With a B-horror movie meets teen soap opera feel, the first season of Teen Wolf is actually a lot of fun, and the show is easily addictive. The acting is a bit stiff and the effects could be better, but the show has an entertaining charm that makes the audience want to forgive any of its problems.
Based on the 1985 comedy Teen Wolf, the television series was produced by Highlander’s Russell Mulcahy (who also directed several episodes) and written by Jeph Loeb (who co-wrote the 1985 film).
The new series doesn’t really follow the plot of the film, and features a cast of young actors who look like they might actually be high school students. The cast includes Tyler Posey, Crystal Reed, Dylan O’Brien, Holland Roden, Colton Haynes, Tyler Hoechlin, Eaddy Mays, JR Bourne, Melissa Ponzio, Linden Ashby, Adam Fristoe, Jill Wagner, and Seth Gilliam.
The 12-episode season opens on Scott McCall (Posey) and buddy Stiles (O’Brien) as they head into the woods to see if they can find a dead body. Stiles’ dad (Linden Ashby) is the Beacon Hills sheriff and Stiles overheard his dad talking about the murder – including the fact the body was supposedly cut in half and one half was missing. The trip in the woods turns bad for Scott as he is attacked by a mysterious animal – which turns out to be an alpha werewolf.
Cursed by the bite, Scott starts to develop werewolf like powers (some good and some not so good) and gets thrown in the middle of a fight between the mysterious alpha werewolf, a beta werewolf named Derek Hale (Hoechlin) and a family of werewolf hunters known as the Argents. To make matters worse, Scott also falls head over heels in love with Allison Argent (Reed), but has to keep his wolf secret from her, her family, and the rest of the town.
Along with his werewolf problems, Scott also has to deal with the day to day problems of being a teenager – including wanting to be a star on the high school lacrosse team; dealing with bully/spoiled rich kid/captain of the team Jackson (Haynes); failing grades; the upcoming high school dance; and helping his friend Stiles get a date from the girl of his dreams Lydia Martin (Roden).
Teen Wolf has a charm and likeability thanks to the performance of Posey and O’Brien. The entire cast is good in their roles, but these two young actors bring a lot of the laughs and are completely believable as loveable losers who just want a chance to date the prettiest girl in school.
Posey plays Scott as the good kid who just never gets a break. Even when it looks like things are starting to go his way, something blows up in Scott’s face. He doesn’t know how to control his powers (despite Stiles’ painful attempts to help him learn control) and he really doesn’t seem sure if his new found abilities are a blessing or a curse.
Posey also brings a ton of laughs in his interactions with Allison’s father (the steely-eyed JR Bourne) – who just happens to want to kill him for more reasons than the fact Scott is dating his daughter.
With all the soapy and horror elements floating around the season, O’Brien is prefect in bringing the laughs to the screen at just the right time. The actor does a tremendous job just with his facial expressions and has some of the best one-liners on television. You also have to appreciate the way Stiles is willing to stick with his friend – despite the fact Scott’s wolf side really wants to kill him.
Reed also does a good job as Scott’s true love Allison, and makes sure the character is more than just a damsel in distress for Scott to save. Her character needs development, but it is clear she is more than just a pretty face for the show.
The first season is a lot of fun thanks to a blending of teen romance (will Scott and Allison find a way to be together?) and quasi-horror scares (the search for the alpha werewolf’s true identity takes on a Scream quality). Unfortunately, there are a few stumbles along the way, but they are never enough to ruin the show.
The effects and make-up could be a little better (I cracked up the first time Scott transformed into his werewolf form), but they give the show a B-horror movie quality that I actually like.
A werewolf film lives and dies by how the werewolves look. Scott and Derek have some cool elements to their make-up design, but at times they look a little too rubbery (specially the ears and teeth). The alpha’s glowing red eyes also come off a little cheesy at certain times, but the overall design had an old-school horror quality that I enjoyed.
Fans of the series will also find plenty to love with the special features. The bonus material includes a funny gag reel, an extended finale, deleted/alternate/extended scenes, a funny Shirtless Montage, a look at the cast, “behind the scenes” features, and cast commentary.
Teen Wolf: Season One was a surprise for me and I was a fan of the series by the time the last episode finished. I am looking forward to seeing where the show heads with its second season. If you are a fan of B-style horror movies mixed with a little teen romance humor, give Teen Wolf a chance.
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Heres a look at the Season Two trailer: