Teen Wolf’s Bark Worse than its Bite
- Monday, June 20, 2011
Anyone who bothered tuning into the 2011 MTV Movie Awards wasn't surprised to see Twilight clean house, winning everything from Best Movie to Best Male Performance.
Thanks to their legions of fans, the creatures of the night have become a force to be reckoned with in the world of pop culture. Companies have learned that teen girls are more forgiving of sub-par entertainment when a handsome vampire or love-struck werewolf become involved, and no one understands this better than MTV. This is probably why it chose to air its new series, Teen Wolf, immediately following the awards ceremony.
Teen Wolf opens with Scott McCall (played by Taylor Lautner lookalike, Tyler Posey) trudging through the woods one eerie, full-moon night. According to his best friend, the police found a dead body in the forest, or rather half of one, and the boys sneak out to search for the missing piece.
As fate would have it, the two become separated and Scott runs afoul of a werewolf. The ensuing chase leaves him bitten, and after sprouting claws and growing fur, Scott realizes that getting rabies just might be the least of his problems.
Despite this, it doesn't take long for Scott to reap the benefits of his newfound lycanthropy. He ditches his inhaler, uses enhanced reflexes to earn himself a place on the lacrosse team, and immediately charms new girl Allison Argent (Crystal Reed) into being his girlfriend. Unfortunately, life as a werewolf has its downside. Scott now wolfs-out every time his heart rate goes up, making sports and romance a risky business.
Adding to his problems are lacrosse captain Jackson Whittemore (Colton Haynes) who knows something's fishy, and the mysterious Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin) who may-or-may-not be the werewolf that bit him.
There's also the unpleasant surprise that his girlfriend's father happens to be a werewolf hunter with a large collection of guns. This leaves Scott to navigate the challenges of high school while keeping his feral side in check.
While loosely based on a 1985 film of the same name, its clear MTV chose to start from scratch and make the new series their own creation. The show isn't bad per say, but Teen Wolf is nothing audiences haven't seen a hundred times before with shows like Supernatural or The Vampire Diaries. The storyline is your typical sci-fi drama, with all characters falling into their respective stereotypes as events unfold.
The acting isn't bad, which is certainly saying something for MTV. Posey's performance is decent, and there are even moments you start to believe he actually is a geeky, bench-warming teenager despite the perfect abs, tousled hair, and soft brown eyes that will turn girls to butter. The rest of the cast play their parts with little enthusiasm. Allison is the semi-popular yet not so shallow girl. Jackson is the cruel Jock, and Derek is the bad boy who's not so bad underneath.
The only real standout performance goes to Dylan O"Brien, who plays Scott's Adderall-popping best friend, Stiles. The two characters work well together, with Posey taking on the serious notes while O'Brien offers comic relief, and is one of the few areas of that might transform Teen Wolf from a mediocre program into a legitimate series.
Overall though, Teen Wolf ends being exactly what you expect it to be. A supernatural drama filled handsome, brooding young men who are in constant danger of eating their girlfriends. And really, when you combine high school, werewolves, and MTV, what else would you expect?
*This review first published 6/20/2011
**Watch Teen Wolf Mondays at 9/10 Ct on MTV
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