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On The Tube

Feb 2, 2012
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By Dean Robbins

‘The River’ discovers unnatural phenomena in the Amazon

“The River” (Tuesday, 8 p.m., ABC) is a new series that crosses “Heart of Darkness” with “The Blair Witch Project,” to good effect. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) was beloved for his TV nature series, in which he explored the world with his perfect family — son Lincoln (Joe Anderson) and wife Tess (Leslie Hope). As “The River” begins, Emmet is presumed dead in the Amazon, and Tess drags a reluctant Lincoln and a camera crew out in search of him. As they travel up river, they discover that Emmet was involved in some scary supernatural stuff, courtesy of the native tribes.

As in “Blair Witch,” the footage we see is purportedly captured by the camera crew. This conceit strains credulity, but also allows for some spooky sequences of ghostly phenomena shot from a limited P.O.V. Lincoln, for one, starts to have grave reservations,pleading with his mom, “Let’s go home!”

But mom wants to stick it out. And frankly, so do I.

‘Secrets of Eden’

Saturday, 7 p.m. (Lifetime)

Lifetime has a knack for TV-movie murder mysteries. In “Secrets of Eden,” a small-town detective (Anna Gunn) investigates a murder-suicide involving an abusive husband and his beautiful wife. The wife had recently been baptized by the town’s suspiciously good-looking pastor (John Stamos). Hmmm.

True, other suspects abound. But would the insanely sexy Stamos — in tight clothes and a $400 haircut — really have been chosen to play a holy man unless he were up to something unholy?

Either Stamos is guilty of something, or the Lifetime casting director has taken leave of her senses. CV

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