THE PARANORMALS: THE RIVER vs. ALCATRAZ
The River (ABC - Premieres February 7 @ 9 p.m.)
Coming from the lord of all jungle-based endeavors (Steven Spielberg), and the horror-pacing mastermind behind the Paranormal Activity films (Oren Peli); The River tells the story of world renowned explorer Dr. Emmet Cole (Star Trek’s Bruce Greenwood, channeling the late Steve Irwin), who goes missing aboard his ship in the Amazon basin. Coaxed by a TV network into investigating a rescue beacon that goes off six months after his disappearance, Emmet’s wife and son head into the midst to discover Emmet had been toying with things that are far worse than man-eating anacondas or venomous spiders. Shot in the style of a documentary movie, we are forced into a world of historic exploration, South American myth and enough creepy occurrences to keep your skin crawling for hours. The addition of interlaced clips of film, both from the “lost six months,” and from years past on Emmet’s TV show gives viewers an intriguing view of how the world of this seemingly perfect family could go so deadly wrong. Remember: if you go looking for the unknown, you may not like what you find…you know, unless it’s the captivating Eloise Mumford as Lena.
Verdict: Potential to Succeed, but no ratings until next week’s premiere.
Alcatraz (FOX - Monday @ 9 p.m.)
From the moment we hear Emerson Hauser (Jurassic Park’s Sam Neill) utter his opening monologue about the historic prison outside of San Francisco, you are drawn into a web of interconnected enigmas of what happened in a fictional 1963. A great mystery story that brings together a relative newcomer (series lead Sarah Jones), a fan favorite (LOST’s Jorge Garcia), and a disturbing intellectual (Niell); Alcatraz succeeds in its mission of combining a villain-of-the-hour show. The paranormal aspect is omnipresent, with the blatant question of how this occurrence is happening and who is behind it. With over 300 people disappearing in one night, we are left with enough potential storylines for at least 10 seasons. That being said, if the ratings hold at their current values, we may have to wait a while before getting more background on this.
Verdict: Potential to Succeed if enough paranormal hints are dropped to avoid becoming NCIS: San Fran.