This teen drama has become an equestrian binge TV staple. Here’s my top five episodes.
All things considered, ABC Family’s Wildfire is an inferior show to CBC’s Heartland in almost every way. Geared toward the older teen audience, the story doles out melodrama aplenty in the form of several love triangles. Kris Furillo, played by Genevieve Padalecki, primarily bounces back and forth between the two male leads every other season. It’s all extremely frustrating. Still, the show is strangely addicting, especially when you factor in the fact that Kris’s actual true love is her horse, Wildfire. Here are my favorite episodes:
1×02 “The Rescue”
During this episode, Wildfire is sent to auction after failing out of police horse school. Kris — formerly a teen delinquent that worked with Wildfire as part of her probation — tracks down the horse’s new owner and discovers Wildfire might be headed to a slaughter house. Like any “reformed” delinquent — and headstrong horse girl — Kris opts to steal Wildfire. The pair evade police for several days and even manage to work on their cross country game. The storyline is epically clichéd, but closely mimics The Electric Horseman that I adore!
2×12 “Close Shave”
In this one, Kris learns a valuable equestrian lesson, “When human proposes, horse disposes.” Kris, having earned her jockey license, is gearing up for one of the most important races of her season when a broodmare goes into labor. When it becomes clear that the mare is having trouble and Kris can’t get in touch with any of the barn staff — remember the days of old when not everyone had cell phones? — she has to decide between racing or helping the mare. In the end, she chooses to do the right thing … love interest Junior right by her side. Wildfire’s only foal, a colt named Flame, is born and the rest is history.
3×13 “So Long Pardner”
So, here’s where I admit that I actually love the Junior-Kris-Matt drama just a little bit … okay, a lot. The sexual tension between the three of them comes to a high broil when Matt and Junior pit their best horses against each other in a point to point cross country race. Kris gets caught in the middle — greed and good intentions being the primary factors — and the crap really hits the fan.
4×12 “The Ties That Bind: Part One”
In the penultimate episode, Kris and Wildfire are pulled out of retirement to train for one more race. Meanwhile, she has to navigate the rough waters of Junior’s messed up family life before they get hitched.
4×13 “The Ties That Bind: Part Two”
The writers did an excellent job of closing out this series, tying up all necessary story arcs while giving Kris and Wildfire one last ride. Wildfire also looked gorgeous in his wedding ensemble.
Overall, I like this TV series. I mean, sure, Wildfire is portrayed by at least three horses (in the pilot alone) and there are a lot of “guaranteed to make a real equestrian cringe” moments, but it is still great rainy-day-tack-cleaning entertainment. I also appreciate the fact that Wildfire remained the focus horse of the entire series. My one complaint against Heartland has always been the fact that, no, you can’t help fifteen troubled horses become Grand Prix jumpers in just one week. Sorry, Amy Fleming.
Did you watch Wildfire back in the day? Give me a shout in the comments!