I am both gladdened and saddened by FX’s decision to renew Wilfred for a fourth and final season. I’ve been reviewing the dark comedy since its pilot episode first aired in 2011 and have found oodles of enjoyment from its twisted storytelling, which focuses on Ryan (Elijah Wood) and the bizarre life lessons he learns from a dog who looks like an Australian man in a dog costume: the titular Wilfred (Jason Gann). The series has never been a heavy hitter in the ratings, but it’s one of the more well written – and often beautifully shot – sitcoms. It is for that reason that Wilfred deserves one more season.
Nothing is more disheartening than a series that isn’t allowed to reach its conclusion. When Wilfred’s third season began spiralling downwards in the ratings – the season averaged only 580,000 total viewers – I became concerned FX would cancel the series before it could have its proper ending. But, as THR reported, FX proved itself to be merciful and granted Wilfred one last season to wrap up its story. Season 4 will be 10 episodes, down from the usual 13. On top of that, the series is being moved to FX’s sister network, FXX, where it will become roommates with the likes of The League and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
I would’ve gladly liked Wilfred to carry on for another few years, but I’ll take this shrunken final season over more seasons and no ending. At long last we’re going to – presumably – get the answer to the question: What is Wilfred? Will the series have the balls to give us a straight answer, or will it end in ambiguity. Wilfred is certainly a series that loves noncommittal answers, but since it has the opportunity to set the record straight, I hope it levels with us.
As part of the decision for Season 4 to be its last, Wilfred will see the return of David Zuckerman – who developed the series – to day-to-day operations after taking a reduced role during Season 3. He will be co-showrunner with Season 3’s Reed Agnew and Eli Jorne.