Take Me To ‘The River’

If it got a fraction as much hype from its network as “Smash” did from NBC, you’d know that “The River” (ABC, 9 p.m.) is the second great broadcast offering in as many days (and the second with Steven Spielberg’s name on it).

It’s a modern day “Heart of Darkness”/”Apocalypse Now” in which a TV naturist goes lost while out on the Amazon and his wife and son retrace his steps and try to find him. There’s a creepiness from the beginning thanks to Oren Pell, who adds the same kind of kinetic jolt that are the mainstay of his “Paranormal Activity” films.

“The River” is also a good commentary on reality TV, and a mix of different kind of footage – from jittery video, to film to staticky security cameras.

Bruce Greenwood is the missing TV host; Leslie Hope, still recalled from her first season on “24” as Jack Bauer’s wife, is a good choice as a wife with some underlying baggage; Jon Anderson is even better as the son who is skeptical about going back up the river. The action stays pretty taut in the beginning, with the kind of atmospheric dangers that will look at first like new work for the old Smoke Monster from “Lost.”

“The River” gets its start with a two-hour pilot.

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