Season 2 of F/X’s fiercely original sitcom comes to DVD and Blu-ray in time for the Season 3 premiere. Of course, I say “fiercely original” even though Wilfred is an adaptation of an Australian TV series. I actually watched some of the original series out of curiosity and have to say that I think the American version is much better. And to put that in context, that never happens. The American Coupling was doomed to fail, the American The Office is as close as I come to blasphemy, and the American Skins was watered down and lame. The only other example of a truly superior American adaptation of a British show I can think of is Shameless.
The concept behind Wilfred is pretty simple: Ryan (Elijah Wood; The Lord of the Rings) is a former lawyer with a crush on his next door neighbor, Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann), and happens to be best friends with Jenna’s dog Wilfred, who he sees and interacts with as a full-grown man (Jason Gann reprising his role from the Australian series). Episode by episode, Wilfred tries to manipulate Ryan into doing various crazy things while consistently maintaining their bizarre little friendship.
It’s difficult to judge whether this second season is better than the first, but it’s certainly as good. There are various things about this show that keep it moving at a consistently entertaining. The writers, armed with Gann’s performance are able to keep fresh takes on a dog’s existence coming in each and every episode, and this leads to a lot of effective comedy about things human beings come up against every day, but with the added slant of seeing these issues through a dog’s eyes. Wilfred’s take on sexuality, friendship, over-indulgence, and so on are all grounded in a believable dog sensibility, but the paradox of the character being both a dog and a man as far as Ryan can see is apparently limitless.
Season 2 sees some fresh faces joining the cast of characters of Wilfred including Allison Mack (Smallville), who plays Ryan’s new love interest, Rob Riggle (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), Steven Webber (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) and even a guest role for Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting). These new characters in addition to the central cast and some familiar faces from season 1 make for a thoroughly enjoyable season of television.
Episodes that stand out this season include one in which Wilfred loses his sense of smell and it helps him to think more critically, ultimately causing a downward spin into a gothic, melodramatic existence in which Wilfred contemplates his own existence like he’s Edgar Allen Poe. Another great episode sees Dwight Yoakam return as Wilfred’s advisory Bruce to play pointless games with Ryan in his basement. Each episode brings something fresh to the table and pushes us toward a new cliffhanger, which is sure to have the more philosophically inclined viewers debating until Season 3 hits our screens.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox.