Friday Night Flicks: ‘Wildfire’

Leave HN movie critic Amanda Ronan alone in a room with Netflix and there’s no telling what she’ll come up with–like this review of cancelled girls-love-boys-and-ponies television series Wildfire.

From Amanda:

Sidelined from my horse and my barn forcibly due to a back injury (note: slippery rubber mats, stairs, and 50 lb. bags of feed do NOT mix), I had to find my horse fix somewhere
else… namely… Netflix.

In comes the television series Wildfire, offering 52 episodes of horsey good fun. The show, created by Michael Pillar and Christopher Teague, ran on ABC Family from 2005 to 2008. The premise is textbook. A troubled girl meets a beautiful horse and chaos and magic ensue in equal measure.

The pilot episode introduces us to Kris Furillo, juvenile delinquent recently released from prison; Pablo Betart, cagey trainer who believes in Kris; Jean Ritter, Raintree Thoroughbred racehorse farm owner; and of course Wildfire, an OTTB who just needs a chance. Other characters come and go, but the main plot lines throughout the entire four seasons revolve around these four characters.

The clothes are always stylish, the parties are always rockin’ and the lives of a bunch of teenagers are made to look both interesting and dramatic. You know… typical TV melodrama stuff.

Kris falls in love with Junior Davis, a rival barn owner’s son. Which makes Jean nervous.

Kris falls in love with Matt Ritter, Jean’s son. Which makes Jean REALLY nervous.

And then Kris falls in love with Junior again.

The riding is presentable, especially for TV. Genevieve Cortese-Padalecki, the actress who plays Kris, lists “experienced equestrian” on her resume. Other characters feature some lovely
Hunter Equitation and Dressage, and most of the last season was dedicated toward Western disciplines.

Cowboy XC jump… police jeep included!

Wait… wasn’t she just in a western saddle and a shank bit? Oh! Who cares! It was awesome!

But above all, Kris loves Wildfire. Wildfire becomes her partner in racing, her therapist, her lifelong friend and ultimately THE love of her life. They protect each other, believe in each other, and pull through for each other when nobody else does. Any horse crazy girl can relate to that.

Funny Lines:

“She folds well.” ~ Grandpa Ritter in response to Kris falling off a horse her first time out at the ranch.

“Shovelling manure. That’s what I do ALL day.” ~ Kris relating the details of her job. Welcome to the club Kris.

“I will never kiss another boy again, okay? Never!” ~ Kris choosing horses over her love life. I can guarantee she doesn’t hold true to this particular statement.

“Junior Davis: A curse on Sweden! (in reference to trying to assemble an IKEA style bookcase)

Matt Ritter: What about the hot blondes?

Junior Davis: Okay. Not the hot blondes.”

“Kris Furillo: Do you even know how to ride a horse?

Junior Davis: Do birds fly?

Kris Furillo: Penguins don’t.”

Overall, I liked this series. Sure Wildfire was portrayed by at least three horses (in the pilot alone) and at times it had more drama than a Mexican soap opera, but it got me through a dull weekend of backaches and prescription strength ibuprofen and kept me entertained enough that I wasn’t a total bear for my husband to deal with. I give it three Golden Horseshoes.

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