Zac Efron travels around the world with wellness guru Darin Olien in a new Netflix show, "Down to Earth with Zac Efron." The series was released in July and focuses on the way international cultures live sustainable and healthy lives.
The "High School Musical" series actor notes in the show that his inspiration began when he realized his contributions to society were all superficial, and he wanted to do more. When he met Olien, he wanted to learn more about wellness and a healthy lifestyle, and thus came their friendship, and eventually their show.
Each episode follows the duo as they travel to a new country to learn about the nation's specific efforts in sustainability and renewable energy while enjoying the local cuisine and lifestyle.
In the first episode, Efron and Olien travel to Iceland. While there, they visited a renewable energy site and ate at a local restaurant where they tried a dish made with reindeer. In another episode, they travel to Costa Rica where they went ziplining at a small eco-village and visited a wildlife refuge. These adventures continue in places like Sardinia, Lima and Paris.
The goal of these trips is to educate the hosts and their viewers about sustainability and healthy living. I will say that the information given in the shows is superficially educational. It doesn’t feel like you’re in science class, which is nice, yet you can still learn a lot and appreciate the efforts of other cultures.
Efron and Olien want to educate viewers on the choices we make every day and how it contributes to our health. In the second episode in Paris, they focus on water. Did you know that when you go to the grocery store to buy water, you actually shouldn’t buy purified water? (They would also argue that you shouldn’t buy water bottles regardless due to single-use plastic bottles, but I digress.)
They claim that purified water is bad for your body because you actually need all those minerals and nutrients that they filter out. Maybe it’s just me, but I had never thought about this before.
One thing that is bothersome about "Down to Earth with Zac Efron" is that there is a lack of a clear central focus. The content in each episode is all over the place. One minute the duo is at an apple orchard in New York, the next they’re learning about potato cryopreservation and going sandboarding in Peru.
The only episode in the series that has a clear focus is the fourth episode in Sardinia, Italy, where they focus entirely on their cuisine and how their diets contribute to a long, healthy life. As a girl who loves pasta and carbohydrates, this episode spoke to me.
It is refreshing to see Efron, who has been a Hollywood star since his teenage years, be such a real person. His personality shines through in every episode, and you can tell he is genuinely a down-to-earth guy.
Most celebrities who travel the world show off all the expensive things they’re doing and how their lives are superficially better than yours. This is not the case with Efron and Olien. They make jokes with everyone they meet and they really get to know each other. You can tell they are seriously thankful for the opportunity to learn from others.
Although this series is meant to be educational with a documentary style, it is incredibly entertaining. The episodes are easy viewing and you won’t get lost if you stop paying attention for a second, yet you never get bored.
The end goal of "Down to Earth with Zac Efron" is to inspire people to make better choices in their everyday lives for the sake of our own health and the planet. The duo stresses that even small choices, like the kind of water you drink every day, make a long-term difference in your quality of life.
Overall, I definitely recommend watching this show. Even just one episode can make you think about how we all function in the world around us.