23rd Jul2020

‘Down To Earth: Season 1’ Review (Netflix)

by Rhys Payne

When I first saw that Zac Efron was the star of a new Netflix original series titled Down to Earth, I assumed it would be showcasing an almost gap year style adventure with Zac travelling around doing exciting things but I couldn’t have been more wrong! In this show, Zac uses his fame, status and even looks to help promote important issues to help combat global issues such as poverty, global warming and dealing with natural disasters.

Zac Efron has become famous in recent years for being a very attractive man, so to have him starring in this serious programme was an interesting choice. I was somewhat frustrated when I discovered a plethora of posts online talking about Zac’s looks in the show despite the focus being on environmental issues but I suppose if people tune into Down To Earth for the eye candy and end up staying for the environmental themes, they are still becoming more aware of these issues and how to combat them – which in the grand scheme of things is a positive. The other thing Zac is known for is his comedic roles in films such as Dirty Grandpa, Neighbours and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and this light comedic inclination did try and make appearances throughout the show but most of the time did miss the mark… While I understand that comedy can soften the seriousness of the environmental issues, most of the jokes did feel out of place. The films he has appeared in have been for a more mature audience and again following this trend, this programme contains strong language throughout. A combination of the environmental themes and strong language makes this show suitable for a teenage audience who famously make up the majority of the “Hunky Zac Efron Fan Club” which means the producers has clearly through about the audience and Zac’s followers.

Despite not giving off the “gap year travel vibes” I expected, Down to Earth does follow Zac Efron as he travels around the world and explores ideas to help save the planet. Each country obviously has its own processes and schemes in place with the intention of saving the planet; and giving everyone a chance to see all the creative ideas being used can really help inspire the audience – by showcasing both little practical things and also massive grand schemes that can be done to help save the world from the climate crisis, which is fantastic. One of my favourite episodes in this season was actually the opening episode which was set in Iceland, where they informed the viewers that the energy used in certain areas is totally 100% renewable and is generated by the underground volcanoes. There was an incredible scene in which Zac learnt how the locals cook bread, which is actually done in an underground hole in the floor and is made possible by the hot water. Another scheme that stood out to me was one in which Zac and Anna Kendrick went on a water tasting experience which seemed very interesting …. but I think personally I will stick to wine!

Down to Earth obviously has an educational side to it which was exaggerated by the clever use of graphics and diagrams – which explained how some of these complex schemes worked in a simple way, which is fantastic. The show also is a great vehicle for advertising, as each episode is named after a country and so this can only benefit the tourism of that country. It also occasionally promotes local businesses that are in sectors – such as vegetarian or naturalistic cuisine – which again would increase footfall for the businesses involved. Helping local businesses while tackling tourism (which is particularly low right now) is fantastic and should make a big difference for anyone involved.

Overall Down to Earth is a show that brings environmental issues to the forefront of mainstream media, while also benefiting small business and countries. It is perfect for any Zac Efron fan as he appears throughout all episodes but is even more relevant to those who want to make a meaningful impact of the planet!

*** 3/5

Down to Earth: Season 1 is available on Netflix now.

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