Adapting any kind of entertainment for a different country’s viewing audience is something of a thankless task. Even if there isn’t a language barrier to crawl over, differences in cultural quirks and taste can leave an adaptation floundering before the first frame of video is shot.
Fortunately for the American adaptation of Wilfred, the appeal of a talking dog must be fairly universal. After two seasons of respectable ratings, the Australia-born dark comedy has officially been renewed for season 3.
In a press release dated yesterday, FX Productions announced that the network has ordered new episodes of Wilfred for 2013. Production on the upcoming season should begin shortly after the turn of the year and the subsequent episodes will air in June.
Trekking into areas far more bizarre than the usual live-action sitcom, Wilfred stars Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings, Sin City) as Ryan Newman, a deeply depressed man whose milquetoast suicide attempt is interrupted by his neighbor’s request to watch her dog. Ryan is bewildered, because Wilfred the dog appears to be an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed man in a dog suit . . . whom only Ryan can see. The series’ two seasons have followed Ryan and Wilfred as they bond, go on comic misadventures, and learn to embrace the inherent weirdness of the world. Wilfred also stars Fiona Gubelman (Blades of Glory) as Wilfred's owner and Dorian Brown (Roommates, Supernatural) as Ryan’s sister Kristen.
Wilfred is the brainchild of writers Adam Zwar and Jason Gann (who also plays the titular man in the dog suit). Originally a series on Australian television, Wilfred was adapted for American audiences by David Zuckermann. As of season 3, Zuckermann is stepping down as Wilfred’s showrunner, but will remain on the creative team as executive producer. In his place, series writers Eli Jorné and Reed Agnew will step up as the show's prime movers.
I have to admit an ignorance of Wilfred’s current creative arc, despite belly-laughing my way through its initial trailers in 2011. The cynic in me questions just how much comedic mileage a show can pull from the dissonance of Elijah Wood hanging around with an Australian in a dog costume. At what point will the show start circling around to the same gags about a dog who chain-smokes?
In spite of my pessimism, Wilfred has retained a sizable cable audience throughout both its seasons, so one can safely assume that the show has maintained a consistent comedic momentum. At the very least, the announcement of its renewal reminds me that I need to pick up the season 1 DVD set and finally make good on those trailer-based gut busters.
Wilfred will dig its way back onto television in June of 2013.
Source: FX Productions
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