Sometimes TV series come along that no one expects and make an impact despite a lackluster or even an underappreciated beginning. Based on the hit film Teen Wolf starring Michael J. Fox, Teen Wolf the TV series is such a show. Looking back, it might inevitable considering the amount of media pushed out after the original film. There was a direct sequel, a planned third film that never happened and also an animated series.
So either a reboot of the film series or this current live action TV series was going to happen one way or another. That it happened on the MTV network is fitting. Everything about this show speaks teen angst and coming of age, awkwardly of course, but it feels like a show that belongs on a network that is all about a certain kind of youthful energy. It’s brash and breezy and fun, if in a darker tone than the original film.
There are other differences as well. The film is about an awkward teenager played by Fox who plays on the high school basketball team, with a close friend named Stiles who encourages him to have fun and stop being so afraid and embrace life more often. In this TV series, he is still in high school and has a friend with the same name but he no longer plays basketball but rather lacrosse.
The tone as mentioned is much different. While the film was played almost entirely for laughs, the TV series have only a bit of the humor and maintains a much more serious tone throughout, focuses more on the darkly gothic situation of a teenage boy dealing with being a monster, all while having the same problems a normal teenager must face on a daily basis.
The show has been compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series and both share the same basis for creation; they were each films first and then became television shows. Even the producers of Teen Wolf have stated they were inspired in part by the premise of Buffy and in fact pitch it to the network as such. They have said they do not wish to include any vampires on the show to help keep it different but may include other types of creatures in the future. Demons, perhaps?
It’s even darker than Buffy, though. There are many images of violence and blood on Teen Wolf. Decapitations, mutilations, horrific dismemberments… all are fair game here. Wolves are some of the most terrifying predators in the animal kingdom and werewolves are powerful creatures of myth and legend and Teen Wolf never forgets this.
The show features one of these monsters as the lead character and Scott is both empowered by his condition and tortured by it. He reaps the benefits of his lycanthropy but also understands the nature of his curse. He has other problems, too, and they do not relate to his ability to transform into a wolf. High school is not the easiest thing to deal with on a good day, let alone when there are other werewolves out there up to no good.
And don’t forget about his high school life, where his demons are like any other young man his age. He is in love with Allison Argent and oh, guess what? She happens to be a member of a family of werewolf hunters. This adds a smidge of conflict between them to say the least. She is at first unaware of both his bestial nature and the fact her family hunts werewolves for a living. When she discovers both secrets, things get hairs, pun intended.
His best friend Stiles, a comical foil for some of the darkness on the show, attempts to help Scott all he can but the situations they find themselves in are often over his head. There is only so much the comic relief can do against ravenous, supernatural animals. Teen Wolf is available on streaming services that you can access when you sign up for Time Warner Cable broadband plans.