Wilfred (U.S. TV series)
Wilfred is an Australian-American comedy television series that aired from June 23, 2011 to August 13, 2014 for a total of four seasons. Based on the Australian SBS One series of the same name, it stars Elijah Wood and series co-creator Jason Gann, reprising his role of the eponymous dog. The series was adapted for the American television channel FX by Family Guy veteran David Zuckerman. Season 4 premiered on June 25, 2014. Wilfred moved to FXX for its fourth and final season.
|Developed by||David Zuckerman|
|Country of origin||
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||49 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||20-26 minutes|
|Original release||June 23, 2011– August 13, 2014|
|Related shows||Wilfred (Australian TV series)|
The show follows a young man named Ryan (Elijah Wood) and his neighbor's dog Wilfred (Jason Gann). In the opening episode, Ryan concocts a drug cocktail in order to die by suicide. After this failed attempt, Ryan's neighbor, Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann), knocks on his door to ask him to look after Wilfred, whom Ryan sees and hears as a man in a dog costume.
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||13||June 23, 2011||September 8, 2011||FX|
|2||13||June 21, 2012||September 20, 2012|
|3||13||June 20, 2013||September 5, 2013|
|4||10||June 25, 2014||August 13, 2014||FXX|
- Elijah Wood as Ryan Newman; an ex-shark lawyer. He begins the series with harsh depression and suicidal thoughts. He continues to be clingy and dependent with Wilfred, and harbors an unrequited love with Jenna.
- Jason Gann as Wilfred; foul mouthed and blunt, loves his owner Jenna, and is cocky and jealous of well-behaved dogs. He has a love of stuffed giraffes.
- Fiona Gubelmann as Jenna Mueller. A charming TV personality, she sometimes gets caught in the cross hairs of Wilfred and Ryan's shenanigans. She is constantly trying to make things work out with her on-again-off-again beau Drew.
- Dorian Brown as Kristen Newman; Ryan's sister, single mom, seemingly dependent on Ryan, as pointed out by Wilfred.
Wilfred is based on the critically acclaimed Australian series of the same name and was adapted for FX by Family Guy veteran David Zuckerman. Wilfred is produced by FX Productions while the executive producers include: Zuckerman; Rich and Paul Frank; Jeff Kwatinetz; and Joe and Ken Connor from the original Australian series. Wilfred co-creator Jason Gann and Randall Einhorn serve as co-executive producers. Einhorn directed 10 episodes of the first season and Victor Nelli, Jr. directed three. The pilot episode was filmed in summer 2010, written by Zuckerman, and directed by Einhorn.
Adapting the Australian seriesEdit
There was interest in continuing the series on SBS, and even talk about a possible movie. However, Renegade Film, the company that produced the original Australian series, was unable to sell it in its original version to any other countries. Gann left to create an entirely new series for the US that used the format of the original and additional Australian seasons were not pursued. Gann was initially hesitant to make a US series stating, "I had no interest in making the same show again, just surrounded by people with different accents." However, the show in the US differed greatly from the original series.
When the show moved to the US, head writer and show creator Jason Gann took a more advisory role in the writers room, only penning six episodes of the show's four season run. Gann has expressed that writing the US version is more taxing than writing the Australian version. His pitches often got rejected and ultimately in the transition he gave up a lot of creative control. This resulted in departing from the Australian series in several ways.
When David Zuckerman took over the series he expressed that the show's lack of international appeal was due to a lack of clear rules that the fantasy elements of the show could follow. He made it a priority to set and follow certain rules in the new series. In reworking the character of Wilfred and his relationship with Ryan for an American audience, Gann used the film My Bodyguard as a reference point. The show took on a much more lighthearted and hopeful tone as the original series was often cited as being extremely cynical.
The show was pitched to Gann as a whole different vehicle for the same character he played in the Australian version. Because the character was so crude, and because he'd have to be in a dog suit all the time, Gann originally didn’t want to play Wilfred. However, he feels the character is actually very different from Australian version having a lot more sides and overall "more fun."
On more than one occasion Gann has suggested that part of the reason the show had poor ratings in the US was because the show got bogged down in mythology and at times made comedy secondary stating, "Season Three, we really tried to steer it back closer to where we were Season One, and make it really comedically satisfying. I really felt we achieved that, but it wasn’t enough, I guess." 
After the close of the final season in the US, Gann has considered going back and doing a third Australian season.
