The Wilds

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

Being a teenage girl stranded on a deserted island in the middle of who-knows-where is hard. But being a teenage girl in high school is hard too. So, is there much difference?

Leah’s not so sure.

Leah entered into a sexual relationship with a much older man right as she turned 17, but he dumped her when he found out she was a minor. He wasn’t too happy about being lied to, as you can imagine, since what they did was illegal and all. But Leah doesn’t really care about any of that. She just knows that she’s in love, and now that love has been taken from her.

Her parents have no idea why she’s so miserable. But they’re hoping that a ticket to a women’s empowerment camp in Hawaii, called Dawn of Eve, will help. The camp’s supposed to help you learn about the real you. Whatever that means.

Leah’s not all that interested. She’d rather wallow in her own misery. But it doesn’t seem like she’ll get to do that much since the plane she’s on is filled with eight other high school girls with their own sets of issues. And not all of them are shy about sharing.

There’s the brash, unapologetic Dot. The sexually experienced Fatin. The closed-off Martha. The religious Texan, Shelby. The athletic lesbian, Toni. The twins: intelligent, timid Nora and overachieving Rachel. And, finally, the homeschooled, socially awkward Jeanette.

Each of these girls has their own story to tell. And when their plane crashes in the ocean, next to an uncharted island, their pasts and dark secrets slowly come to light.

But that’s not all. Not only are they learning about themselves and one another and who is fit for survival, they’re learning that they’re all connected in some way. And what they thought was just a freak accident seems more like a social experiment orchestrated by mysterious, outside forces.

And yet, only time will tell.

What Is Wild Anyway?

It seems as if Amazon Prime took a page from William Golding’s 1954 novel, Lord of the Flies, and created with it their latest TV-16 rated drama, The Wilds.

This new teen-centric show is similar to Lord of the Flies in that a group of teens find out who’s fit for survival on a deserted island. But unlike the novel, where the wilderness brought out the worst in many of the boys, this show really wants audiences to know that an island is far more civilized than high school.

As each episode is doled out, we see scenes from the past, present and future, and we learn about life from each girl’s perspective.

Some have emotionally abusive and estranged moms and dads, others have terminally ill parents. Some are wrestling with their sexuality while others stopped wrestling long ago. Still, some are figuring out what love is while others are clinging to achievements or religion to give them their sense of self-worth.

It’s a mixed bag, for sure. And it’s one that isn’t nearly as teen friendly as the previews suggest. The girls’ abnormal knowledge of survival skills are occasionally fun to watch, but they’re a small piece in this complex puzzle.

We hear heavy language frequently—so much so that some R-rated movies can’t even compete. And that only begins our list of problematic issues, which also includes drug dealing, sex, same-sex relationships, sexual discovery and violence. There’s also a really strong message here that says if you disagree with a lifestyle different from your own, you’re being hateful. Like I said, a mixed bag. The show wants to discuss social and peer pressures and does so, sometimes successfully. But most of the time we’re left with a show that’s too messy and wild for even the intended audience.

Episode Reviews

Dec. 11, 2020: “Day One”

A group of teenage girls crash on a deserted island on their way to a mysterious empowerment retreat in Hawaii. 

One teenage girl flips a table out of anger while another makes it clear that she’s an avid hunter and has no issue using violence when necessary. A teenage girl suffers from internal bleeding, vomits blood and eventually dies. A few other girls try to tend to their scars, cuts and bruises.

Leah lies to an older man, telling him she’s not a minor. The two have sex (we see her bare shoulders and him shirtless as the two kiss in bed). Later, the man finds out that Leah lied to him about her age, and he cuts off communication. A group of teen girls play a game where they share life experiences. They discuss sexual pressures, virginity, how many people they’ve slept with and orgies. A few girls wear cleavage-baring tops.

A teenage girl says that she’s an ordained minister, prays often to Jesus and tells her friends that she believes God will provide. One girl mentions that she’s thrown her own urine and feces at others out of anger. A man drinks hard alcohol and sends a drunk, sexually provocative text to a minor. A group of teens drink hard liquor. A teenage girl smokes a cigarette.

God’s name is misused five times, once paired with “d–n.” The f-word is heard more than 20 times and the s-word, 10 times. Other profanities include “b–ch,” “h—,” “d—king” and “a–.” 

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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