Open letter to ABC: Please let ‘The River’ have a second season

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Joe Anderson, Paulina Gaitan and Paul Blackthorne in 'The River' — Photo courtesy of Francisco Roman

One of the most pleasant surprises of the recent television season has nothing do with Broadway (Smash), Ashley Judd (Missing) or Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men). It can be found in the dark, dank, murky waters of The River, arguably the best new show since AMC’s The Killing.

Here’s the problem: Not enough people are watching the inaugural season of the found-footage thriller series, and it looks like it might be headed down the drain.

After watching the first few episodes, and following the crew on its journey to find the missing Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood), it’s somewhat perplexing how The River hasn’t become the new Lost. Granted, it’s nowhere near the excellence of the polar-bear-in-the-woods show, but it has great potential.

First off, the acting is believable, which is saying a lot. The entire premise of the show is that we’re watching documentary footage, so the acting needs to be real and trustworthy. If it felt like these actors were acting, much of the series would feel manufactured and hokey. It’s a credit to the cast that even in the most unbelievable of circumstances, they give the plot a sheen of reality. Joe Anderson is quite good as Emmet’s son, Lincoln, while Leslie Hope is probably the best on the series as Emmet’s wife, Tess. The supporting cast is equally impressive, with not a weak link among the bunch. Creators Michael R. Perry and Oren Peli have an able company of actors.

The story, which is fairly broad and still hasn’t been defined, is intriguing and original. The entire series is built around this journey to find Emmet. We live in the present with the documentary crew and his family members, and we’re given glimpses of archival tapes that show what might have happened to the TV host.

Critics of the first episode questioned whether the show had enough steam to build into a complete series. At the time, that was an astute assertion. The story line feels narrow and almost cinematic in nature, lasting an episode or two, but certainly not enough to sustain a primetime series. Luckily, The River has beaten back these doubts by keeping us engaged each and every week, and also slowing down the plot. Too often, dramatic shows speed through their overarching story lines with a multitude of characters, twists and turns. The River covers a lot, but it actually is quite slow in its delivery.

There are some red flags: Unlike Lost, The River needs to elevate beyond the action and thrills. The eeriness of this environment is inspired and lends itself to some fun sequences (how about that freaky doll tree?), but if the show simply surrounds what goes bump in the night, then what’s the point? Lost was about something much larger than surviving on the island, and that’s what The River needs to achieve. Whether the central plot turns out to be supernatural, religious or apocalyptic in nature (or a mixture of all three), the show needs to finish its first, and hopefully not last, season by giving us a glimpse of what it all means. Why is the search for Emmet meaningful?

Here’s hoping we get to answer that question before ABC pulls the plug. If you want the show to stick around, leave your thoughts in the comment field below.

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com

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59 Responses to Open letter to ABC: Please let ‘The River’ have a second season

  1. Janice says:

    I love The River and I’m watching all the episodes. The 6th episode (Doctor Emmet Cole) was excellent.
    BRUCE GREENWOOD was AWESOME!!! About time he had some airtime. Man–he’s the best!
    I hope it’s renewed for more episodes.

  2. Al Gonzalez says:

    Terrific show…. please renew for a 2nd season. If not ABC then any other network is fine with me. Best thing since LOST..

  3. Darlene says:

    Please renew for a 2nd season. I love the tv show…. it keeps you on edge.

  4. Chaz Mathews says:

    The River simply cannot be taken off the air! My wife and I love the show and we look forward to every Tuesday night. Rarely do we watch TV, but we DO NOT miss The River! Keep more seasons coming…PLEASE!!!

  5. Jose says:

    Omg they have to make a 2nd season.This is the best show I have ever seen since Lost.Its very mysterious and thrilling.They have to keep it up.I just love this show.

  6. Campbell says:

    ABC…I am begging you, pleeeaaaassseeee renew this show! It’s definitely my new favourite. I love it, I think the premise is ridiculously creative, and I always wanna know what’s gonna happen next. This show is worth more than just a single season. PLEEEEEAAAAASSSSEEEE!

  7. Sharon says:

    I started watching it after it started, my kids kept telling me how good it it – and I agree! I do think the story needs to expand a little to do a second season, but I would definitely keep watching it if it returns in the fall – and I hope it does!

  8. Josh Becker says:

    If the people at abc don’t don’t renew the river for a second season they have no idea what they’re doing and should not be working in TV I believe this is one of the best TV shows that I’ve ever watch and I feel like it deserves a second season if not many many more don’t let this be another Good show that dies please please bring it back for another season much appreciation thank you

  9. Sally says:

    Love, love, love The River!! It is, by far, the most compelling show on television in years…possibly ever. I will be extremely disappointed if it is cancelled.

