Blu-ray Review “Wilfred: The Complete Season 2”

Starring: Elijah Wood, Jason Gann
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: June 18, 2013
Run Time: 286 minutes

Season: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

After I was exposed to the first season of this show, which I watched straight through in one day, I was super excited for the second season. I have to admit though, I was a little let down. When I interviewed Jason Gann (read here), he said the second season was a different, a little darker but I feel it lost a little bit from the first season. Don’t get me wrong it is still pretty funny and completely out-there.  I have a feeling after interviewing Elijah Wood (read here) for season three that it is coming back with a vengeance.  If you haven’t seen this show, I would recommend checking out the first season before you just into this one but it is still worth checking out.

Official Premise: Elijah Wood and Jason Gann return for another fearlessly funny season of Wilfred…the story of a dog and his man. Following the first season’s cliff-hanger finale, Season Two finds Ryan making a fresh start with a real job and a new girlfriend. But with Wilfred’s help, Ryan discovers he still has a lot to learn about life, including ‘squishy’ viral videos and the ongoing cuteness war between dogs and babies. Get your paws on Season Two — with a shocking season-ending revelation that will change everything.

The Blu-ray presentation is impressive for this season, it is on par with the first season.  As this show is a straight forward black comedy, the 1080p transfer doesn’t blow you away but looks great. Same goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which works with the jokes and hilarious dialogue. The special features are a little light even less than the first season Blu-ray.  We get some decent deleted scenes and a blooper reel.  There are is a new short called “Stay” and a featurette “News at Noon with Jenna”.  There is also a fun “Wilfred/Ryan Mash-up” included.  Decent extras but I would have loved to see more specifically with commentary tracks, which I asked for in my review for the first season Blu-ray review (read here).  Oh well, I can hope for season three 😉


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Elijah Wood talks about Season 3 of FX’s “Wilfred”

Since his film debut in “Back to the Future Part 2,” Elijah Wood has grown up before our eyes. From the young boy dealing with life in films like “North” and “The War” to the adult hobbit Frodo in Peter Jackson’s Academy Award winning “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, he has never failed to impress an audience. This week he continues the third season of the highly popular television show “Wilfred,” which airs Thursday nights on FX. While promoting the show, Wood took some time to answer some questions.

Media Mikes: Do you sometimes have a hard time just holding it together and keeping a straight face when you film?
Elijah Wood: Oh yeah. I would say even more this season oddly enough than other seasons. For some reason I sort of busted up more this season because of what Jason [Gann] was doing than ever before. I’m so used to seeing him in the dog suit and to a certain degree the context of a lot of the situations I’m very used to but it still definitely serves to make me laugh. It’s a wonderful environment to work in. It’s something that all of us as a crew are kind of constantly laughing so it’s a pretty wonderful thing to go in to work to that every day.

MM: Do you think Wilfred should have a fixed ending point or can it just continue on indefinitely? EW: That’s a very good question. I think that the structure of the show that’s been created is such that it’s about a guy who is essentially in recovery and trying to figure out what his path in life is. This manifestation of ‘Wilfred’ has provided essentially a push for him to kind of figure that out. I think that can only really last for so long to believe that we are dealing with a man who is kind of struggling for answers to these questions and in this sort of existential question period of his life and in recovery. I don’t know that we can believe that for ten seasons. I think to a certain degree there has to be a resolve or a move in a certain direction, so I don’t know. I think…to the fairness of the construction of the show… I think it can only survive for so long. I would hate to make the show kind of carry on for too long and it not necessarily support what we’ve created, if that makes sense.

MM: Definitely. When you play Ryan, do you have in your mind an answer to why he sees Wilfred in order to help you play him?
EW: I do yeah. I have an idea. I’ve kind of made up my mind as to what I think Wilfred is. I don’t know that that’s reflective of what the character has decided though, and to a certain degree I think Ryan—when Ryan meets Wilfred in the first season it’s really within an episode in a way that he sort of accepts Wilfred’s existence. I think from there on out even though there are these questions and he does question what ‘Wilfred’ is—I think there’s a deeper level of acceptance and recognizing that ‘Wilfred’s’ purpose albeit uncertain as to where he’s manifesting from and what it means—his purpose is ultimately positive and that is helping him. I don’t know what Ryan has decided because I think Ryan is clearly questioning, but I have an idea. I think that perspective probably does help me in playing the character, but I think overall there’s just a sense of general acceptance for Ryan.

