Let’s Get Reel: The Wilds

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The cast of The Wilds. Photo Courtesy of Amazon.

Amanda Wampler '24, Associate-Co-Managing Editor

In December 2020, a new show premiered on Amazon Prime called The Wilds, which follows a group of teenage girls who are stranded on an island after a plane crash. At first glance, this may seem like an overdone trope with nothing left to offer, but The Wilds offers a fresh perspective with a diverse group of women portrayed through the female gaze.

For anyone unfamiliar with the terms “male gaze” and “female gaze,” these terms describe the way women are written in movies and television. Writers who use the male gaze portray women through the eyes of men, while writers who use the female gaze portray women through the eyes of women. According to Medium.com, “If the male gaze is all about what men see, then the female gaze is about making the audience feel what women see and experience.”

As inconsequential as it may seem, the way writers portray female characters can change the entire dynamic of a show. As a show written for and about teenage girls, The Wilds does especially well at portraying the female characters in a way that other young girls can relate to. Each of the eight girls has a dynamic, relatable story to be told, and the writers tell their stories so eloquently.

The show also takes time to explore many issues that teen girls face: discovering one’s sexuality, parental pressure, sexual assault, romantic relationships, unattainable beauty standards, and so much more. These stories are told in a series of flashbacks as each episode of the show explores one of the characters more in-depth. Even while exploring those heavy topics, the show manages to keep a fast pace as action unfolds on the island.

The plane crash was not everything that it initially seemed. As the girls try to piece together what happened, many conflicts occur on the island, like internal issues, fighting with the other girls, and natural threats. As the story jumps back and forth from the girls’ past before the plane crash, their time on the island, and their fragmented story after the island, it was impossible not to be entertained. I ended up watching The Wilds in just one night, binging all 10, 1-hour long episodes. 

There is a lot to love about this show. This show provides not only action and entertainment but also makes a great example of what writers and producers should strive for when writing about young-adult women. The Wilds feels like it could be the start of a new era of young-adult television and movies.