Matt Wright, whose business fights wildlife to keep wildlife, livestock and humans safe, has appeared on television for just over a decade, with his series Monster Croc Wrangler as of 2011. Now he has a new Netflix series showing more of his disputes in the Northern Territory of Australia, along with many scenes revolving around his family life.
Opening shot: “Northern Territory, Australia”. Storm clouds and lightning. Matt Wright, his wife Kaia and their young son Banjo are looking for bait in a swamp when Matt comes across an alligator.
The essence: We think this is on the Wright family property, but Matt knows the gator shouldn’t be there, with cattle, visitors, and (duh) his son right there. So he and Kaia try to fight the crocodile to move it; of course he will not go voluntarily.
We then see the Wrights at home, where Matt has been called in for a job; he gets into his chopper like most people get into his car, and travels to his hangar, where his team is loading material to get the job done. Matt’s business is dealing with crocodiles that have invaded waters where they threaten livestock and humans, and humanely relocating them to a more isolated area or a sanctuary like his Top End Safari Camp. He fights with other dangerous wild animals like buffalo, but Wild crocodile territory focuses on, well, crocodiles.
The job is at the Collibah Station, where the ranch owner is confronted by a huge crocodile nicknamed “beef”. The crocodile has been taking down his cattle regularly, and it’s gotten to the point where he needs to move Beef Cheeks. Chris “Willow” Wilson, his project planner, and helicopter pilot Jock “Jocko” Purcell are its main cast on the project. Jocko has already lost a few fingers, but he believes that he hasn’t lost an arm or a leg at this point, so he can still get the job done.
After Matt sees Beef Cheeks from the air and realizes the road has been washed out by floodwaters, Matt and his team drop a huge booby trap into the swamp with their helicopter, then drag a half-eaten cow as bait. Kaia and Banjo join him camping. The next morning, he sees a spectacular video of Beef Cheeks taking the bait and setting off the trap. He now begins the difficult part: holding him and transporting him to the other side of the river so that he can get on a transport truck. They have to do it so that Beef Cheeks doesn’t break someone’s leg with his head or tail, and also keep his head up as he drags him through the water so he doesn’t drown.
What shows will it remind you of? Monster Croc Wranglerstarring Wright and broadcast on NatGeo in the US for four seasons between 2011 and 2019. White also has several videos on his YouTube channel.
Our take: If there is any possible difference between Wild crocodile territory and the previous series of Wright is that we get to see the family of Wright more than in the previous program; he and Kaia got married in 2017 and on the show, Banjo appears to be around 2 years old. It’s definitely structured more like a reality show, where we see other members of his crew and his family doing things, like the scenes where Kaia, an ex-city-dweller, goes goose hunting for the family dinner.
But the meat of the show (pun intended) is Wright and his team dealing with crocodiles. And no matter how many times you’ve seen it, watching Matt and his team handle these huge and dangerous beasts is fascinating to watch. From how he manages to stop the crocodile from biting with a tarp over his eyes and duct tape around his huge mouth, to the fact that even with the crocodile biting and thrashing about, the group manages to stay safe. .
Seeing Beef Cheeks being dragged behind the boat, Matt making sure he doesn’t sway so much that he dragged the boat with him, was nerve-wracking. But, as with all reality shows of its kind, we’re pretty sure things will work out, mainly because coincidences like a fuel line being pulled into an outboard motor seem to happen too much to make us think that it’s not planned.
Sex and skin: None.
Parting shot: We leave in a cliffhanger: the boat’s outboard motor breaks down a hundred feet from shore and Beef Cheeks threatens to capsize to the point where the boat rolls with it.
sleeping star: We’ll make this a tie between Beef Cheeks, because he’s so big, and Banjo Wright, who seems to be a lot tougher than his adorable little boy appearance would indicate.
Most of the Pilot-y line: “She hunted and gathered, and now I’m digging and cooking. How times have changed!” Matt tells the camera as he cleans the feathers off one of the dead geese. It’s not so much the line, but the scenes of him plucking the feathers off the geese. Yes, we know that this is the right thing to do, in addition to gutting and chopping them. But man, that just goes to show we were never cut out for camping or hunting.
Our call: TRANSMIT IT. Wild crocodile territory It’s about crocodile hunters and crocodiles fighting. Matt Wright and his team have the skills and the gators have the size to make a very watchable series.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting, and technology, but he’s not kidding himself: he’s a couch potato. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, vanityfair.comFast Company and elsewhere.