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4.4 out of 5 stars
WILD AT HEART, SERIES ONE
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful! Excellent! Arresting! It's like taking the "Swiss Family Robinson" and reinventing them in the African bush. 5-stars only because 6 isn't an option.

Second marriage of Vet. Danny Trevanion (Stephen Tomkinson) and Sarah (Amanda Holden) also unites their previous-marriage kids. One happy family? Not always. The Dr's girl, Rosie (Lucy-Jo Hudson), missing her deceased real mom, often conflicts with her step-mom. She blends better with Sarah's children brought into the family group, Evan (Luke Ward-Wilkinson) and Olivia (Rafaella Hutchinson). Sweet Olivia is reminiscent of Drew Barrymore's child role in "ET."

The family takes a holiday to South Africa with the purpose of returning a rescued pet vervet monkey, Valentine, to the wild. Danny is offered a veterinarian position on a dilapidated bush farm owned by Anders Du Plessis, Afrikaner (Deon Stewardson). Danny & Sarah make a decision. That's episode one, and it just gets better and better with each episode. Every episode is just shy of 50 minutes.

Throughout the DVD set, you will encounter wild animals and South African vistas that are enchanting. The story is relationship drama with plenty of action and suspense. The visual aspect of the setting is comparable to the best of African bush documentaries. What a fantastic combination, to say nothing of the background African music.
Disney could have done no better.

Episode 2: Wendy, a cheetah with a broken leg, is saved by Evan and then by Danny, followed by Danny saving Olivia's life. The 3 family girls meet Alex Tate (Gary Lawson), a neighbor with a game/resort farm which really does look like a Disneyland in Africa. And you'll meet Miranda, a baby lion.
#3: Sarah's ex-husband Simon (Vincent Regan) visits Africa demanding his children, Evan & Olivia. Ruby Robson (Stacey Roca), young lover causing the divorce, tags along, and all family members deal with past torn-family relationships and face decisions.
#4 Evan & Olivia run away, a semi-drugged lion is on the run, everyone is looking for someone, but who will find what, first? Rosie finds Themba (Siyabonga Shibe), finds him quite nice.
#5 The Trevanion females, elephants, naked massage, zebras, Tate, paying guests, and diesel fuel all become a part of the current problems.
#6 Poachers arrive with other unexplained animal death that threatens all life at Leopard's Den. Is it Anthrax? Malaria?
"No one who is loved, ever really dies."

This DVD set was largely selected by me because the cover photo looked like good family viewing. IT IS THAT! Highly recommended even though it has no subtitles or closed captioning. I rarely needs it. What it offers makes up for any shortcoming--WITH ONE EXCEPTION. This is the first of several years of "Wild at Heart" TV production. Please, please, Acorn Media, give us another Series.

Bonus stuff includes production notes and more fabulous photography in gallery format. The only thing better to do than buying this DVD set is to travel in person to South Africa.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2009
Great family show. Beautiful photography and interesting stories. About an English vet and his family who move to Africa. Can watch again and again without getting tired of it. Good acting by all the cast. Like the music and the animals, of course. Feel-good show with lots of humor and issues. Quality production.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2009
I found this series by accident, but I'm glad I did. This series is wonderful for families to watch. It stars Stephen Tompkinson, whom some might remember from the series "BallyKissangel". The animals and scenery are beautiful. The characters are believable and the acting superb. With all the medical, CSI & Reality TV on the air, it's nice to sit down to a well made family drama. I can't wait for Amazon to sell seasons 2 & 3 which are available in the UK, but not the US.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Wild at Heart is an ongoing British TV drama which is currently broadcasting its fifth season in the UK. The premise is that a veterinarian and his new wife get overwhelmed with big city life in London and jump on an opportunity to move to Africa with their difficult blended family to help establish a wildlife preserve/resort and forge real family bonds while doing so. The vet is played by Stephen Tompkinson, who was the original priest in the very famous Irish series Ballykissangel, and it was as a result of enjoying his other work that we tried out this show. We're very happy that we did. Who hasn't at some time or another fantasized about pulling up roots, leaving your troubles behind, and starting over in some exotic place? Wild at Heart shows the ups and downs, the fantasy and the reality of such an adventure. There are very rewarding aspects of the work but very trying ones as well, and the family has to cope with those as well as the complex issues that any newly blended family faces. The scenery is beautiful, the animals magnificent, the acting excellent, and the stories are absorbing and exciting. This DVD set contains the entire first season, which is six episodes. Unfortunately, no further seasons have been released on Region 1 DVDs. Since we enjoy British television so much, we purchased a region-free DVD player and we ordered all the available seasons of Wild at Heart on Region 2 DVDs from the British Amazon.co.uk website. This has started us exploring a lot of other British televisions shows that have never been shown in the U.S.... We would hate to miss another one as good as Wild at Heart.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2011
I found this by accident...I was searching for some things done by Hayley Mills, and she was listed as being in this series. Having spent time in Africa and being partial to it, I ordered this hoping to see Hayley as well as just enjoying the beautiful African setting. The story, setting and actors are all absolutely wonderful, and I was hooked immediately...I watched the entire first season (only 6 episodes) over just two days, and now I'm ready for later seasons. I presume Hayley Mills doesn't show up until a later point, perhaps Series 2 or 3?? It's terribly disappointing that only Series One is available to view in the U.S. on our DVD format here. We cannot play the British/overseas versions of Series 2 and beyond. I really hope the rest of the series are prepared for sale here...I will buy them all, as will many others, I'm sure. This series if exceptional family viewing, and it appeals to adults just as much as children.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2010
All around an outstanding show... Great production...

