I feel as though there’s an untapped market in the YouTube/TikTok community for making fun of trailers or network promos that have nothing to do with the actual series/films they’re supposed to be selling. I know that very occasionally, it’s justified because there’s a twist that’s not to be given away, but honestly, if your show is new and exciting based on that twist, hadn’t you better put it right up front?
The series synopsis for The Wilds, Amazon’s first Y.A. drama, reads:
"Part survival drama, part dystopian slumber party, The Wilds follows a group of teen girls from different backgrounds who must fight for survival after a plane crash strands them on a deserted island," per this ‘first look’ in Entertainment Weekly.
That description already sets my teeth on edge, but before you take my word for it, here’s the trailer:
You get it, right? You would have to be asleep not to get it. Plane crash, teen girls, “being a teenage girl… that was the real living hell”. Even if you’ve never considered selling a scripted product in your life, you know the concept of the ‘X meets Y’ description, right? I bet I could explain that to a bunch of eleven-year-olds and they’d correctly come up with what must have been the pitch for this series, “LOST meets Pretty Little Liars.” Which—both those shows were fine, but do we need more of them? (EW even adds to the shade: the first link in the ‘Related Stories’ section is “12 shows that tried (and failed) to be the next LOST.” Damn.
But then, in the last few seconds, we meet some thoughtful but unconcerned parents, who “feel guilty that we lied to her” and a reassuring voice saying, “You did that to save her”.
Well, o-KAY. Now we’re going somewhere, now we realize this desert island is some sort of Scared Straight/wilderness quest/straighten out your teenager camp. THAT is interesting. THAT is something we haven’t seen, and possibly justifies all the foreboding shots of Life At Exclusive Private School that are otherwise exhausting.
So why not take us into that concept a little bit? Show us something besides clips from the pilot? I understand there may not be all that much to work from, especially since a premiere date has not been announced – but while this is Amazon’s First Time with a YA series, it’s… not exactly ours, you know? Not to virgin-shame, but you kind of have to show a little more to keep us interested; otherwise it’s just so much rehash of concepts we’ve seen before. It’s a given that each of the EIGHT (!!) main characters will have some kind of secret/reason to be here, that there will be flashbacks and unveilings of what life would like, that the “living hell” of being a teenage girl (none of whom refer to themselves as teenage girls) will be rivalled by this, literal, living hell. Again, we’ve seen LOST.
Tell me about the adults who got them into these circumstances, and what’s going to happen when they (almost certainly) fight back! Give me something to care about! Articulate why this is worth my binge when I know Netflix is brewing something almost chemically addictive on the other line right now?
I hope this is an issue with the promo, not the show, since culty teenage ‘fixing’ is a particular joy of mine (and not solely mine, either, especially now that they’re releasing ‘new’ episodes of World’s Strictest Parents on YouTube). But as it’s currently cut, this series couldn’t be less compelling, which is too bad, because I’m here for the 2020 silver lining that is three-dimensional teenage character content – I just feel strongly that this trailer, at any rate, isn’t it.