Episode 1 -| Review Score – 1.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 2/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 2/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Over the years we’ve had many great strong females on the big and small screen. From teenage vampire hunter Buffy to Xena Warrior Princess and Ellen Ripley, these hardened ladies began what’s eventually led to a cultural movement across the globe. This past decade, there’s been more inclusive TV shows than ever before, offering equal opportunities to women and ethnic minorities.
It’s a fantastic step forward for the industry, something certainly welcome to shake up what can sometimes feel like a stagnant world of media – at least in the West anyway.
The Wilds then is the latest Amazon Original Series, intent on blazing the way for women everywhere to feel empowered as a group of troubled female teenagers find themselves stranded on an island alone.
Between flashbacks, flash forwards and melodramatic teen drama in the present, the foundations are certainly here to deliver one of the better shows of 2020 but unfortunately the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
It’s difficult to write this review without spoiling parts of the story, especially given The Wilds does a pretty good job of sabotaging itself within the first 180 seconds of screen time.
The story essentially splits itself across two adjacent timelines. The first, follows our group of girls as they wash up on a desert island with little resources and in desperate need of refuge.
The other timeline takes place after the events on the island, as each of the survivors are interviewed about their experience and how they made it back alive.
The problem with this set-up comes from the distinct lack of tension that breeds from these island moments when we cut back after the interviews. Any instance of danger or tension within the group is immediately written off as we know they survive and come away unscathed.
To make matters worse, The Wilds makes the grave mistake of telling rather than showing us what’s going on. The various interviews conducted in the future begin with a crowbarred background of each character, including where they live, their age and hobbies. If that wasn’t enough, we also get flashbacks to key moments in each of their lives to reinforce what we’ve just heard.
To be fair though, the flashbacks are actually quite good and bring to light some really important and thought provoking issues that females tackle. It’s a great idea and given this show is geared exclusively for females, I do wish the show creators leaned into these issues a bit more, pushing this series from YA territory into something a lot more sombre and heavy hitting.
The story across the 10 episodes takes a pretty familiar format, as we see the survivors trying to make it to the aforementioned other timeline off the island. Unfortunately the series ends on a couple of big cliffhangers before we reach that point, leaving many questions unanswered and even a few plot holes too.
Some of this would be forgivable if the characters were likable and well written. For the most part, a lot of these characters begin their journey as self-entitled and completely out their depth – with the exception of Nora and Dot.
Whether by design or not, as the season progresses and we get to know the different girls more a couple of others start to shine and stand out. Martha and Shelby are two of the more interesting characters in the show but don’t really get a chance to shine until late on in the series.
The Wilds is one of those shows that does improve as it goes along but that’s really not difficult after a pretty disastrous pilot episode.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of this show though is just how easy this will be to write off as “Lost but with females”. Something that could have blinded that thought out and shone as a beacon of female empowerment instead dims into a formulaic, sloppily writing series that leaves multiple threads dangling by season’s end.
If you enjoyed The Walking Dead: World Beyond, chances are you’ll like The Wilds too. You need to seriously suspend your belief with this one and there’s little here that hasn’t been done better and more effective elsewhere. The Wilds sets a wildly low bar for writing quality that leaves the possibility of a second season wholly dependent on how many people stick with this one to the end.