Wilfred Seasons 1-4 DVD review

Sunday, 04 October 2015 23:00 Written by 

Wilfred Seasons 1-4 - Out now on DVDDark, anthropomorphic comedy Wilfred finally arrives as a complete DVD box set, and you could have won a copy with Cult TV - worth £99.99 - with three runners-up bagging prizes worth £24.99 each. This is the American remake of an Australian original series, staring Elijah Wood ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy) as Ryan Newman, an ex-lawyer suffering from chronic depression. Ryan is befriended by the neighbour's dog Wilfred, who bizarrely he perceives as a man in a dog-like onesie.

Wilfred (Jason Gann, reprising his role from the Oz version) is a normal dog to everyone else including his cute owner Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann - "Don't Blink"), but to Ryan he is a boisterous and very mischievous bloke who behaves like a spoilt and sexually-charged adolescent. The two characters form a strong bond but there is a constant psychological tussle between them for supremacy.

Re-envisioned by original creators Gann and Adam Zwar along with Family Guy co-creator David Zuckerman, this new take is hit because it preserves the best qualities of the original and uses them as the foundations for something more enduring and textured. The crude toilet humour is still present in abundance, especially Wilfred's penchant for humping stuffed creatures and obsessing over bodily functions, but there is plenty of character-driven drama to underpin it.

Ryan's mental well-being is regularly called into question; episodes delve into his character flaws such as introversion, self-doubt and self-loathing, and Wilfred can be depended on to build him up and typically then knock him right back down again.

The two protagonists have a great relationship, founded on friendship and antagonism and agitation in equal measure. As pathetic as Ryan can be, and as destructive and obstructive as Wilfred often is, the characters are both likeable and you will want to see how they turn out.

Wood and Gann play their roles with a surprising amount of range and subtlety, aided by the bubbly Gubelmann and Dorian Brown as Ryan's needy sister Kristen. Star guest turns come from Mary Steenburgen and later Mimi Rogers as Ryan's sanatorium-dwelling mother, James Remar as his stern father, Chris Klein as Jenna's dumb-jock beau and Allison Mack as one of Ryan's more long-term girlfriends.

The series strays into thriller and even horror and surreal fantasy territory occasionally (besides the ongoing presence of a man-dog, I mean!), especially in the final season, with aspects of Lost working their way into the narrative. As well as making you laugh out loud, the series has a cunning ability to move you and mess with your head, just as Wilfred appears to delight in toying with Ryan's mind.

I strongly recommend Wilfred to people who like their sitcoms to be a bit more involving and demanding than 25 minutes of the same nonsense over and over again. Admittedly, it appeals to me as a dog owner because it is amusing to see a man in a dog suit alternate between doing silly, dog-like things and also indulging in some of the worst human behaviour (doing drugs, getting drunk), but beyond that it is a series that keeps on giving. The plots burrow deeper and deeper into Ryan's psyche and constantly find new ways to entertain.

Special features include:

  • Mary Jane mash-up
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Wilfred & Bear: A Love Affair
  • Wilfred at Comic-Con 2011
  • Stay - Exclusive Short
  • Blooper Reel
  • News at Noon with Jenna
  • Wilfred/Ryan mash-up

This bonus content is more superficial than it might appear; some of the featurettes are simply clips edited together with no new material. A few episode commentaries would have been a nice addition. On the plus side, the DVD picture quality is pretty good.

Wilfred - The Complete Series: Seasons 1-4 (2011-2014) is out now from Fabulous Films. The 8-disc, 49-episode set has a ‘15’ certificate, a running time of 1,083 minutes approx, and an RRP of £99.99, or get it for less at www.culttvstore.com - separate box sets for Seasons 2, 3 and 4 are now available at £24.99 each.

Thanks to Fabulous Films, you had a chance of winning a Wilfred Complete Series 1-4 box set, with runners-up prizes of the Season 2, 3 and 4 box sets (one season per prize). You had to answer the following question.

One cast member appeared in both the original, Australian version of Wilfred, and the American remake Was it:

(a) Elijah Wood

(b) Jason Gann

(c) Fiona Gubelmann

The answer was (b) Jason Gann, and the winner of the Season 1-4 Box Set was Dawn Underwood of Paignton. The Season Two DVD set went to Herbert Appleby of Walthamstow, the Season Three DVD set to Jake Collin of Dunfermline, and the Season Four DVD set to Linda Barber of Denton. Well done all, and thanks to the over 400 people who entered - the largest entry number in quite some time!

 

 

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 07:15

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