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The Wilds has been cancelled by Amazon Studios after two seasons. Variety, claim that Amazon has given up on the well-liked Prime Video program. According to Deadline, the decision was only revealed to the series’ principal cast on Thursday, July 28. But as of this writing, none of the key actors has made any sort of official statement.
News about The Wilds’ cancellation is sure to disappoint fans of the young adult (YA) survival drama series. The Prime Video production is one of the more highly-rated original series on Amazon’s streaming platform, with its first season holding a 92% certified fresh rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. Meanwhile, The Wilds season 2 fared just as well; the show’s latest installment garnering an 85% score on the same website. Over on IMDb.com, The Wilds has amassed an average 7.2 out of 10 score from nearly 20,000 user reviews.
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The Wilds’ cancellation hasn’t been given an official explanation, but according to Deadline, it was owing to the second season’s muted reception. After the first season of the show was released in December 2020, it quickly gained praise from critics. The show’s Lost meets Castaway-inspired plot and superb casting attracted new viewers to Amazon’s streaming service.
However, it appears that The Wilds lacked the resources to build a life raft to keep it afloat as rival YA series, like the popular show Yellowjackets, began to encroach on its territory and its release date was delayed due to the epidemic.
We’ve contacted Amazon Studios for an official response regarding the cancellation of The Wilds, and if we hear back, we’ll update this piece.
Analysis: cast adrift on the streaming high seas
Due to its relative success, the series—the first young adult-focused project to debut on Prime Video—paved the way for more YA shows to come off the Amazon production line. Panic, Alex Rider, The Summer I Turned Pretty, and Amazon’s unsuccessful I Know What You Did Last Summer remake all owe their inception to The Wilds, which opened the door for their creation.
Therefore, by ending The Wilds, Amazon is relegating one of its groundbreaking shows to streaming lore. Some industry insiders and fans may view this as a turning point for Prime Video.
How so? Well, Amazon isn’t exactly pivoting away from YA-developed series, but it’s certainly leaning harder into more popular and profitable genres. For one, Amazon continues to expand its original superhero offerings to its subscriber base. The Boys season 4, plus a live-action spin-off series, are in the works. Invincible season 2 is currently in development, while a new original movie in Samaritan is set to release in late August.
In the meantime, Amazon is making more inroads into the fantasy genre. The Wheel of Time will soon have a second season, and a third season was revealed at Comic-Con 2022. At some time, Carnival Row, Prime Video’s first fantasy original series, will also receive a second season. Oh, and on September 2, Prime Video will be the only place to see The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the most costly TV series ever produced.
Of course, there’ll always be an audience for YA content on Prime Video, so it’s likely that Amazon will continue to commission projects of this nature, providing they sound intriguing enough. But there’s no question that the studio is pumping money into more popular genres with bigger fanbases, which could be a dangerous move to make.
Amazon won’t want to alienate its teen and young adult audience by failing to provide material tailored to their interests. If it does, those viewers may decide to switch to other streaming services, including Netflix, whose YA back library includes popular shows like Shadow and Bone, Riverdale, and Heartstopper, much like how Amazon’s The Wilds viewers switched to Netflix. If The Wilds’ cancellation was the right call or not will become clear in due time.