Parents' Guide to

Wild Wild Country

By Mark Dolan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Superb docu explores religious freedom, cults, xenophobia.

TV Netflix Drama 2018
Wild Wild Country Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 13+

Educational and Slightly Provocative, Relatively Unbiased Historical Documentary

This docu-series centers on the rise and fall of a religious meditation cult-of-personality in the 1970s and 80s in Oregon, USA. While some positive messages can be found in exposure to different cultures and belief systems, the predominant value of this documentary is its historical, education accuracy using real footage and interviews from members on both sides of the conflict that arises. This series is a great segue into teaching older teens about other belief systems, racism in America, acceptance of others, wariness of cults, helping the homeless and mentally ill, and many other educational talks. While no truly frightening imagery is shown, there are some shocking scenes featuring nudity, group sex, brainwashing, hyperventilation, wild dancing/trashing around, etc. in traditional hippie fashion. Drug use, sex, open marriage, and similar topics are frequently touched on. Plots to assasinate government officials, murder cult members, and poison community members (foodborne illness) are discussed as well. Shooting of guns at targets and the brandishing of weapons are shown some as well. Some strong language is used, most notable being "tough titties". There are also some positive, albeit misdirected, messages on feminism that can be taken away from this series. Though often surrounding questionable action such as conning or causing harm to others, many of the women shown in the series are seen as equal to men. They show that women can handle large management projects, direct others efficiently, and overcome lifelong abuse. Great watch for history-minded younger teens and up, but may send confusing messages without proper parental guidance and explanations.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 18+

Fully engrossing, very mature given subject matter

This six part documentary follows the rise and fall of a 1970’s cult in rural Oregon. It’s primarily made up of real footage and interviews with those involved. While the violence shown is fairly minimal, the interviewees share plenty of stories and instances of real violence. There are scenes of graphic nudity throughout. Though the quality is low due to the technology they were filming with, they are present and sometimes quite frightening. Overall the film goes to some very dark places with no holds are barred, which makes it an incredibly compelling ride; but, not one for children

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Engrossing and thought-provoking, this series turns the bizarre tale of an Indian guru and his followers emigrating to rural Oregon into a fascinating study of xenophobia and religious devotion. Wild Wild Country has enough betrayals, secret plots, and power struggles to satisfy the most ardent Shakespeare fan or thriller lover.

Among those interviewed, the most captivating is Sheela, the Bhagwan's personal secretary. Smart, devoted, and no one's fool, she's the driving force behind the story and is such a complex character it's impossible to not hang on her every word. Her straightforward, unapologetic and often profanity-laden manner of speaking is always delivered with a charismatic smile -- it's clear why she was put in charge and so well loved by the Bhagwan and his followers. As the story progresses and her leadership practices get more and more questionable, the audience is left to wonder what drives Sheela more: her religious devotion or her need for power. Like other great documentaries, Wild Wild Country doesn't provide easy answers and allows viewers to draw their own conclusions.

TV Details

  • Premiere date: March 16, 2018
  • Network: Netflix
  • Genre: Drama
  • TV rating: TV-MA
  • Last updated: February 18, 2023

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