless number of things that can hurt you.”
The producers promised us that the stakes are real and no one is really safe. Daniel Zacapa who plays Emilio said that when you watch someone else read the script and hear them say “uh oh,” there is a very real sense of fear about whether or not you’ve just been killed off. Green says, “My philosophy in TV is to treat every script like it’s your last because chances are it will be.” That said, Green promises that they won’t abuse the audience’s trust. “We won’t remove people needlessly just for the gag,” he says.
Joe Anderson who plays Lincoln Cole told us after the presentation that he’s prepared for crazy fans if the show does well. After all, he played Alistair in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2.” He said the worst case of crazy fandom he saw on the film was a woman who found out where the cast was staying and told him she had a pair of scissors that she planned to use to cut off a lock of Robert Pattinson‘s hair. Oh dear.
“The River” premieres on February 7th.