The Wilds

TV review by
Marina Gordon, Common Sense Media
The Wilds TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Engrossing, snarky mystery has mature themes, language.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 14 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Teens and parents will appreciate the message that people can't be simply defined and put into boxes.

Positive Role Models

The girls are competitive with each other, often not overtly. They do pool their belongings and share those. Leah, the center of the show, lies about her age to sleep with an adult author. One girl, Dot, knows survival skills from watching a lot of survival TV shows. The girls come from varied backgrounds -- twin sisters are half Black, one girl is Native American, one (who dies early on) is Asian, one is of Middle Eastern descent, and one is a deeply religious Southern pageant queen.


The plane crash that starts the action isn't graphic but does convey the reactions of the girls on the plane as it descends. One girl is wounded and later dies. One girl has bulimia, and we see her making herself vomit. Another girl kills a snake and slaps it against a rock in anger and frustration.


At 17, one of the main characters, Leah, loses her virginity to an older author she admires -- and whom she told she was 18.


The girls swear frequently about their situation, their pre-crash lives, and at each other. Expect to hear "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "c--t," "bitch," and the like.


Cell phones play an important role in moving the plot forward on the island and in pre-crash life. A limited supply of Diet Coke is the girls' beverage on the island. Takis chips are a valued prize that washes up from the sea. Jarritos soda is significant to one girl's background story.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The girls find drugs (Oxycontin, e.g.) in the pilot's suitcase and dole it out for injuries. One girl sells drugs to make money to support her ill father.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Wilds is a series that's reminiscent of Lost, but all the characters are troubled teen girls. They swear (expect "f--k," "s--t," "bitch"), one of the main characters loses her virginity with an older author in the first episode, and we see one girl with bulimia make herself vomit. The plane crash scene isn't violent, but we see the girls' emotional reactions as the plane falls from the sky. Competition among the girls, their shifting allegiances, and the stories of their pasts will feel familiar to teens. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymarinarohr December 21, 2020

Unnecessary Profanity

The show has an interesting enough plot, however, it focuses too heavily on Leah's story and most of her pain and suffering is self-inflicted. She equates... Continue reading
Parent of a 8 and 17-year-old Written byAlexis W. December 19, 2020

Definitely 16+

This is a great show to binge watch but there’s a lot of profanity and references to sex, so it’s most appropriate for mature 16 year olds and older
Teen, 17 years old Written byAutumn.Smith January 1, 2021

Surprising Amount of Sex

I watched this and was surprised by all the sex scenes that weren't covered in the Common Sense Media review. Episode 4 is the most sexual in nature. A cha... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byLavendersheep20 January 4, 2021

Incredible show with mature themes, liberal swearing

This is an absolutely incredible show. It has very good positive messages, and while every character is complicated, the girls all learn to work together throug... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE WILDS, nine teen girls -- four pairs that are known to each other and one alone -- are en route to a retreat on a tropical island. The plane crashes within swimming distance of a deserted island, where they expect to be quickly rescued and imagine that their stories are all over the news. But they don't know that this "crash" was no accident, and on the island they're being closely monitored by the retreat's organizer (Rachel Griffiths, Muriel's Wedding). An operative dies shortly after the crash, but we learn that there's a second one in the group. The action is split among time on the island, flashbacks, and post-island talks with two male investigators; we gradually learn about the girls' pasts, what brought them on this trip, and how their time on the island has changed them.

Is it any good?

Arriving 16 years after Lost, the time is right for an all-teen-girl desert island melodrama that mixes adventure, emotion, and serious bonding. Viewers who hate cliches might be tempted to parachute off this ride early on, when Leah (Sarah Pidgeon), talking to investigators, says of their traumatic time on the island, "Being a teenage girl in normal-ass America? That was the real living hell." Press on, though, and The Wilds reveals its charms and its humor. Getting to know each of the girls through flashbacks and their experiences on the island deepens our appreciation of characters who could be stereotypes: the tough girl, the lesbian, the slut, the cheerleader, the brainiac, etc. Created by Sarah Streicher (Daredevil) and executive produced by Amy B. Harris (Sex and the City), The Wilds joins a long list of recent thought-provoking shows made by women that introduces viewers to fresh new talent.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about death and disaster, which are prominent themes in The Wilds. Is the show optimistic or pessimistic? Are the characters intended to be role models?

  • How do the characters on The Wilds demonstrate courage and teamwork? Why are those important character strengths?

  • Have you ever had a dangerous experience in nature? Did it change the way you felt about the natural world? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mystery TV

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