  10. Beth says:

    The River has been entertaining and spine tingling. The River leaves enough to the imagination to keep those who need more than the graphically obvious to be entertained. There is a demographic of viewers out there who like to be challenged or have fun with shows that are not “reality” ho hum, or cheesy comedy, but more on the intellectual and/or mysterious fun side.

    The River is a fun roller coaster ride for those who like to have that chill run up their spine, but also be challenged by “what’s next”?

    It is sad to think that it would be cancelled so soon, there are many shows that after the word got out, became huge successes, but started with a slow first season. The River is not particularly a slow first season, but word has been spreading and there should be an up tick in the next season.

    Please keep the River on. It is fascinating fun, with some bumps in the night.

    It is great to see something that is not another “reality” show, cop drama, forensic science drama, or ho hum campy comedy.

  11. Bmt says:

    Haven’t been excited for tv since LOST. Love The River. Please give us more!

  12. Ty says:

    Pleassssse!! let THE RIVER have a second season. It’s a show that really keeps you on your feet and wanting more from the continuing episodes. It’s a non-stop suspense program I really enjoy. I feel like everyone else when I say ABC don’t let another good show go down the drain.

  13. Shannon says:

    PLEASE!!!! KEEP THIS SHOW ON!!!!!!!!!!!!! My son and I watch it religiously and we are spreading the word. Have several friends now tuning in. There has NOT been enough time for this show!!!! We DVR it every week…the “ratings” cannot be the right way to measure. DVR boxes should be able to report what is being watched, lol.

  14. Laurie says:

    Please renew this excellent program. We would like to see where it will go. The acting is very, very good and the story is intriguing.

  15. dustin jordan says:

    It is about time a pimetime network bought us something different and dark this the best show ever i hope they give it a second season.The can’t leave hanging in the balance. PLEASE ABC LET I GO ON

  16. AlPal says:

    AMEN! it really is about the best thing since LOST.

  17. Tyler says:

    Please renew this show it has potential for sure!!! I was a huge fan of LOST and this is the best show since, except its more realistic and almost not as confusing. deffinately worth checking out if you haven’t, and I can’t wait for the second season!!

  18. Tommy J says:

    Come on abc, the river is the best show since lost for sure! Much better than all of the so called “reality” shows. I will be very disappointed if it’s cancelled. It’s a shame a good show like this is possibly getting cancelled. I don’t see how people would rather watch “reality shows” when there is absolutely no reality to any of it.

  19. Ben says:

    I think this show is amazing and should definitely be renewed for another season, this is exactly the show that I am looking for to catch my attention. LOVE IT! I hope that one day it will have a second season, really look forward to seeing more of this epic show. It just needs more advertising, a lot of people still don’t know about it.

  20. we need a second season please give the people a chance to come around.
    this show is awesome by far the best show on TV. if once upon a time and the bachelor get renewed and the river doesn’t it will be a disgrace.

    • Daniel says:

      PLEASE GIVE THIS SHOW A SECOND SEASON!! IT IS SO GOOD AND SOOO WORTHY. It has gotten terrible publicity. It has not had the opportunity to effectively capture it’s awesome nerdy demographic. This show is easily one of the greatest to air on ABC.

      • CP says:

        SO TRUE!!! I have never wanted to watch ABC before The River aired! I didn’t even know the series was going to happen. I was just flipping channels on the day that the pilot aired and decided to watch it. So worth it!!!

  21. Jonathan Kilpatrick says:

    Every Tuesday night I watch The River this is one of the most mysterious crazy shows out there. The acting is incredibly believable. Just finished watching the season finale (hopefully not a series finale). Between this and Alcatraz, my mom and I have arguments on which is more mysterious. But this show is truly a spectacle and it is hard to find something as unique as The River. Cop dramas are so overrated.

    • Taylor says:

      I agree. The acting is SOOO believable! I mean season finally
      And Lincon was the best!! SO BELIVABLE!!! I was so freaked out watching it!!! ABC pretty please
      Keep the river going!! Pretty please with a cherry on top??

  22. Lauren says:

    The river is an excellent show. The actors are amazing and there is so much room for growth! I want answers to all the questions that were left and only a second season can do that! We the viewers beg you! What about Kurt?? What’s up with the river trapping them?? Please!!

  23. Ariana says:

    Please consider the possibility of making a season two. My family and I watch it every Tuesday and never miss it. This show is very interesting and it just makes you look forward to each new episode! The character developments throughout the series were very deep and every actor and actress did an incredible job in depicting their characters. Please make a season two!

  24. Deepi says:

    Renew The River for a second season, ABC! My husband and I normally don’t even watch TV on Tuesday nights. Not until The River debuted. We love this show! So different than the same boring shows repeated on TV. Don’t disappoint your viewers! Bring it back please!

