I first came across the Wild at Heart series through a DVD set at our local library after the show had aired its final episode in Britain in December 2013. It is about a Bristol veterinarian named Danny Trevanian who re-married after his wife died to divorcee, Sarah, who had two children, Olivia and Evan. Danny also had a grown daughter named Rosie. The family was going through turmoil with Evan having serious problems in school when a vervet monkey shows up at Danny’s office. After the monkey is healthy, the entire family decides it’s best to go to South Africa to release him. They meet a man named Anders DuPlessis who tries to convince Danny to stay on as a vet while they begin establishing a game park in accordance with the wishes of DuPlessis’ late wife. And, thus the series begins.
The entire first season was about setting up the park and getting visitors. It also shows a family, once going through turmoil, beginning to heal and show potential. The premise of the entire series is about the family working together and family values. Though I didn’t like the first few episodes, I started to like it better when more of the local people were portrayed. Everyone on the show was realistically portrayed as average, modern people, business men, doctors, lawyers, police, and the like. The show puts South Africa in a positive light by showing how far they have come in terms of apartheid. At the same time, you see that there is still work to do, especially with the poor.
One thing I didn’t like was the constant flow of major characters in and out of the series. Evan, Olivia and Rosie both left and came back and left again. The same with Caroline and Julia who arrived in season 2 and were often missing, off an don, through several episodes. Sarah died in a horrible fire in season 3 and Alice joined the regular cast. After the first three seasons, Evan and Olivia were never seen together again as Evan left in season 4 (and is supposedly back in the UK) and Olivia left in season 3 only to come back in season 5. Rosie left after season 3 only to come back in the final episodes. It made it harder to follow the story-line.
In the United States, there was a series called “Life is Wild” that had a similar premise and the first season echoed the British version. But, this series fell flat after one season. I think the main difference is there was no DuPlessis in the American version. Though I didn’t like DuPlessis, at first, I found him to be the best thing about Wild at Heart. He grew into a lovable character that sometimes offered a bit of comic relief sometimes.
Only the first two seasons of Wild at Heart is available for region 1 players in North America. As far as I know, there are no plans for more seasons of this show to be available soon. All seasons, except the final episode, are available through Amazon.com for region 2. Most Windows-based computers should be able to read Region 2 if certain modifications are taken.