Wilfred (U.S. TV series)

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GenreBlack comedy
Created by
Based onWilfred
Developed byDavid Zuckerman
Directed by
Country of originAustralia United States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes49 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Mark Grossan
  • Reed Agnew
  • Eli Jorné
  • Susan V. McConnell
Production location(s)California
  • Bradford Lipson
  • Kurt Jones
  • Tom Magill
Running time20-26 minutes
Production company(s)Zook, Inc.
Prospect Park
Renegade Australia
SBS Australia
FX Productions
Distributor20th Television
Original networkFX (2011–13)
FXX (2014)
Original releaseJune 23, 2011 (2011-06-23) – August 13, 2014 (2014-08-13)
Related showsWilfred (Australian 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.[1]


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.

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired Network
1 13 June 23, 2011 (2011-06-23) September 8, 2011 (2011-09-08) FX
2 13 June 21, 2012 (2012-06-21) September 20, 2012 (2012-09-20)
3 13 June 20, 2013 (2013-06-20) September 5, 2013 (2013-09-05)
4 10 June 25, 2014 (2014-06-25) August 13, 2014 (2014-08-13) 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.[2] Wilfred is produced by FX Productions while the executive producers include: Zuckerman;[3][4][5] 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.[3] The pilot episode was filmed in summer 2010,[4][5] written by Zuckerman, and directed by Einhorn.[5]

Unlike the Australian version—which concentrated equally on Wilfred, his owner, and her boyfriend—the American version is presented as a buddy comedy between Wilfred and Ryan.[6]

Adapting the Australian series[edit]

There was interest in continuing the series on SBS, and even talk about a possible movie.[7] However, Renegade Film, the company that produced the original Australian series, was unable to sell it in its original version to any other countries.[8] 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."[7] 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.[9] 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.[7] 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.[7] The show took on a much more lighthearted and hopeful tone as the original series was often cited as being extremely cynical.[8]

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.[7] However, he feels the character is actually very different from Australian version having a lot more sides and overall "more fun."[7]

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." [10]

After the close of the final season in the US, Gann has considered going back and doing a third Australian season.[9]


The casting of Elijah Wood as Ryan was announced on June 29, 2010.[4][5] 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."[11] 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".[4][5] Fiona Gubelmann stars as Jenna, Wilfred's owner and Ryan's next-door neighbor, who works as a local news producer.[12] Dorian Brown was then cast as Kristen, Ryan's controlling and condescending older sister.[13]


Wilfred is shot using a DSLR, the Canon 7D, using a three camera setup.[14] The show is now shot with a DSLR, the Nikon D800.[15]


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.[16] 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."[17] David Wiegand, in the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote, "Wilfred works on many levels, something that may not become apparent until after you stop laughing."[18]

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."[19] 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."[20][21]

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.[22] The second season aired from June 21 to September 20, 2012. On October 31, 2012, Wilfred was renewed for Season 3,[23] which aired from June 20 to September 5, 2013. On October 2, Wilfred was renewed for a fourth and final season,[24] which aired from June 25 to August 13, 2014.

Final season[edit]

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.[25] 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."[9] 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.[9]

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."[26] 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.[26]

Possible film[edit]

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.[25] In a June 2014 interview, Gann stated that he and Elijah Wood would be interested in a Wilfred film "if the story is there…"[9]

International broadcast[edit]

Russian adaptation[edit]

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.[36]


  1. ^ Marechal, AJ. "FX's 'Wilfred' to End After Fourth Season". Variety. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  2. ^ Knox, David (May 12, 2010). "Wilfred is coming to America". TV.com. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Wilfred Official Website". FX. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d Ausiello, Michael (June 29, 2010). "Scoop: FX snags Elijah Wood for new comedy 'Wilfred'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e Lang, Brent (June 29, 2010). "Elijah Wood to the Small Screen, for FX's 'Wilfred'". The Wrap. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
  6. ^ Curtis, Amy (July 12, 2011). "Interview With Fiona Gubelmann On Wilfred". We Got This Covered. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Keller, Joel. "Wilfred's Jason Gann on Bringing His Show to America, Elijah Wood's Appeal, and Writing for an Imaginary Man-Dog". Vulture. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  8. ^ a b Knox, David. "Wilfred: Old dog, new tricks". TV Tonight. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d e Barta, Preston. "Interview: WILFRED's Jason Gann On Hanging Up the Dog Suit". NT Daily.
  10. ^ Wilson, Kyle. "Interview: 'Wilfred' Star Jason Gann Talks the Mythology of the Final Season". Nerdrep.
  11. ^ "Elijah Wood as 'Ryan'". FX. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
  12. ^ "Fiona Gubelmann as 'Jenna'". FX. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
  13. ^ "Breaking News – Development Update: Thursday, December 2". TheFutonCritic.com. December 2, 2010. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  14. ^ "Interview with the dSLR professionals behind the "Wilfred" TV show". Eugenia's Rants and Thoughts. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Wilfred adds Nikon D800 it's hdslr mix" on Creativeplanetnetwork.com, article of 17 September 2012, online the 8 January 2014
  16. ^ "Wilfred".
  17. ^ Curt Wagner (June 22, 2011). "Review: FX's 'Wilfred' has a dog complex". Redeye (The Chicago Tribune). Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  18. ^ Wiegand, David (June 22, 2011). "'Wilfred' review: Show could be man's best friend". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  19. ^ Mike Hale (June 22, 2011). "Two Men Hang Out on a Couch. But One Appears to Be a Dog". The New York Times. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  20. ^ Gliatto, Paul & Chi, Tom (June 27, 2011). "Picks and Pans Main: TV". magazine. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  21. ^ Tucker, Ken (December 26, 2011). "Best (and Worst) TV of 2011". Entertainment Weekly.
  22. ^ Todd VanDerWerff August 6, 2011. "FX renews Wilfred, Louie, and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia | Newswire". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  23. ^ Bibel, Sara (October 31, 2012). "'Wilfred' Renewed by FX for Season 3". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2012.
  24. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (October 2, 2014). "'Wilfred' Renewed for Fourth and Final Season". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  25. ^ a b Marechal, AJ. "FX's 'Wilfred' to End After Fourth Season". Variety.
  26. ^ a b Barta, Preston. "Interview: Elijah Wood On the End of 'Wilfred'". NT Daily.
  27. ^ "US Wilfred premieres tonight; Renegade Films interview". Encore Magazine. June 28, 2011. Archived from the original on July 1, 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-09.
  28. ^ Alex Strachan (October 24, 2011). "Man & dog & man in dog suit". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved October 25, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  29. ^ Cassandra Szklarski (October 19, 2011). "Wilfred's surly Aussie in a bad dog suit anchors FX Canada launch". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  30. ^ "Wilfred Premiere on Jack TV". JackTV.com.ph. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  31. ^ "BBC Three - Wilfred, Series 1 - Episode guide". BBC.
  32. ^ "BBC Three - Wilfred - Episode guide". BBC.
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 6, 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  35. ^ http://www.wunschliste.de/tvnews/16964
  36. ^ Idato, Michael. "Wilfred producers seal Russian deal". The Sydney Morning Herald.

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