‘Down to Earth With Zac Efron’ Review: A Treat Only For Fans Of The Actor

His curiosity is palpable, his desire to quench it is not

I can not count on my fingers the number of times I practically wanted to scream in frustration, every time actor Zac Efron or his “wellness expert” Darin Olien exclaimed “Dude”, or replied to a fact or phenomenon in the “travel show” Down To Earth With Zac Efron, with a pumped “Whoa, that’s cool!” or “Bro” and simply moved on. Yeah, just like that, without explaining why they gave such over-enthusiastic reactions and zero follow-ups, apart from one weird scene with Efron’s half-baked attempts to explain how tectonic plates work. 

On paper, Down To Earth With Zac Efron, complete with voiceovers from Efron, showcases him and his self-proclaimed wellness guru, Darin Olien as they set on a journey to discover and experience healthy and sustainable lifestyle choices around the globe. 

But in reality, sans any credible explanations and complete with flimsy attempts at defining things (where the geeky references to movies to explain things come in), Down To Earth is basically a compilation of things Zac Efron finds cool, not knowledgeable, but cool. Their exploration includes Costa Rica, Iceland, France, a water bar in West Hollywood, getting massages, making chocolate at an Omnom location in Reykjavík, going to hot springs and being served food, in every alternate shot. 

And oh, Zac Efron looking at the landscape wistfully. While I am like, “darn it, he is handsome”, it becomes old, very quickly, especially when the majority of their “explorations” fail to explain how they fit into the environmental mission of the show.

Watching Down To Earth With Zac Efron reminded me of that chemistry teacher who wanted me to stop making presentations carrying just the “what” and dive into the “why” and “how”. And just like I barreled through highschool turning a deaf ear to her suggestions, Zac Efron continues telling viewers about these sustainable ways of living for eight long episodes while sidestepping the necessity of diving deep into the topics and the inclusion of a possible call-to-action.

When it comes to exploring sustainable living and show how other countries are achieving this milestone, the show is very insightful. But while there is no questioning Efron’s bubbling curiosity in Down To Earth, his efforts to quench that curiosity and that of the viewers remains at introductory levels. And though Olien’s uncanny expressions of Gollum and Yoda are entertaining, they can only do so much in a series touted as a travel show.

What also doesn’t work is the complete focus on Zac Efron- while whatever Daran Olien could have added to the series takes a backseat from the very beginning, the locals who undoubtedly know more about their innovations barely get a chance to speak as the spotlight remains focused Efron. It would have been better if others, those more connected to the discoveries, were given the chance to share their narratives, instead of scenes upon scenes of the actor and Darin, getting massages and eating food. 

All in all, Down To Earth with Zac Efron is basically just Zac Efron’s passion for traveling the world and taking his shirt off. And if you started streaming the series as a mark of your “undying love” for the High School Musical actor, then despite all the glaring flaws and its inability to stay on track, it will be one treat for you wrapped in rippling muscles, blue eyes, and a bright smile that is known to melt quite a many hearts. 

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