Only disappointment I have with the show is Rosie, who is very, very annoying...

Her sexual encounter in episode #4 was very disappointing, as was the casual reaction to it afterwards by the adults...

The inclusion of this scene seemed very disjointed, forced, and rather gratuitous...

Definitely takes a little luster off of it as being a family show, but not enough to warrant trashing it...

Still a great production...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
My ten yer old granddaughter was coming to spend a few weeks with us at the lake. I purchased this dvd set as back-up for a rainy day. She just loved it and amazingly, the adults loved it, too. This really is good family fare. We look forward to the release of the other series in region 1 format.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2013
We discovered the show Wild At Heart somewhat by accident. The show stars Ballykissangel's Stephen Tompkinson as Danny Travanian, a vet from Bristol whose wife, played by Amanda Holden, decides to take their blended family on a trip to South Africa to release a vervet monkey brought into her husband's surgery. While there they are convinced by the owner of a small game reserve to invest their life savings into the park and stay.

The show is a delight for animal lovers and for Africa lovers. It is almost entirely filmed in South Africa as is evident by the light. Anyone who has lived in Africa knows the lighting there is different, likely due to the continent's elevation and dust in the air, and the warmth the light provides the scenes makes Africa as much a character in the show as the animals or the actors. The stories are well written and the characters grow over time. For example in the early episodes Danny's daughter Rosie is an annoying suburban girl, and his stepson Ethan is an emo kid you want to slap and send to military school, but by the third season each has evolved into a well-rounded and interesting character to the point when Ethan leaves Leopard's Den, the fictitious game park, you really are sad to see the kid go. But as anyone who grew up watching British TV knows like Blake's 7 or Red Dwarf knows, the Brits are much less averse to knocking off characters than Americans, and Wild at Heart is no different, so if you are interested in the show do yourself a favor and avoid reading anything containing spoilers.

Don't let the "family show" moniker I've seen used to describe Wild at Heart put you off. One of the main characters, Anders Du Plessis (played by Deon Stewardson) the owner of Leopard's Den, is a South African wild man who drinks to excess and won't be appearing at an AA meeting anytime soon. Wildlife conservation in Africa is not easy, and the show pulls no punches about that. Money is always a problem. Corruption is rampant, and Nature is not pretty. Things die, often in brutal ways, and the show doesn't sugarcoat this reality. Yes there is no sex shown (at least between humans) but it does get bloody at times, especially during an unforgettable lion attack that was filmed so expertly that it's one of the more savage things I've seen.

Wild at Heart was canceled last year after a 7 season run, and only the first 2 seasons are available in the US, Region 1 DVD format. All other seasons are available only on Region 2 DVD, meaning they will not play on North American market DVD players. I have confirmed with Acorn Media, the company handling these videos, that there are no plans for releasing the show on US DVD.

So after you watch seasons 1 & 2, what are you going to do?

You can either buy an all-region DVD player for about $50 here on Amazon and buy the British DVDs OR you can use the DVD player in your computer to play the British DVDs back. There is software available that will allow your DVD player to playback foreign DVDs.

This show is too good to miss, but it is not popular here in the States. Hopefully as word spreads watching the complete series won't be such a hassle. But in the meantime it's worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2013
This series has captured us - it's simply wonderful. Very well done!
I'm now longing for the release of the finale - where oh where is the US version of it all?
Well, we've been watching the series and can only say that it has missed nothing in the way of providing us hours of mental escape - lovely scenery, characters that are loveable to a fault, real reactions that are as flawed as life itself.
Excellent in so many ways.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2012
I'm glad this show is finally available for Region 1. As Series 7 is wrapping up in the UK, it would be wonderful if the other Wild at Heart series (especially a compilation of Series 1 - 7) would be made available! Especially as it is rumored that this is the final series. Anyone know when Acorn (they seem to have the rights to all UK shows) will offer the rest of Wild at Heart?
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