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"The Wilds" review: Stranded on an island? Whatever. Just try being a teenage girl (spoiler-free)


Leah has her head buried in a book. Fatin's makeup is perfect. Martha is worried about her best friend, Toni, who seems increasingly angry. Nora is quiet. Her athletic sister, Rachel, is diligently measuring her food on an app that makes her iPhone double as a scale. Shelby is blonde and sunny. Dot is confrontational. Jeanette doesn't know when to stop talking.

All of them are sitting in a chartered plane en route to Hawaii to attend a young women's empowerment retreat — The Dawn of Eve — over a long weekend.

The plane takes off, things don't go as planned, and these caricatures — purposefully crafted to hit the stereotypical marks of every teen show ever — are about to become the most compelling teenage girl characters seen in a genre TV program since "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Lord of the Flies Gets a Girl Power Makeover in The Wilds


Even better, The Wilds is the rare streaming series that earns its length. With each successive episode, its characters grow more finely shaded, with Lost-esque backstories filling in the blanks of who each one was before they arrived on the island. Gradually, they stop being stereotypes; gradually, we realize that The Wilds is more character study than puzzle box, even as it careens toward a cliffhanger ending Damon Lindelof would give his seal of approval.

'The Wilds' Review: No Spoilers, But Amazon's Teen Girl Take on 'Lost' Is an Addictive Ride


This is going to be a short review because The Wilds is a very hard show to talk about without getting into spoiler territory — and trust me, you don't want to be spoiled for anything that happens. The pacing of the big reveals is one of the first season's strongest attributes, with plenty of unexpected surprises that go well beyond what you might expect — no spoilers, but the way that the show plays with its multiple timeframes is downright masterful at times. Sometimes the twists might feel on the verge of over-the-top, but there's rarely a lack of clarity as to when a certain scene is taking place, and the structure delivers some real gut-punches thanks to savvy editing.

Hear the call of ‘The Wilds,’ a deeply involving soap about teen girls on their own


What’s so impressive about “The Wilds” is how creator Sarah Streicher (“Daredevil”) and the deeply talented young cast members immerse us in this world so quickly and create an almost instant interest and empathy for these eight teenage girls, who on the surface seem to represent various archetypes — the Olympic hopeful, the antisocial bookworm, the quick intense lesbian, the Texas pageant princess, etc. — but turn out to be so much more than what their Instagram bios say.


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Good article here, I already quoted it in the finale thread, but thought I'd put it here as well.

It brought up a couple of things I missed, and has some interesting speculation.


Where The Wilds stands apart from both Lost and Pretty Little Liars, though, is in how willing it is to dispense with the manipulative hyper-cleverness that bogs down so many puzzle-box narratives. (As Kellie Herson explains in her exceptionally sharp dissection of the puzzle-box trend that seemed to take television over in the late 2010s, puzzle-box shows work best “when they try to grapple with mortality and morality and trauma rather than whether fuck-robots have consciousness or what fictional symbols mean.”) Gone, then, is Lost’s weird mysticism; gone, PLL’s anarchic word games and strategically trained exotic birds. In their place? Nuanced investigations into the complex real-world traumas the girls left behind when they got on the puzzle-box plane, and a seemingly genuine desire on the part of creator Sarah Streicher and the writers to give the viewer as many answers as possible, as soon as those answers will make sense.


The article mentioned is here:  https://theoutline.com/post/7242/puzzle-box-television-shows-westworld-true-detective-the-good-place?zd=1&zi=2szxgzt5

Edited by Umbelina
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At first, the cheesy dialogue and ludicrous set-up of Amazon Prime’s “The Wilds” threw me for a loop. After all, this is a show with an elevator pitch that could basically be reduced to “Young Adult 'LOST' with Teenage Girls,” which sounds inherently ridiculous. And dialogue like “Being a teenage girl in normal ass America—that was the real living Hell” doesn’t help at the beginning. Or maybe it does? It may take you a minute to get on the groove of a show that features an unironic a cappella version of a Pink song after a character dies, but you will enjoy “The Wilds” if you can find its wavelength. And it's a smarter wavelength than it first appears. There’s something incredibly (and increasingly in each episode) watchable about this twisting, silly show that anchors its B-movie charms in truthful, heartfelt characters and performances. It’s a bit rocky sometimes in its midsection when it comes to pacing and the entire ensemble isn’t exactly equal, but I was pretty much hooked by the second episode, and actually changed my schedule because I was so curious to see how it ended.

Ditto dude.  I was expecting nothing, and then hooked, binged the whole thing until dawn.



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‘The Wilds’: Nicholas Coombe, Alex Fitzalan Among Eight Joining Season 2 Cast


The Wilds in Season 2 will continue to follow the harrowing ordeal of eight teenage girls stranded on a deserted island under mysterious circumstances. The new season will also focus on a new group of survivors, all boys, who find themselves in the same perilous situation. Both groups will be forced to navigate emotional and physical obstacles in the face of their extreme circumstances.


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If this were a typical network show, with 16-20 episodes per season, then introducing the boys at the end of the first season would make sense.  They'd have enough time in the 2nd season to wrap up the girls' stories and interweave the boys' stories at the same time.  But with only 10 episodes one side is going to get the short stick.  And my guess is it's the girls. 

This is a shame - it was an interesting, different premise for a show.  It was decently written, not perfect, but decent.  But there are a lot of plot holes that will probably never get plugged now that there's a whole new plot line.  Sort of like Lost - introduce something quirky, as if it will be explained later on, and then never ever go back to it because you found something shiny and new to concentrate on. 



Edited by chaifan
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I'll definitely still watch next season, but I can't help that feel like they shot themselves in the foot by adding the boys. The fact that I couldn't find a single positive quote tweet on their announcement is a bad sign (comments on that announcement tweet are also mostly negative). This is a series that found success mostly because of loyal audience engagement on social media (check out the show's campaign strategy), so having that audience turn on the show must hurt.

The writers could surprise us, though. I guess we'll find out...

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There seem to be so few shows focused on young women surviving anything other than fighting mean girls at school or being sexually assaulted that this show was such a breath of fresh air. Yes, one of them had been sexually assaulted, and another had some creepy "romance" with an older man, but that was just background to showing young women coming into power when left on their own. 

I just don't know what adding the boys island adds to the show. They will either do worse than the girls (which, to me, feels like pandering to the female audience), better than the girls (which would totally trash the strong female empowerment message of the show, or as well as the girls which, what would be the point then? 

I think the show really shot itself in the foot when it came up with the whole experiment aspect of the show. Not that it was an experiment, that could have worked, but the whole purpose behind it just seems off. I kind of liked the show best when it was just about a group of girls stuck on an island who had to learn to come together to survive. 

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I'm ok with there being the same "experiment" with boys on another island.  After all, there would have to be a control group.  So I didn't mind the final episode revealing that.  But I don't like that it appears that the boys' plot line will be given equal time as the girls, if not more.  (This is just speculation based on the promotion the new male cast members are getting.)  I'd rather just know the parallel experiment exists, and keep the show focused on the girls. 

I will probably go ahead and tune in whenever this gets back on air, but I'm not optimistic that it will hold me as a viewer for the remainder of the season if the attention shifts to the boys' experiment.

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2 minutes ago, peachmangosteen said:

So it looks like we’re gonna get the same thing we got in season 1 with the girls with the boys. I’m really not interested lol. 

Same. As soon as I saw the pics of the boys I lost interest. Truth be told, I've mostly forgotten about the show. I remember it vaguely but not in that "OMG I can't wait to see what happens next" kind of way. I'm kind of curious what happens with the girls but I've no interest in the boys at all so I will probably read about the season before deciding if I'll watch it. If it's mostly the girls' story I'll go for it, but if it's a retread of the girls' time on the island only with boys this time, and if the shows focus is the stupid experiment rather than the characters I am probably out. 

I just wish I was more excited about it because, until the Boys Island reveal I was really into this show. 

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I am really glad we have a return date. I don't mind some of boys island as long as we still get a lot of focus on the girls, there is so much left to tell, both on the island before they get rescued and after they get rescued. I don't want to just move away from them.

If the boys are well-written characters it could be okay seeing if they actually perform worse than the girls. Whats-her-name running the experiment may have a meltdown if they perform well.

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Haha, they are. They're not super spoilery. The first says, "In Season 2, every aspect I loved about Season 1 is amplified. The teen drama feels real, the survival is gripping, and the plot both pays off the previous cliffhanger and sets up an equally intriguing one. Then there’s the big selling point: This season has boys, who are stranded on a different island as a 'control group' for the experiment."

The second says, "Not only are the boys' flashback stories not as emotionally resonant or incisive as the girls', but there isn't enough real estate for all the boys to get their own stories to tell, which leaves us to figure out what makes some of them tick from their puzzling interactions on the island alone."

It feels like the reviewers are watching different shows:

The Wilds season 2 review: Let's hear it for the boys!

"Dropping eight new characters into an already sprawling ensemble is a bold move, but just as it did in season 1, The Wilds — which, it should be noted, premiered 11 months before Showtime's plane-crash thriller Yellowjackets — draws multiple narrative threads into a taut and twisty rope that pulls viewers along."

'The Wilds' Season 2 Review: A Directionless Sophomore Slump Loses Sight of What Made the First Season Excel

"There was the initial hope that these boys would serve as some sort of foil to the group we had known, creating an interesting juxtaposition that better fleshed out the characters by comparison. While there are hints that this was possibly what was intended, it ends up completely missing the mark. Instead, these new characters go through all the same motions as what we had already seen done before."

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