The casting of Elijah Wood as Ryan was announced on June 29, 2010. Ryan is described as "an introverted and troubled young man struggling unsuccessfully to make his way in the world until he forms a unique friendship with Wilfred, his neighbor's canine pet." Series co-creator Jason Gann also reprises his role of the eponymous dog Wilfred, a character described by Zuckerman as being a mixed breed dog who is "part Labrador Retriever and part Russell Crowe on a bender". Fiona Gubelmann stars as Jenna, Wilfred's owner and Ryan's next-door neighbor, who works as a local news producer. Dorian Brown was then cast as Kristen, Ryan's controlling and condescending older sister.
Critical reception of the US adaptation of Wilfred was comparable to that of the original Australian series, with generally positive reviews. Review aggregation website Metacritic gives season 1 of the series an average score of 67 out of 100 based on reviews from 25 critics. Curt Wagner, writing in Redeye (The Chicago Tribune), said "Stuffed with absurd situations and piles of bad taste, Wilfred is the strangest new show on TV. And the funniest." David Wiegand, in the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote, "Wilfred works on many levels, something that may not become apparent until after you stop laughing."
Some of the less positive reviews included Mike Hale, who wrote in The New York Times: "Some shows aspire to cult status; this one goes straight there, practically bypassing the need to be broadcast at all," but concluded: "Gann's bits of doggie business ... are reliably humorous, but beyond that the show doesn’t offer a lot of bark or bite." Tom Gliatto of Weekly also gave a less positive review, calling the show "The Odd Couple redefined by psychosis and whimsy. I'm not wagging my tail."
The series premiere hit a positive note with viewers as it became the highest-ranking debut sitcom ever for FX Networks. It continued to remain in the top 10 shows for Thursday night cable television throughout the first season. It was picked up for a second season on August 6, 2011. The second season aired from June 21 to September 20, 2012. On October 31, 2012, Wilfred was renewed for Season 3, which aired from June 20 to September 5, 2013. On October 2, Wilfred was renewed for a fourth and final season, which aired from June 25 to August 13, 2014.
The final season of Wilfred aired in 2014. The show moved from FX to FXX for its final 10 episode run. The crew was given warning well ahead of time so the show's creators could tie up loose ends with the final season. The decision to end the series was ultimately made by FX. Show creator Jason Gann was intent on continuing the series stating, "We would have kept going. I think you would have to be crazy to quit a job like this." The return of show runner David Zuckerman, coupled with the focus on answering some of the show's deeper mythological questions, prevented Jason Gann from writing any episodes in the final season.
Elijah Wood has stated that the fourth episode of the final season is one of his favorites of the series saying "I read the season kind of in order and I read like one through three and then I read four and it just totally blew my mind." Elijah Wood's friend has taken the basement set and recreated it at his house. Wood himself has possession of a stuffed bear and a bong made from a Gatorade bottle, both featured prominently throughout the series.
In an October 2013 interview, Jason Gann expressed that a possible movie is completely out of his hands, but if fans wanted it, he could see the show coming back in a streaming capacity much like Arrested Development. In a June 2014 interview, Gann stated that he and Elijah Wood would be interested in a Wilfred film "if the story is there…"
- Australia – Premiered on Eleven, June 28, 2011, in the Tuesday 9:30 timeslot, and currently repeated on The Comedy Channel in the Monday 9pm slot. Season 3 screened on Eleven on Sundays at 10.30pm.
- Brazil - Premiered on FOX, June 28, 2011
- Belgium – Premiered on 2BE, March 21, 2013
- Canada – Premiered on October 31, 2011, in the Thursday 10 pm timeslot, as an anchor title for the launch of the FX Canada network.
- Ireland – Airs on RTÉ Two since June 2013.
- Philippines – Premiered on Jack TV, March 20, 2012, in the 9.00 pm timeslot.
- United Kingdom – Premiered on BBC Three, August 16, 2011, in the 10.30 pm timeslot. Season 2 premiered on August 16, 2012, during the 10 pm timeslot, remaining on BBC Three.
- Latin America – Premiered on FX, November 13, 2011, in the Sunday 11.00 pm timeslot.
- Russia – Premiered on 2×2, August 27, 2012.
- Spain – Premiered on FOX, September 14, 2012.
- South Africa – Currently airs on Vuzu,
- Portugal – Premiered on FX, February 13, 2012.
- Poland – Premiered on FOX Poland, June 11, 2012, repeated on Eska TV from September 23, 2013
- Germany – Premiered on ProSieben Fun, February 24, 2013
- Turkey – Premiered on FX, March 1, 2013
- Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina – Premiered on FOX, March 2013
- Austria, Switzerland – Premiered on ProSieben, June 17, 2013
- Netherlands – Premiered on Comedy Central, March 2, 2014
After winning awards at MIPCOM in 2013, Renegade films sold the Wilfred concept to Russian producers. A third version is being created for Russian networks retitled Charlie.
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