The Bottom Line
- Unique premise
- Appealing stars in Elijah Wood and Jason Gann
- Occasional flashes of weird inspiration
- Premise proves limiting
- Falls back on safe sitcom-style jokes
- Supporting characters lack dimension
- Premieres June 23, 2011, at 10 p.m. EST on FX
- Stars Elijah Wood, Jason Gann, Fiona Gubelmann, Dorian Brown
- Developed for U.S. TV by David Zuckerman
Guide Review - 'Wilfred' Premiere Episodes
Wilfred settles into the role of the semi-antagonist friend who pushes the nervous, insecure Ryan to take more chances with his life. While that can take the show to some dark places, it ultimately falls back on a lot of familiar jokes and sitcom devices (the main storyline of the second episode involves Ryan promising never to lie to Wilfred, and then immediately being put in a situation in which he has to do just that). There are some funny bits that take advantage of the clash between Wilfred’s canine nature and human appearance, including an amusing scene in which he chases the light from a laser pointer, but most of the time the show is like any other about two friends with differing personalities. That’s not to say that decent acting and strong character development couldn’t make it worth watching, but Wilfred doesn’t quite have that yet, either.
Jenna is little more than an unattainable cipher for Ryan to pine after, and Ryan’s sister Kristen is a stereotypical nag. Even Ryan himself develops little beyond the fussy personality on display in the first episode as he embarks on a failed suicide attempt. Those hints at darker storytelling are generally brushed aside in favor of obvious hijinks, although later episodes may spend more time exploring the show’s more complex themes. Until then, the best it can offer is stoner jokes and the diminishing comedic potential of a guy dressed as a dog.