  25. Josh says:

    PLEASE ABC, I HOPE YOU GUYS READ THIS LETTER.
    “The River” is THE best show I have ever seen. I look forward to Tuesday nights every week. I even like the river better than “Alcatraz”. The storyline and concept are great and I bet if there is a second season, there would be much more viewers. People just need to accept the topic of…well…”paranormal activity”.

    To sum it up: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE AIR A NEW SEASON OF “THE RIVER”.

  26. Kel Thims says:

    I’m hoping for a second season of this great show! I Looked forward to watching it every Tuesday night. A one of a kind show with great actors.

    ABC: Please give us more of The River!

  27. jessica says:

    I really have loved this show. Tuesday nights, my kids and I look forward to it all week. I hope the powers that be will allow this show to develop abit more. I hate how all the shows I really enjoy get cancelled. Does anyone remember Millenium? A great show, Gone. The new V, Gone. Carnivale from HBO, Gone. Rome was another one from HBO, Gone. There are so many titles that I cant even think of them all. I almost hate getting into new series because it seems as if the ones that I like, I will not be able to really get into them because they will be gone soon. Please, Please, Please just let the show develop alittle more.

  28. Jennifer says:

    PLEASE renew the river! I just finished watching the finale with my boyfriend and that was insane! we absolutely love the show. it’s the only show that we watch religiously. LOVE

  29. SecretHandshake says:

    Renew The River now for 6 seasons and a movie! This show more than delivered on its premise and made Tuesday nights amazing for the last 8 weeks. Obviously the story was meant to continue and should not be left hanging with no closure or further Amazonian adventures. It’s simple really – just start producing webisodes now that can fit before and between the first season’s stories, put them up on abc.com AND start a youtube channel (not just streaming, downloadable too so they can be played back with the existing show’s eps). There’s a lot of potential in showing more of the Undiscovered Country and a decent start was made with http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/the-undiscovered-country/index. Put some effort into it and the hits will pile up and snowball into an expanded fanbase. Then sell DVDs/Bluerays of the first season with some cool behind the scenes/deleted scenes special features. Get season 2 greenlit and keep rolling out the webisodes -now projected forward in time from the season ending cliffhanger – along with updating the dedicated site and expanding the story interactively, letting users explore the histories of the characters (including the Zulos tribe) and submit ideas for the ongoing plot development mapping out through the online eps. This show has an audience that wants to know more and will follow it wherever it leads. And there’s really only two words that proves The River deserves at least a second season – Eloise Mumford.

  30. CP says:

    This letter was very well put. I think The River has a lot more to give to the audience and needs a second season (and more). I don’t like it being compared to Lost though, because while Lost had a large following, many people made fun of it and thought it was silly overall. The River is more about horror and mysticism. I think we need to separate the two shows to make people want to try out the River and hopefully love it. I believe that anyone who likes anything on the SyFy channel would love The River.

  31. Katelynn says:

    I watched this show every Tuesday night along with my best friend. I think it is an interesting show and it always keeps me on my toes. If it does not get a second season I will be extremely upset and disappointed. #Support The River!

  32. ABC please renew The river its one of the few shows I actually enjoy watching every week the actors are fantastic Joe anderson, bruce Greenwood, Thomas Kretschmann, ect and also every part has me sitting at the edge of my seat just waiting for the next part The show is the next Lost and i think its worth a second season

  33. Craig says:

    Please do not cancel this show, ABC. ‘The River’ has a lot of Undiscovered Country left to explore.

  34. LB says:

    Please PLEASE don’t cancel The River! I barely cared what was on TV until this show!
    I even miss the shows I do like sometimes but the one time I missed The River I went right online to watch it the next day. Other than that time I’ve zealously watched it every Tuesday.

    I actually TURNED OFF SKYRIM to see it when the first episode aired. Even the best of TV has had to move aside for that game. If you can get past my gaming, you know you’re doing something right!

    It has made my Tuesdays awesome to watch The River with my sisters every week and I think it’s an amazing show. The idea is crazy awesome and I fell in love with the characters after just a couple of episodes.

    When Lincoln died in the finale I actually threw the remote and yelled “no way, not Lincoln!”
    I usually don’t take TV this seriously but I dare say this is one of the best things I’ve ever seen on television.
    I don’t care if some of the actors could use a little work, the story and the edge-of-your-seat horror makes up for it. I’m sure they’d get better with more practice. Please give it a chance!

    I really hope someone at ABC actually reads this, because we’re begging here, you guys. Please don’t listen to the haters! They’re just picky and bitter because Lost ended. Listen to the people who were hooked since day one!! Please!

  35. Heather says:

    Please renew The River.It is one of the best shows out there and deserves to come back!

