February 3, 2023

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“Wilkowyje Ranch”: the series pleased, the movie… disappointed? There was no shortage of critical opinions

The series “Ranch” introduced viewers to the history of today’s famous Wilkowyj residents. The first episode appeared on the screens on March 5, 2006. The creators managed to involve so many famous and popular faces in the series that even they could not have predicted how successful the series would be. The first series was watched by nearly 4 million viewers on average, with more and more coming with each subsequent series. After several seasons, “Ranczo” was hailed at the Polish TV Series Festival as “the series of all time”. The series’ popularity is also reflected in its viewership – at its peak, the series was watched by as many as 10 million viewers!

The creators initially planned to end the series with a fourth series. Her last episode could be watched at the end of May 2009. However, the viewing results spoke for themselves – viewers want more from Wilkowyj. The fourth series of ‘Ranches’ attracted over 8 million viewers. No wonder the producers gave up and two years later the series was back on the air. The first episode of the fifth series of the cult series was watched by approximately 8.7 million Poles, with up to a third of the viewers being people between the ages of 16 and 49.

Viewers loved “Ranczo” for the warm-hearted way it showed them Polish rural life colliding with the big world. The lives of the residents of Wilkwegee are revolutionized when American Lucy Wilska moves into the village. A woman has inherited a manor house from her dead grandmother and instead of selling it, she decides to renovate it and stay in Poland to start a new life after her divorce. Together with the mayor and the parish priest (both played by the excellent Cesare Schack), he becomes one of the main characters in the rural life scene, beginning to introduce elements of the modern world step by step.

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The reality on the screen was not whitewashed. The series broke stereotypes about small-town dwellers. Wilkowyje was neither a picturesque village as Malczewski’s or Tetmajer’s paintings, nor an open-air museum closed to all novelties. Although the people of Wilkowyj initially approached Lucy’s thoughts with distance and even hesitation, they were eventually able to break through and open themselves to dialogue with others. The series’ characters were very human – no one was perfect, they each had their good and bad sides. Viewers could identify with the residents of Wilkwig, which made them more willing to support them in changes for the better. Rankzo treats its heroes with great sympathy.

On the wave of the series’ popularity, a full-length film was also shot – Wolf Ranch. However, the production, unlike the series, disappointed many viewers.

The movie “Ranczo Wilkowyje” was shown on the screens of Polish cinemas on Boxing Day, December 26, 2007. Filmed between the production of the second and third season of the series, the plot contained developing threads for the second installment of the TVP hit, but alternative solutions were woven into it, and the threads were implemented in production that were not continued in later seasons of the series.

The formula for Wojciech Adamczyk’s film differs greatly from what the director presented in the series version. It’s more “bold” – we have for example scenes showing nudity, profanity in Polish and English, or depicting nightmares. The camera moves differently. The film is not short of exciting scenes that are underlined by the expressive music.

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New characters are also introduced to the plot – including Lucy’s ex-husband – Louis (played by Radosław Pazora). A man comes to Wilkwig to win back his beloved, which greatly complicates the relationship between Lucy and Cozy. No one even suspects that the American, under the guise of great affection, is hiding a great secret that will affect not only his life, but also the future of Wilska and her lover.

The production, like the series “Ranczo”, was very popular, but it did not quite please the fans of the series. There was no shortage of critical comments.

– I love the series, it’s really funny, but the movie is weak…

The series “Ranch” is great, but this movie…the exact opposite

– There is no atmosphere here, there is a hectare

I think the movie could have been done better. In the series broadcast on TVP 1, there was more action and fun. It was a little boring, although, I confess, some scenes, as usual, were filmed with an unusual dose of humor – the viewers wrote.

Although fans of the story were divided about the inhabitants of Wilkwegee, the theme of making another feature film – “Ranch. The Witch’s Revenge” has been recurring for many years. People associated with the series have alternately confirmed and denied rumors of a return to the group, and the media has always picked up on the topic. Already in December 2018, Telewizja Polska was talking about the continuation of the series, and the whole team was anxiously awaiting the final decision of the television authorities, because it turned out that the creator of one of the biggest TV shows in recent years – Andrzej Grembowicz – died in November 2018. Before his death due to scenarios for new episodes of “Ranch”.

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I have a script for the feature film “Ranch”. The witches’ revenge “in my drawer. This is the last work of the late Andrej Grimbovich. Thanks to the changes made under the direction of Marcin Grimbovich, also the screenwriter, I can make this script despite the absence of the late Koss. So what are we waiting for with the producer, for “weather fitting” and a fair wind,” director Wojciech Adamczyk wrote on Facebook.

However, after a few years it already became known that the continuation of “Ranch”, most likely, will not take place. The actors themselves don’t want that.

“Can you imagine” Ranch “without the guy who wrote most of the episodes and without Pawe Królikowski, whose character was the focus of this story? I can’t. Maybe I have a little imagination. Andrzej Grembowicz, then I will think, the actor admitted in one of the interviews.

Cesare Shack also sees no point in bringing the series back. “I think the ‘Ranch’ series shouldn’t continue. The producer knows my mind. Why? Because this country is going through a completely different moment right now. I can’t imagine what ‘Ranch’ will be like today,” he admitted in an interview with “Truth.”

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