Downward Dog – A New Series about A Human-like Dog
19 May, 2017

We have all seen our fair amount of television shows with dogs either being super heroic or simply downright silly.  Downward Dog, a new ABC comedy which premiered on Wednesday, May 17, which follows the life of a Pittsburgh millennial through the perspective of her devoted and philosophical dog Martin.

Downward Dog searched nationwide from shelters to find Martin, the dog.

To find the perfect pooch to play the soul-searching Martin, Downward Dog hosted a nationwide search across America’s shelters, because it was important to both Killen and Hodges that the star be a rescue mutt. After a whirlwind hunt, they encountered Ned at a Chicago shelter, where he had been waiting for a home for over a year. Ned nailed his tryout with a longing look.


Martin the dog isn’t exactly a talking dog but we can “hear” his thoughts

Martin isn’t a “talking dog” in the sense that he and Nan (Allison Tolman) have talks over breakfast. The idea is that Downward Dog reveals his thoughts through a deadpan voiceover (read by series creator Samm Hodges) as he loafs around the house, takes walks, and bestows affection upon whatever human happens to step into his path (but especially Nan, his one true love).  Martin and Nan work through their own neuroses and insecurities together.

Downward Dog is based on a web series of the same name

The show, based on Hodges’s web series of the same name, has a mockumentary style to it at times, letting Martin stare into the camera as his voiceover delivers musings on life, love, Nan, and the right to be his own dog.  The show is definitely concerned with Martin’s perspective on Nan’s attempts to make something fantastic of her life.

The series does get wacky but only from time-to-time

Sometimes Downward Dog inches its way towards the wackiness you would expect from a show about a talking dog, although that wackiness usually has less to do with Martin but with Nan’s jerk boss Kevin (Barry Rothbart).  And no matter what story it’s telling, the show is at its heart about ordinary people doing ordinary things.

Martin and Nan’s love is unconditional as we dog lovers appreciate

At home, we see Nan through Martin’s eyes, equal parts pitying and fiercely loving. Martin watches as Nan heats up hasty microwave dinners and keeps going back to her boyfriend, despite her best efforts to leave him behind and focus on work, with an expression as close to a furrowed brow as a lovable mutt could possibly get.

But no matter what Nan does or doesn’t do for him, Martin is always and forever in total awe of her. Nothing wrong with that!   And, now we need a series on cats!

Downward Dog premiered May 17 at 9:30 pm on will be on Tuesdays, starting May 23d at 8 pm on ABC.


Photo Credit :Craig Sjodin/ABC

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