Tag Archives: tv review

The Wilds, Episode One: A Review

The Wilds created by Sarah Streicher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wilds on Amazon Prime follows nine girls who are stranded on an island after their private jet crashes on their way to a female empowerment retreat. The first episode opens with an interview by law enforcement of one of the girls, Leah, presumably after they have been rescued. Through a montage and quick introduction of the characters, we learn the basics of each girl’s past.

We have Toni and Martha from Minnesota. Martha is an Indigenous person who is shy and has never been in a relationship. Toni is loud and violently opinionated, something that apparently got her kicked off the basketball team. Dot and Shelby are from Texas. They are described as Dot, the girl who wears cargo pants, and Shelby, the pageant girl who constantly talks about Jesus. Rachel and Nora are sisters from New York. Rachel is a swim athlete and Nora is observant but anxious, who stays in her sister’s shadow. Jeanette is from San Francisco and helps her parents in their restaurant. And Fatin and Leah come from the same school, but Fatin has a bit of a bad reputation and Leah has no reputation at all.

The first episode follows Leah’s perspective from the events leading up to her going on this trip. She gets involved with an older man and lies about her age. It doesn’t end well, and when she spirals into depression, her parents decide to send her to this retreat. Since it is coming from her point of view, it is very angsty and overexaggerated. Everything is the end of the world. She makes a comment about how the island definitely gave her trauma, but she was already living in hell before she boarded the plane.

Like I said, very angsty.

Towards the end of the episode (which this is in the trailer, so no spoiler), it is revealed that the organization who does the retreat actually orchestrated the plane crash. The girls are being monitored the whole time (and from the trailer, we know that their parents are in on it, too).

I plan to keep watching it, but I hope that it lets up on the teen angst comments just a bit. I assume that each girl’s story will be revealed with the following episodes, and I’m just intrigued enough with this organization to keep watching.

It starts by issuing the warnings of profanity, sexuality, violence and drug use, so be forewarned. There is profanity. Sexual content includes an adult/minor sexual relationship with love scene in bed, though no nudity. There is a death that happens in the first episode as well. There are also injuries from the plane crash.

Sweet Magnolias: A Review

Sweet Magnolias created by Sheryl Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first impression of the first episode was that this story was quite saccharine-sweet.  And that first impression maintains its accuracy throughout the season.  It takes place in a Southern, fictional town of Serenity and follows the lives of three women who have been friends since high school. 

They want to start a spa together in a mansion that they apparently spent a lot of time in when they were kids.  And I thought the building of said spa was going to be the main focus of the first season.  But as the show continued, the spa became somewhat of an afterthought.

The main focus of the show really were the relationships, between the three women as well as their children, community, and love interests.  There were a couple of love triangles that didn’t feel fully developed.  And sometimes the chemistry also came across as awkward. Also, I don’t know where to fit this, but the accents are all over the place. They are southern accents, but from various regions which is strange since they are all supposed to be from this one town.

In a nutshell, this is an easy, “turn your brain off” kind of show. The conversations, even the more deeper ones are not very long or detailed, even feeling glossed over at times. Plot points are either resolved quickly or ignored for several episodes, only to be mentioned again in the laundry list of drama that they are having to deal with. But in their defense, there seems to be a lot of ground to cover before the cliffhanger at the end. We have to understand how we get to that point, and that means a lot of rushed drama and quick resolutions.

I felt at times like I didn’t know the characters well enough to understand why certain things bothered them or why their reactions were so strong. I know this is based on a book series, so I feel like I’m missing chunks of their motivations because I haven’t read the books. But they will mention something to a character, but then there is no follow up until several episodes later when they dissolve a relationship over that thing that they haven’t really mentioned more than a couple times.

There is profanity throughout the show, usually followed by an apology for the language, and meant to give the speaker either strength or sass.  Sexual content includes several kissing scenes as well as one sex scene that is not graphic at all.  Violence includes some fist fights, some almost assaults, but no one is severely hurt.  There is underage drinking and bullying among the kids which is sort of addressed, again like most of the drama.

But all of those issues aside, I still gave it four stars because it is a nice escape from reality.  Serenity is just one of those places that you can just go with the flow.  The drama is muted, most of the conflict is resolved with ease and cliché.  And the humor is just the right amount of eye-rolling corny that I like.  Big warning, the season ends with a huge cliffhanger, and I’m not sure there will be a second season any time soon (thanks, coronavirus).