MM: When you approach a character, as far as developing it, do you take a different approach as opposed to when you’re working on a film and episodic television?
EW: Not really. I mean the only real difference between television and film—I mean there are a few I suppose, but predominantly it’s the pace to which you work. But the development of the character or the process for playing the character isn’t necessarily different. The other main difference between film and television is that you have the opportunity to flush out a character over a longer period of time whereas a film you’re confined to two hours, three hours, whatever it may be. But really it’s very much the same approach that you would take when you play a character in any medium I think.

Jason Gann talks about season two of FX’s “Wilfred”

Jason Gann is the co-creator and star of FX’s hit comedy series “Wilfred”. The show begins its second season on Thursday June 28th, 2012. “Wilfred” was adapted from an Australian series, also created by Gann. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jason about his role in the show, how he feels this differs from the Australian series and also what we can expect this season.

Mike Gencarelli: If you had to explain “Wilfred” to a person that hasn’t watched season one, what would you say?
Jason Gann: I would say it is like Mr. Ed on crack-cocaine. It is a messed up story about a suicidal dude that sees his next door neighbor’s dog, as a talking man in a dog suit who smokes bong and terrorizes him, though at the same time aims to save his life.

MG: Do you need to see the first season in order to enjoy the second?
JG: No, I don’t think so. That is why we did the special preview episode with Robin Williams prior to our season two opener. We needed to tie up the loose ends from the season one finale. We also wanted to reintroduce the show to a new audience. With the season two premiere episode, it is a nice introduction to the show. It is always a challenge to match each episode for people to be able to join on mid-way through. I am very aware of that though while working in the writers room.  If I feel that something going to alienate our new audience then I will try and steer it back. It is challenging as well because there is an arc that is happening with Ryan and Wilfred’s journey. So hopefully it is funny enough and then people will go back and watch the first season and catch up. It’s almost like every episode needs to be self-contained in its own right yet.  Though we still wanted to entertain and give a little more to the fans of the show. We tried to always leave little Easter eggs throughout the episodes for big fans of the show.

MG: Creatively for you, what is your process with developing season two? Are you looking to recreate from the original Australian series or start fresh?
JG: I didn’t want to do the same show again with American accents. I was very trepidatious about even playing Wilfred. Originally, I wanted someone else to play him. It is really the brain child of my manager Jeff Kwatinetz, who solved the dilemma. I play the role again but it be a different type of show. We met with show-runners and David Zuckerman came back with this fresh take which focused on Ryan’s psychiatric issues. That is something that we never really addressed, mentioning it maybe only one of twice in the Australian version. In the American series, it is really more about Ryan but the stories are still driven by Wilfred. Now that the show is in its second season, the Australian series seems like a high school version of the show to me. David told me, when he pitched us, that he was a big fan of the original and didn’t want to remake it. He wanted to make a different gig with the characters he loved and so that they can stand each side-by-side proudly. I think we used like 4 or 5 jokes in the pilot that came from the Australian series to help us set it up. We also only did 16 episodes of the Australian show and already we have done 26 of the American show. So I am really proud of this series.

MG: How has it been working with Elijah Wood this season?
JG: Elijah and I have always had this great chemistry from the beginning. It is funny because we are very different individuals and do not have a lot in common as men. But when we come together and work with these characters something really special happens. It is a bond that feels like family, really. In season one, I was a lot more polite. In season two, [laughs] well we all have a lot more fun. I don’t know if its because we can relax since we have an audience that loves our show already but we have purpose now and this great confidence. Originally, we really didn’t know who the character of Ryan was. But Elijah brought some much depth to his role. During our final screen tests with Elijah, I got into costume as Wilfred to give him an idea of what it would be like. While I was standing behind him, due to our stature, David said to me that it looks like Wilfred was his bodyguard. That really inspired me to bring out more of this protector in Wilfred that didn’t exist in the Australian version. Where as now Wilfred is trying to help Ryan become a man and survive in the world and it gives it more purpose. We just have fun and I hope it shows.

