ABC’s The River – which looks like an attempt to recapture the magic of Lost – premieres tonight, February 7. Though less a puzzle box (ala J.J. Abrams) and more of a jump scare-centric piece, Paranormal Activity‘s Oren Peli is the big name on the project as its creator. The show follows a family looking for their famous explorer father, and ends up on the Amazon looking for his lost vessel. Check out the preview featurette…

It looks like ABC spent some money on this one. Though it stars working actors with Bruce Greenwood the most notable – though I like Joe Anderson and thought he gave a good supporting performance in The Crazies – they shot it in Hawaii, and there’s been a lot of ads. As a show that seems to hinge on a concept, they want eyes on this tonight.

ABC should see a good showing for the pilot, but they’re going to have to keep people’s attention, and hopefully they’ve got a good hook. What they want is for this to be a water cooler show, something that people talk about (or to use the more modern parlance – twitter about) right out of the gate. IMDb lists seven episodes shot, so this is likely expensive enough that if it doesn’t work they’ll pull the plug quickly. Network television is going through one of its roughest patches as cable and streaming video have fundamentally changed how people watch TV, so they’ve got a reason to be nervous. We’ll see if the hits or misses shortly.

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