On its most surface level, MTV’s Teen Wolf could come off as just another corny teen drama that loves to get its characters as close to naked as censors will allow to boost ratings. And that’s not inaccurate. It’s a primetime show on MTV that’s perfectly aware of its main audience. But if you spend some time with it, especially in its earlier seasons, it’s pretty easy to become hooked on the story.
First of all, completely get rid of any connection you may have made between the series and the 1985 movie starring Michael J. Fox. The main character’s named Scott that gets turned into a werewolf, he goes from sucking at a sport to becoming the team star – it’s lacrosse, relax – and he has a best friend named Stiles. That’s where the parallels come to a screeching halt.
Instead of a story about a kid learning that he’s inherited lycanthropy from his dad and flaunts his new powers around town, the series takes a much darker and more secretive tone which is more appropriate for an ongoing series.
Teen Wolf‘s first season was such a pleasant surprise that it had me live tweeting every episode with people that I intentionally hadn’t talked to in years.
Instead of focusing on the story of one werewolf and his maker, Teen Wolf went on to introduce an entire subculture of werewolves that come with their own practices and lore. For example, there are essentially three types of werewolves: Alphas, Betas and Omegas. Alphas are the leaders of their respective packs, betas are everyone under them and omegas are werewolves that are just out here solo dolo and are usually killed off pretty quickly. Then there’s this whole thing about the color of their eyes and what that signifies and a bunch of other stuff they’re just making up as they go along. But it’s so good!
The show’s become a catalyst for young talent over the years; it’s preparing to enter its sixth season. Two clear standouts are Colton Haynes, who played Scott’s bitter frenemy, Jackson, and Dylan O’Brien, who plays his best friend Stiles while providing the best damn acting of the entire series in season 3 when his character was possessed by an evil spirit. He basically got to play two characters.
Things went even deeper with show-runners pulling out monsters I’ve never even heard of and making them important. And that’s saying a lot given how many hours I’ve clocked watching Buffy, Angel, Charmed and Supernatural.
But, this is a guilty pleasure confessional, so there has to be a little bit of shame and embarrassment involved.
[takes deep breath]
So, after a certain point, the show started having some pretty major problems. For starters everyone from main to minor characters started dropping like flies, mostly in between seasons, with no explanation. Colton Haynes’ character finally got what he always wanted and the show was about to get insane just for him to go to “London” – he got a role on Arrow – and never be seen again. Not a good sign, is it?
And then they started making decisions that make Gotham look like it has good direction. The romances started to get even cheesier – or maybe I just got older? – and they ran out of new things to teach us about werewolves around season 2 so then they started introducing were-jaguars and evil, immortal doctors who walk around in masks. Oh, and let’s not forget the unnecessary slow-motion shots in the middle of weak ass fight scenes.
Lastly, and this may just be me nitpicking. One character found out that she’d been possessed by an ancient fox spirit that gave her supernatural abilities. Bruh… why did it envelope her body and look just like Kurama, the nine-tailed fox from Naruto???
Part of me wishes I was done, because Teen Wolf has likely given me everything I’ll ever get from it. But I’m clocking five years as a part of this fandom now. I need to know where they all end up going when they graduate – in probably five seasons when they start sprouting grey hairs.