Down to Earth with Zac Efron
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|Down to Earth with Zac Efron|
|Narrated by||Zac Efron|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producers||Zac Efron|
Rachael Wax Taber
|Editor||Rachel Wax Taber|
|Production company||The Nacelle Company|
|Original release||July 10, 2020|
Down to Earth with Zac Efron is an American web documentary series that was released on Netflix on July 10, 2020. It stars Zac Efron and Darin Olien, who also act as executive producers of the series. The documentary revolves around Efron and his travels around the world to France, Puerto Rico, London, Iceland, Costa Rica, Peru, and Sardinia, and focuses on themes of travel, life experience, nature, green energy and sustainable living practices. Critics describe it as light in tone, but heavy in questionable health advice and pseudoscience.
|No.||Title||Original release date|
|1||"Iceland"||July 10, 2020|
|In between getting an up-close look at Iceland's renewable energy efforts, Zac soaks in a spa with Darin, samples reindeer and views natural wonders. |
|2||"France"||July 10, 2020|
|Before heading to Paris to learn about its tap water system, Zac joins pal Anna Kendrick for a lesson in H2O, courtesy of a water sommelier in LA. |
|3||"Costa Rica"||July 10, 2020|
|Zac and Darin try out life at a swanky eco-village committed to a small environmental footprint, visit a wildlife refuge and enjoy a zip lining trip. |
|4||"Sardinia"||July 10, 2020|
|On an Island that boasts a notable number of centenarians, Zac rethinks his view on nutrition as he ponders how the locals live such long, healthy lives. |
|5||"Lima"||July 10, 2020|
|Following a crash course in apple growing, Zac and Darin head to Peru to delve into potato cryopreservation, biopiracy and the sport of sandboarding. |
|6||"Puerto Rico"||July 10, 2020|
|In the devastating wake of Hurricane Maria, Zac explores sustainability in the region, where he meets chef José Andrés, milks a goat and eats ceviche. |
|7||"London"||July 10, 2020|
|After a beekeeping stop on a New York City rooftop, Zac checks out London's pollution-reduction efforts, from wall gardening to trash collecting. |
|8||"Iquitos"||July 10, 2020|
|Zac boosts his immune system in the Amazon rainforest before climbing a tree, exploring ayahuasca tourism and watching his dinner wriggle on a plate. |
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 68% based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 6.33/10 for the series. The website's critical consensus states, "Zac Efron's earnest exploration certainly comes off as Down to Earth, but the show's lack of focus undermines its important environmental message." Metacritic gave the series a weighted average score of 60 out of 100 based on 4 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Ed Cumming of The Independent rated the show two stars out of five, saying "There must be a narrow band of people who care enough about Efron to tune in, but not enough about the environment to find this hopelessly simplistic." At Mashable, Alison Foreman was lukewarm, calling it "a fun enough, silly enough, educational enough trip worth taking if you love Zac or believe you have the capacity to love Zac. But you must love Zac to love Down to Earth."
Writing for the McGill Office for Science and Society, Jonathan Jarry argues the show is basically an advertisement for Darin Olien and the pseudoscientific products he espouses, from cancer-preventing superfoods to self-pasteurized raw goat milk. Jarry states that "the show consistently uses genuine ecological concerns to make us accept claims that do not hold water."
Quoting Jarry, as well as Joseph Schwarcz and Timothy Caulfield, Maggie Lange at Vice includes the show in a growing catalogue of Netflix programming promoting questionable health advice and pseudoscience. "What’s most frustrating about this show is not its sprinkles of bunk; the most frustrating thing about this show is that it mixes bunk with earnest reporting."
In Insider, Lindsay Dodgson writes that "Olien acts as Efron's sidekick and health guru, but much of the supposed science he parrots throughout the series is unverified or disproven", then goes on to list eight health claims made in the series that are in fact wrong.
Emma Baty at Cosmopolitan and Daniel Fienberg at The Hollywood Reporter both focus on the superficiality of the information presented, with Efron and Olien barely taking the time to express enthusiasm about a topic ("Dude!") before moving on to something else.
- Sánchez, Fernanda. "Down To Earth, la nueva (e imperdible) serie documental con Zac Efron". Vogue (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 July 2020.
- Spencer, Samuel (July 13, 2020). "'Down to Earth': Meet Zac Efron's Co-Host Darin Olien". Newsweek.
- Jarry, Jonathan (16 July 2020). "Beware the Insidious Nonsense of Netflix's Zac Efron Travelogue Show". McGill Office for Science and Society. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
- Anderson, Hayley (2020-07-14). "Down to Earth with Zac Efron location: Where was Down to Earth with Zac Efron filmed?". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
- Cremona, Patrick. "First look at Zac Efron's Netflix travel documentary Down to Earth". radiotimes.com. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
- Lange, Maggie (2020-07-30). "What's Up With All The Sketchy Pseudoscience On Netflix?". www.vice.com. Retrieved 2021-02-07.
- "Down to Earth with Zac Efron". Netflix. Netflix. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
- "Down to Earth with Zac Efron: Season 1 (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
- "Down to Earth with Zac Efron: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
- Cumming, Ed (2020-07-09). "Netflix eco-series Down to Earth with Zac Efron is hopelessly simplistic – review". The Independent. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
- Lange, Maggie (30 July 2020). "Netflix's Wellness Programming Is Irresponsible and Misleading". Vice. Archived from the original on 30 July 2020. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
- Dodgson, Lindsay (3 August 2020). "All the problematic pseudoscience shared by Zac Efron's health guru and guests in his new Netflix show 'Down to Earth'". Insider.
- Baty, Emma (10 July 2020). "It's Fun to Watch Zac Efron Travel the World, but That's the Only Draw of His Show Down to Earth". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
- Fienberg, Daniel (9 July 2020). "'Down to Earth With Zac Efron': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
- Cobb, Kayla (2020-07-10). "'Down to Earth' Proves That Zac Efron Was Meant to be a Travel Host". Decider. Retrieved 2020-07-16.