Life Is Wild

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Life Is Wild TV Poster Image
Blended-family show mixes drama and nature.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

A rebellious teen steals, drinks alcohol, gets arrested, and acts disrespectfully toward his mother and stepfather, but his relationships with them slowly improve as they begin to understand one another. A blended family struggles to find common ground.


On the game reserve, adults often carry guns for protection. In one scene, a man shoots a lioness with a tranquilizer gun. Run-ins with wildlife are suspenseful. The occasional fistfight may draw a little blood; veterinary scenes are occasionally bloody as well. Parents bicker/argue.


Some mild teen flirting, which leads to a couple of kisses. A few somewhat skimpy swimsuits.


Fairly infrequent use of words like "bitch," "ass," "hell," and "damn." Other language includes "loser," "freak," "piss up a rope," and "sucks."


Cell phone use among teens; Katie and Jesse envy Oliver and Emily's posher lifestyle.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One adult character is shown drinking, and it's implied that he's a heavy drinker (though drunkenness isn't obvious in his actions). Jesse sneaks sips of alcohol and, in one scene, steals a bottle of it, with no obvious consequences. He and Oliver go drinking (off-screen). Phrases like "crack high" and "acid-flash crazy" are used sarcastically in response to off-the-wall ideas.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this drama about a blended family's struggle to find common ground in unexpected circumstances isn't a typical primetime teen soap. Even though two of the central characters are teens -- so flirting and rebellious behavior are par for the course -- they're a lot more like real kids than the over-the-top characters on shows like The O.C. and Gossip Girl. Expect to see some teen drinking (which, at least initially, occurs without consequences) and sarcastic and/or angry exchanges with parents (some of which include words like "hell," "bitch," and ass"). Note that the show takes place in South Africa, which means beautiful scenery, inspiring background music ... and some tense wildlife encounters (adult characters carry guns for protection), which could upset young viewers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymzkat7 April 9, 2008

I thought this would be a good family show

This is all about drinking, sex, and interracial relationships. So if that is what your into, this is the show for you.
Teen, 13 years old Written bypeapod1 April 9, 2008


How could no one watch this show. When it was cancelled I cried.
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

I Love This Show!!!

I love the African Culture in this show!

What's the story?

LIFE IS WILD (adapted from the British show Wild at Heart) follows a blended family's struggles to embrace one another and their new home. Veterinarian Danny Clarke (D.W. Moffett), decides to uproot his family from New York and transplant them to the wilds of South Africa for a year. Danny is thrilled to be working with the native wildlife instead of spoiled Manhattan pets, and he and his wife, Jo (Stephanie Niznik), hope the change will bring their four kids some sense of family unity. But that's easier said than done for the constantly bickering teens Katie Clarke (Leah Pipes) and her stepbrother Jesse (Andrew St. John) and their younger siblings: Jo's daughter, Mia (Mary Matilyn Mouser), and Danny's son, Chase (K'sun Ray).

Is it any good?

Life Is Wild is an endearing drama about the struggles to blend two families. Its setting in the wilds of South Africa gives it an aesthetically beautiful quality, and the native background music and wildlife footage are a real treats for viewers. But it's not quite a "fun for all ages" family show. Jesse's rebellious nature leads him to disobey and disrespect his parents, drink, and steal. Guns are prevalent (although they're intended for protection from dangerous wild animals), there's some teen flirting, and language can be strong on occasion ("damn," "bitch," etc.). Last but not least are some suspenseful wildlife-encounter scenes that may be too much for younger viewers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether this show is more realistic than other primetime shows featuring teen characters. Why or why not? Do you think the kids on the show behave in ways that real teens might? What consequences would there be for that behavior in the real world (particularly drinking)? Why do you think some of those consequences aren't shown here? Families can also discuss the challenges of combining two families. What struggles do the Clarkes have to overcome? How are they addressing them? And, for fun, how do you think you'd react to moving halfway around the world? Would it be scary or an exciting adventure? If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

TV details

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