One of the most gratingly annoying things on this planet is when Americans try to make cheap and patronizing Americanized versions of great British TV shows. Moreover, the series "Life is Wild" was set in Africa, so we could have expected to hear at least one Afrikaan accent now and then. But no, even the African characters all had distinctly American accents! Surely the American ear is not so fickle that it cannot tolerate the sound of an authentic English or Afrikaan accent?
I tried to sit through several episodes but found the characters to be totally irritating, unbelievable, poorly constructed and 2-dimensional. The poorly woven character threads meant that the rather thin plots came across as boring and shabbily portrayed. I could not relate to any of the characters, nor identify with them as being part of an African setting.
The family came to Africa on the premise of having serious family problems, but this came across as being vaguely comedic and trivialized, and almost seemed reminiscent of a family crisis from the Brady Bunch. After sitting through the first episode I found myself wishing that a rampaging lion or hippo would come racing on to the set and devour the whole cast and crew.
I am so glad that this show was cancelled. If anything, the series did, by way of comparison, manage to place the spotlight firmly back on the UK version called "Wild at Heart". Of course it too has its occasional lapses, such as the rather disjointed and emotionally bereft episode following the muddled and poorly conceived death of Sarah, as well as its occasional sojourns into excessive sentimentality. But I am prepared to forgive these lapses in the knowledge that "Wild at Heart" is the version that has justifiably stood the test of time and has faithfully established itself in the hearts and minds of audiences around the world. Clever direction and precise casting is clearly evident.
As for "Life is Wild", I still cannot understand why any producer would have invested in an Americanized copy of a successful English drama. As the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke, why fix it?" I am convinced that American audiences are not so fickle as to ignore a show just because the characters have unfamiliar accents. It is the accents that help establish the characters within the setting. This seems like a simple and logical point of direction, but one that was apparently lost on the directors of "Life is Wild".
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?