The Wilds Bosses Talk Adding Boys to the Teenage Girls Survivalist Drama and Coexisting With Yellowjackets

The Wilds Season 2

The island drama is about to get even more expansive on The Wilds.

Season 2 of the Prime Video series (premiering with all eight episodes this Friday) follows two different stories of survival. While the teenage girls whose plane crashed in the ocean in the first season continue to acclimate to their situation, a new crop of characters in experiment mastermind Gretchen’s all-male control group are just beginning their survivalist journey on their own island.

Bringing boys into the ensemble “gives us this new lens on the adolescent experience,” executive producer Sarah Streicher tells TVLine, while acknowledging that “there’s some pushback among the fans. But I think when they invest themselves in the characters, they’ll be on this journey of watching how the boys are performing in relation to the girls. There’s going to be a sense of, ‘The girls didn’t do it quite like that,’ and I think that stepping into Gretchen’s shoes will be a little bit of a thrill.”

In addition to sharing the screen with boys, the Wilds gals are returning after a long hiatus to a TV landscape that saw another series about a plane crash involving teenage girls make its debut — and that’s a good thing, as far as Streicher and fellow EP Amy B. Harris are concerned.

Below, the EPs preview Season 2 and why Yellowjackets fans should give The Wilds a watch.

The Wilds Season 2TVLINE | Setting the stage for Season 2, what are the girls dealing with, and how are they faring after the events of the Season 1 finale?
AMY B. HARRIS | We understood bringing the boys on to their own island that they would have to be going through the survivalist pieces of the puzzle that the girls did, and we want to do that very differently than the girls. They have different problems, obviously. They are trying to find water, food. And then for the girls, because of what’s happened — the reveal that Nora is the operative and then a shark attack that has terrifying consequences — this season for the girls was always going to be about the survival of the psyche and the emotional survival that they’re trying to get through. They have water, they have food. They know how to take care of themselves in terms of those elemental needs, but now we’re exploring grief, pain, trauma, betrayal. We lost Jamie Tarses, who was our producing partner on the show, before we started work on the second season, and the exploration — she was also a dear friend — of grief and moving on and the trauma that that brings really infused a lot of, for me at least, decisions we were making. And just how equally terrifying that survival is, as well as like, “Are we going to starve to death?”

The Wilds Season 2TVLINE | Why did you decide to add boys to the mix? And what do they bring that’s different from what we’ve seen in the girls’ journey?
SARAH STREICHER | Following the story of Gretchen, she’s needing a control group to bear out her experiment. So we landed upon this notion, OK, she lives in this binary world, which we’re hoping to really explode her false notion that the world is binary. Certainly, in the third season, that’s what we’re gunning for. But she lives in this binary world, so she would have this all male control group and be crossing her fingers that they combust. And philosophically and narratively, I was personally really excited about the notion of starting with women as this baseline, as this default, and then pivoting to men as this counterpoint. It’s usually the other way around, historically. It’s like men are the default experience, and women are the counterpoint.

TVLINE | It’s interesting how they interact with each other versus how the girls interact with each other.
HARRIS | Sarah had done such a beautiful job of creating this world of very dynamic, diverse girls to put on the island. So our job for Season 2 was to work equally as hard to create these boys that were from different areas, different socioeconomic arenas, and just really chase the specificity of that journey also. It’s Gretchen’s lens, to some degree. So the girls, for her, are the goal. [Laughs] But chasing those boys’ stories and showing the hardships they’re going through and the challenges they’re facing was really interesting to us also. Sarah’s done such a beautiful job in the pilot of giving us this nuanced experience, and this just adds to that. It’s more layers.

The Wilds Season 2TVLINE | I’m also just fascinated by the idea that while the show was on hiatus, another show about teenage girls stranded in the middle of nowhere came out: Yellowjackets on Showtime. Why do you think this really niche genre is suddenly having a moment?
HARRIS | All I can say is I’m incredibly grateful it is because it says women’s stories and young women’s stories are touching people, and people want to be in on it. I’m never quite sure why there is a moment where certain things get tapped at the same time, but the joy for me is, a) there’s room for all of it, and then b) I think 10 years ago if you had said we’re going to put two shows on the air and they’re both going to be well received and liked, I think people would’ve been like that’s crazy. But now we’re in a place where it’s just a very exciting thing to see that happen.

TVLINE | Have you watched Yellowjackets? Or is too similar and you don’t want to get influenced by it?
STREICHER | I have watched it. It didn’t feel like a pure experience. I was like, “Oh, they have a black box. Oh, they’re looking for water now. They’re hunting.” My brain was in their writers’ room as they were hatching it out, so it was a little bit clouded. But at the same time, I had a thrilling time. I adore just the intensity of it all. Perhaps we’re emerging from a long period of dismissing teenage girls or giving them kind of smaller, more intimate stories, and there’s hunger to really show their grit and show their strength in a really raw way where it cannot be disputed. That’s what both of our shows do, to a certain extent.
HARRIS | I have not watched because we were working on Season 2 when it was coming out. I got very nervous that it would start affecting my ability to just drill into what we were doing. But I’m eager to watch it. I just wanted to wait until we’ve launched this.

The Wilds Season 2TVLINE | What you would say to those people who are into Yellowjackets to get them to check out The Wilds? And what does The Wilds add to that whole genre that you think is different from Yellowjackets?
HARRIS | Well, we came first. [Laughs] If you love sort of the life and death stakes of the teenage years, the shows are both exploring that, and that’s, to me, really exciting.
STREICHER | If you’re looking for something where the horror is not so unrelenting [laughs], I think The Wilds is a beautiful option. And the coming-of-age is quite focused on the experience itself rather than the aftermath of the older teenagers, which brings in a really fascinating perspective. We’re quite interested in the teenage moment itself and the intricacies and difficulties there. So it’s a very different take. I’m so glad that they can coexist.

TVLINE | If there’s a million cop shows, why not two shows about teenage girls stranded on islands or in the woods?
STREICHER | We were being developed at the same time. In fact, I remember when I was rewriting the pilot per Jamie’s notes, she was like, “You have to hurry up because there’s something else out there.” We went into a panic. It was like, “All right, let’s go!”