MG: Tell us about wearing your dog suit? Any behind-the-scene stories?
JG: People ask me if it is hard. I always say that it is as hard as it looks. Sometimes when I realize it is hard, I go through this euphoria…like this crazy state. People are telling me to take the suit off that I must be hot and I am just like “No, let’s do another! Let’s do another!”. Probably some semi-masochistic part of me, as I am losing my mind. It is like the pain when you are at the gym, it hurts but feels good.

MG: You guys must have massive amounts of outtakes, you ever find it hard to keep it as serious as you do?
JG: Actually last year Elijah only broke once and I think it was on the last day of shooting.  This year on season two, I think he broke on like day two and a couple of dozen times after, as did I though [laughs]. There is one thing in particular that happens between Wilfred and Ryan in episode seven, which I can’t say unfortunately. I couldn’t do a take without laughing. I had to shoot it separately without him. I told them we could do that scene 100 times and I will laugh 100 times. That was pretty funny!

MG: What do you enjoy most about working on this show?
JG: When Wilfred was with Raffi (the toy Giraffe) in season one, he was massaging her neck, then bending the neck backwards in order to give a blow job [laughs]. When we came up with that in the writers room, I said “I think we can safely say that nothing like this has ever been on TV before.” When we have moments like that I get really excited…and luckily we have several this year.

MG: Robin Williams, Rob Riggle, Steven Weber and Allison Mack all guest starred in season two’s preview episode, who else can we expect from season two?
JG: Unlike last year, when we just had one guest star per episode, Robin Williams and Allison Mack will also come back for a few episodes. We also go into Ryan’s work environment for a while, so that is different. We also have returning guests from season one like Chris Klein and Mary Steenburgen back. It is really humbling to get people that one our show. Also it wasn’t our intention to make this season more dark, even though I think it is funnier.  But it does get a little dark and I look forward to seeing that as well. I hope everyone enjoys it.


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Blu-ray Review “Wilfred: The Complete First Season”

Starring: Jason Gann, Elijah Wood
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Running Time: 286 minutes

Season: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

I have to admit, I was not aware of this show during it airing on FX last summer. I am sure glad that I had the opportunity to review the first season’s Blu-ray because it is not one of my favorite shows on television. “Wilfred” is adapted from an Australian-show, also created by Jason Gann. The show is so unique and really delivers some great laughs. Jason Gann is such a laugh riot playing Wilfred the dog, he is subtle and really steals the show. Elijah Wood is also amazing in this role, who is the only person able to communicate with Wilfred. It is a complicated and obscure relationship but very entertaining. I am looking forward to season two very much premiering June 28th on FX.

Elijah Wood stars as Ryan, a suicidal ex-lawyer, who doesn’t have the best luck. He forms a unique relationship with his neighbor’s dog Wilfred. Though Ryan sees Wilfred different from everyone else, as a weed-smoking, foul-mouthed Australian man in a dog suit (Jason Gann). The two spend a lot of time together and also get into a lot of trouble together. As the season goes on Wilfred seems to push Ryan’s sanity of what is real and what he is capable of.

The video and audio on this release are good but nothing special. The 1080p transfer is simple yet effective for this show, especially on its low-budget. The comedy really doesn’t benefit much from its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, though it does sound good. The special features on the Blu-ray are impressive. “Wilfred at Comic-Con 2011” features the show’s Comic-Con panel. There are a good 15 minutes of deleted scenes, some better than others. “Wilfred and Bear: A Love Affair” is a montage of scenes with Wilfred mating with his friend. “Maryjane Mashup” is a montage of pot-smoking scenes. Lastly “Fox Movie Channel Presents: Life After Film School with Jason Gann” is a Q&A with Jason Gann. I would have loved to seen some commentary track included for this season. Maybe on the season two Blu-ray?


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