There was a time when adult animation on cable was a bit more simple. Certainly in the early years of Adult Swim, series like Aqua Teen or Squidbillies didn’t require any knowledge of rocket science to just jump in and enjoy the series. By far, during Syfy’s airing of adult animation original series, Wild Life is the network’s best reason to tune in and see what’s going on here. Yes, Magical Girl Friendship Squad showed signs of life, and is probably a bit more prim and proper in it’s execution. But, for my money, Wild Life’s old school take might be a great way for fans to start checking out this network for original series.
The quarter-hour/six-episode series works it’s best as an ensemble comedy, even if there are some obvious signs of “Glenn” (John Reynolds) being the focus. When the group goes off on an adventure or take part in a collaborative experience, that’s the best stuff of Wild Life because we get to see everybody’s wacky personalities become somewhat combative, but assimilate when there’s some sort of opposition. My man “Darby” (Reggie Watts) is, more or less, the one who kicks off some sort of sequence that requires everyone to come together and fix whatever the issue is. Whether it’s Darby causing a zombie outbreak, or constantly going to the mall, he seems to be at the center of a lot of what’s going on. Likewise, Debbie(Skittlez Ortiz) can be a trouble maker with her sultry personality.
I bring up a good point, when it comes to taking things to the edge, Wild Life has a good edge on it, even with some of the obvious drawbacks of being on basic cable. Similar to what sister-network USA has been doing with the likes of Mr. Robot, the uncensored crass language is an obvious asset to the show’s silly dialogue, and the show isn’t afraid of innuendo either. In fact, Wild Life has more than dipped it’s toes in sex, Debbie has tried to put the moves on a few of the others, Glenn made love to a log, and guest star Tim Heidecker voiced a masturbating grizzly bear. All of this is largely uncharted territory on cable TV animation and, as such, become true differentiators.
That’s what Syfy’s TZGZ lineup is going to need to do battle with Adult Swim’s long-vaunted Toonami lineup. While I don’t know if Wild Life is a super hit to send the lineup into the stratosphere, there’s enough here to label Wild Life as “bankable”, and here’s hoping there’s more on the way.