  36. Sean Couture says:

    We’ve watched all 8 episodes , and thought it was great entertainment. I think there are a lot of options / plot lines left to pursue… Let’s hope the RIVER’S back for a second season!!! We love the Show!!

  37. catherine schweit says:

    but im looking foward to the next season, why would the stop it??

  38. Nick says:

    Please renew the show! I love the show, and it’s one of the only dramas I watch. I don’t want to see it die!

  39. brandy says:

    I absolutely loved the river from the beginning!! I was a HUGE fan of LOST and I must say, the river is outstanding!!! I was disappointed that it ended after only 6 episodes… and since the last, i have been searching when season 2 will start… I am dying to know what happens!!! Its like starting a good book, and then loosing it after you only finish the 4th chapter… and you start loosing your mind trying to find it cause you just HAVE to know what happens!!! when i heard about this show, i was intrigued. please, please, please, PLEASE don’t take this show away from us. it is one of the best shows i have ever seen!!! I am obsessed with the show, i want to know everything about it, i have to find out what really happened out there!!! PLEASE!!!

  40. Mari says:

    ABC would be crazy if they do not make a second season. That show was rocking and I’m on the edge for the next season.

  41. lanney peterman says:

    I love this show . I have group discussions at work every week after watching the current episode. Really hoping for a second season. Especially when shows like smallville and a few others ran as long as they had. Still have every episode on my dvr will probably leave them on till I can purchase them on DVD.

  42. vinny sarno says:

    pleas please please please please make a second season this is THE BEST SHOW I HAVE EVER WATCHED the season finale left me hanging i wana know what happens next if abc doesnt bring it back i will be devastated i looked foward to tuesday every week just for the river and not just me all of my friends love it to we all watch it together so please dont cancel it

  43. Shantel says:

    PLEASE I BEG YOU DO NOT CANCEL THE RIVER I ABSOLUTLY LOVE THAT SHOW. I WOULD BE SO UPSET IF YOU GUYS CANCEL IT. PLEASEEEEEEEEEE

  44. katie says:

    i’m absolutly obsessed with this show!!! im hoping for a second season.. i’ll be watching!!

  45. Aeon says:

    I love The River. :) I believe it needs alot more scare to it. It needs some suspense like The American horror Story.

  46. Kayla Roberts says:

    The River is such a excellent show! I do simply hope that it continue more in the future, they should not cancel it. There are so many people that I know! (for a teenager, that watches this show) that enjoy the thrilling ride of spine tingling, eyes covering show! I do believe the acting is wonderful within the show, the character know how to catch a audience weither the people or young or old it will still keep them on there sits!
    So to ABC, please do not take it off! Keeping it going the people say! We want the thrilling show!

  47. Jocelyn says:

    My son and I love this show!!! Its fantastic. Please bring it back – we’ve been waiting to see when the next episodes will air (if renewed) and cant wait.

  48. Amanda says:

    I know alot of people who watched this show! ABC needs to rethink their decision to cancel. I don’t have cable so i watch this show on Hulu, does ABC even receive the ratings from this these type of companies?

  49. Ryan says:

    This show rocked! it was very intriguing. ABC please pick this up for another season, I am dying to know what happens.

  50. Rebecca Burke says:

    PLEASE bring The River back ! This is one of the only shows that could make me jump and give me the chills ! And it’s one of my favorites; don’t cancel it !

  51. Betty says:

    One of the few shows that made me look forward to watch network tv again

  52. ash says:

    please bring it back with another season .
    i dont normally watch tv, but i love watching this. i could re watch it, and still love it.

  53. Lynn Norton says:

    “The River” is probably the best show that has been on tv for a long time. The acting is fabulous and the location eerily inviting. Please do not cancel such a well written show. The acting has to be challenging since the show is similar to a documentary and not just telling a story. The show really drew me in as if I was a participant. Please, please let us see more.

  54. Rebecca Smith says:

    I love love love love love ‘The River.’ I asked for it this Christmas when I saw that it was on dvd. If I hear about a second season I will be ecstatic! PLEASE DON’T CANCEL IT!

  55. Dillon Rufenacht says:

    The River is an amazing show that I enjoy emmensly, I watch TV alot and enjoy many programs and am always disapointed when they are not continued. However thi sis the first time I have ever felt so strongly about a program that I have written to save it. I belive this show could really take off, it just needs more advertising.
    I never saw a lot of advertising in the first place for the show. I believe that if ABC or another network were to make a second season of The River and do a little more advertising for it, the show would triple in ratings than the first season.
    At least for the people who did greatly enjoy the show, I think Netflix should do something with the show. I would greatly appreciate a return letter or any support from other fans of the show, you can reach me at dillonrufenacht@gmail.com. I would be greatly disapointed if I never find out what happens to the crew of the Magus.

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