Wild at Heart

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Wild at Heart TV Poster Image
UK family drama features tense animal encounters.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

A newly blended family struggles for cohesion. Both parents are devoted to creating a positive atmosphere for their kids, but the difficulties wear on them at times, and the dad especially shows frustration. In one scene, a boy takes a tranquilizer gun to school to wield at bullies who are tormenting him, and he suffers nearly no repercussions. A teenage girl makes an obscene hand gesture at her stepmom.

Violence

The series centers on an animal hospital, so scenes of injured, bloody animals are common. Guns are also prevalent: Adults carry shotguns for protection in the wild, and the veterinarian uses a tranquilizer gun to sedate animals. In one scene, a boy draws a tranquilizer gun on bullies at school; in another, he shoots at hyenas killing a monkey.

Sex

In one scene, a woman tells a man that hunting wild animals implies that he's compensating for a small penis.

Language

"Hell," "ass," and "s--t" (unbleeped) are used intermittently.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A supporting character often drinks alcohol and beer at the end of the day.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this British show's adult characters often carry shotguns for protection from wild animals, and hunters occasionally shoot and kill wildlife for sport. A veterinarian uses a tranquilizer gun to sedate injured animals from afar, and their injuries (bone breaks, puncture wounds, etc.) are shown up close. A young boy also uses the weapons -- in one case, he opens fire on hyenas that are trying to kill a monkey; in another, he draws a tranquilizer gun on school bullies. The parents' attempts to create harmony in a newly blended family is an ongoing theme of the series. Violence and tense encounters with wild animals make this one iffy for young tweens.

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What's the story?

Newlyweds Danny (Stephen Tompkinson) and Sarah (Amanda Holden) Trevanion live in Bristol, where he has a successful (but slightly unfulfilling) veterinary practice and she's helping their three kids ease into their new, blended family life. Danny's teenage daughter, Rosie (Lucy-Jo Hudson), is still sorting out her emotions after her own mom's death, while Sarah's son, Evan (Luke Ward-Wilkinson), has troubles with bullies, and his younger sister, Olivia (Rafaella Hutchinson), just wants a balanced, happy life. When Evan's difficulties at school escalate, Danny and Sarah don't how to reach out to him -- but Evan finds a friend in an African monkey that Danny is nursing back to health. Danny and Sarah decide a trip to Africa might be just the thing for their struggling family -- as well as the rehabilitated monkey, who hopefully can adapt to life in the wild.

Is it any good?

Suddenly these city slickers must adjust to life where the wild things are. Filled with emotional family drama and some tense encounters with wildlife, WILD AT HEART will appeal to adults and possibly teens (though some may find the storyline a bit far-fetched for their taste). But be wary of sharing it with young tweens and littler kids: Guns are prevalent (even Evan uses one occasionally), animals' injuries are shown up close, and the family's tension might be too much for them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about guns and gun violence. Teens: What are your feelings about gun ownership? What are the pros and cons of allowing citizens to have guns? Does your family own firearms? Who has access to them? Do you feel safer or less safe with them around? How does the media affect your feelings on this issue? Does TV violence help create a violent society? Families can also discuss the Trevanions' attempts to blend their family -- is this a realistic depiction of stepfamilies?

TV details

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