‘Dogs’ is a feel-good tale about BFFs with tails
In case you’ve missed the memo, feelings are big on TV right now.
From NBC’s weekly tear duct workout “This Is Us” to Netflix’s emotion-stirring “Queer Eye,” audiences are down to be uplifted.
Enter “Dogs,” a six-episode docuseries poised to become the latest feel-good must-view.
As the title indicates, the characters at the center of this global tale about one of life’s most unbreakable bonds have tails.
In the second episode, viewers meet Zeus, a Siberian Husky trapped in Syria whose owner is willing to go to great lengths to be reunited. Another episode takes viewers to Lake Como, where an Italian fisherman’s 10-year-old lab, Ice, could melt even the most frozen heart. Then there’s Max, a loyal canine who lives in a Costa Rican rainforest with 1,000 other dogs saved from streets by a determined group of rescuers.
The series also introduces viewers to a number of heroes, the kind that are partial to fur instead of capes — like a woman who drives potential canine adoptees across the country in hopes of finding them forever homes in rescue-friendly New York City.
“I really was excited about the idea that you could enter worlds that you might not have access to through the love of a dog and see the connection there,” executive producer Amy Berg, who also directed two of the installments, told CNN. (In addition to Berg, critically hailed directors Roger Ross Williams, Heidi Ewing, Richard Hankin and T.J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay also helm episodes.)
The connection between an owner and their dog — and, at times, heroes and every dog — is largely the source of the magic in and beauty of “Dogs.”
Simply put: There’s a lot of dog-human hugs, awww-worthy snout close-ups and a beautiful score that will make any effort to keep emotional composure, well, ruff.
The social media reaction to the “Dogs’ trailer — which, if the comments are any indication, left a lot of people crying at their desks at work — caused executive producer Glen Zipper to feel compelled to clarify at every opportunity that “it’s not a sad show.”
“We’re very, very cautious about giving anyone any spoilers, but, suffice it to say Amy and I are equally uncomfortable with seeing anything terribly sad or animal put way,” he said. “We made a series through that lens and while there might be some challenging moments across the series, I think everyone will walk away from each episode feeling pretty happy.”
He added: “We think they’re good cries.”
The endings seen in the episodes are also not too far removed from the present-day. The last shooting day for the series was in late May — just a few months ago.
“They’re pretty much hot off the presses,” Zipper said.
The six episodes were filmed and edited over eight short months. The hardest part was, seemingly, choosing which stories to feature.
They’re eager to do more — if the present-day craving for TV that inspires feelings of joy attracts an audience large enough to earn them a green light from Netflix.
“We’re living in such divisive times right now, it seems like our bond with dogs is something that is so universal and no matter what end of the political spectrum you’re on. No matter what your belief system, it’s one thing that we’re all connected to,” Zipper said. “And in that one idyllic, uniformity of love that we all experience, hopefully we can find a little bit more than we have in common with each other through this show.”