When famous explorer Emmet Cole disappears while seeking the secret of magic in the Amazon, his family decides to take a cruise up the Amazon River and find him in ABC’s 2012 found-footage series The River, which had none other than Steven Spielberg and Paranormal Activity creator Orel Peli attached. The series featured angry tribes, cannibalistic zombies, mystical curses and malevolent spirits, but was missing one important thing — the secret of how to bring viewers in and get them to actually watch the series. The premiere had OK ratings, but everything after got sucked into a viewer-less whirlpool.
While we knew something obviously terrible happened to those who left the “documentary” footage recovered from the USS Magus, we don’t ever find out exactly what. They rescue Emmet and appear to make their escape from the Amazon, only to stand there slack-jawed and powerless as the spirit of the Amazon, the Boiuna, traps them by shifting the very landscape and river itself, leaving them right back in the middle of nowhere, with no bars on their phones. “Can you hear me now?” No one ever does.
While Netflix toyed with continuing the series, in the end it opted not to go down with the ship. Neither did anyone else, which is why the series ended up sunk after just eight episodes. Dry dock never sounded so good.