A soap opera so cheesy that it provides your daily serving of dairy, "Wildfire" is an ABC Family series that plays like a Western-flavored version of "The O.C.". The series stars Genevieve Cortese (who looks eerily like Selma Blair) as Kris, a young woman who, during the first season, was released from juvenile hall. Thanks to a local ranch hand, she finds herself working at the Raintree Ranch, owned by Jean Ritter (Nana Visitor).
The ranch hasn't been doing particularly well lately, which causes some conflict. However, the show's real conflicts are mostly romantic, with Kris sparking an interest in Matt (Micah Alberti) and his friend Junior Davis (Ryan Sypek) who work on the ranch. Of course, local girls like Danielle Davis (Nicole Tubiola) don't exactly take well to the new competition. Meanwhile, Kris gets attached to Wildfire, a local horse that becomes her friend during her stay at the ranch.
By season three, not much has changed. The story still focuses on Raintree Ranch having difficulty staying afloat as well as their increasing competition with Davis Farms. Still, "Wildfire" continues to focus more on the relationships between Kris and the people who work and live around her. Kris' feelings for Matt grows in this season, despite his relationship with heiress Gillian (Charlotte Salt, who stands out here) who came on scene towards the end of season two. While lots of things happen in Season three, it's nothing particularly new. Fans will enjoy the growth the characters make by the end of this season.
The series is a bit ridiculous and over-the-top, but "Wildfire" has managed to reign in the absurdities somewhat since it first aired. "Wildfire" will likely appeal to the teen crowd it's aiming for. The show's performances are pretty adequate, and do about as well as expected with the somewhat melodramatic material. Production values are respectable, and I thought the show had moments, despite what I consider some notable flaws. Overall, it's moderately inoffensive programming for the teen set.
Season 3 episodes:
1. 3- 1 Fairy Tale Ending
2. 3- 2 The Feud
3. 3- 3 Moving On
4. 3- 4 Close to Home
5. 3- 5 Love vs. Work
6. 3- 6 Kiss-Kiss
7. 3- 7 Push Me/ Pull You
8. 3- 8 The Goodbye
9. 3- 9 Heartless
10. 3-10 Diplomacy
11. 3-11 You Can't Count on Me
12. 3-12 Picking Sides
13 3-13 So Long, Pardner
VIDEO: "Wildfire" is presented by Lion's Gate in the show's original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and the presentation is 16x9 enhanced. The show appears to have been shot in hi-def video (there's some motion blur at times), and although sharpness and detail vary, definition is usually just fine.
The presentation does show some occasional artifacts and slight edge enhancement, but these flaws remain fairly mild and hardly noticeable. The show's natural color palette appeared bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The show's 2.0 soundtrack delivered the basics, with clear, full-sounding dialogue and music.
Commentary with Genevieve Cortes, Micah Alberti, writers Christina Lynch, Loren Segan and executive producer Lloyd Segan for "Fairy Tale Ending". The commentary tends to focus on asking questions in order to have a decent amount of conversation. There are some lags and it's somewhat difficult to hear Micah Alberti, but this commentary does have some information that fans may find interesting.
Commentary with Micah Alberti, Nicole Tubiola, writer Patrick Sean Smith, and DVD producer for "Close To Home". There are some spots without any talking, but the information they offer is interesting especially regarding some insight into characters as well as tidbits regarding the making of the episode.
Commentary with Nicole Tubiola, Micah Alberti, and DVD producer for "Heartless". Here, Tubiola and Alberti talk the most. They chat about what's happening in the episode and what their characters are going through. There are some lags in conversation here, but fans should enjoy.
Commentary with Genevieve Cortes, Micah Alberti, Executive Producer Lloyd Segan, writers Loren Segan, and Christina Lynch for "So Long, Pardner". This is a more lively commentary with some laughs, questions, behind-the-scenes information, and thoughts about story/characters. Definitely worth a listen for fans.
Final Thoughts: While viewing this season of the series still doesn't get me hooked on the show (and again, I'm certainly not the target audience), I will admit that when the show pulls back from going too far into soapiness, it does still manage a few effective/genuine dramatic moments. The DVD offers fine audio/video quality, as well as a surprisingly nice selection of supplements. Recommended for fans looking to complete their collection of the show.