While I am not going to wholeheartedly blame the Twilight series for anything vampire or werewolf-related that has emerged in the last several years, I can’t say that it didn’t improve things. We’ve all suffered through sparkling (and non-sparkling) vampire rip-offs aimed at the lovesick, the desperate, and the unimaginative. We have also witnessed several werewolf ideas come to life — or at least half-life. So, when I saw that MTV — a television network that started out playing music video and delivering news about music, but which has completely circumvented the former in favor of god-awful reality shows and the like — had brought us a TV series based on the 1985 comedy Teen Wolf, I was almost ready to be committed.
Thankfully, such a thing did not happen. In fact, I gave the series little to no notice after that — primarily because I forgot all about it the next day. But then, it showed up in the mail — and the lump in my throat swelled up to the size of a small watermelon, seeds and all. To my surprise, however, I discovered Teen Wolf was actually a rather enjoyable show (in a look-I-know-this-really-isn’t-Grade-A-TV-but-I-like-it-anway kind of way). Of course, any resemblance between it and its original source material — apart from its name and basic premise, that is — is completely non-existent: when it comes to Hollywood, everything alters, yet nothing changes.
Teen Wolf the series finds a young, dorky high-schooler named Scott McCall (Tyler Posey, who not only lost the role of Jacob in Twilight to Taylor Lautner, but who is also good friends with him), who is bitten by a werewolf one fateful night in the woods whilst looking for the body of a young girl. Discovering he, too, is now afflicted with lycanthropy, Scott does his best to keep his newfound senses and abilities secret from the normal world — with the exception of his best friend, Stiles (Dylan O’Brien). Naturally, being a troubled teenage boy lands him in the sights of a young hottie (Crystal Reed).
The nature of the series is significantly darker than the Michael J. Fox guilty pleasure of the same name. Just as Scott finds himself in the sights of the girl, he also winds up in the crosshairs of a group of shapeshifter hunters — whilst simultaneously being hounded (no pun intended) by another werewolf (Tyler Hoechlin), who may or may not be responsible for a series of brutal murders in the surrounding area. Essentially, the show is the lycanthrope equivalent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (something the producers of the show publicly admitted to drawing inspiration from), and contains a lot of the same humor. Frankly, that’s a good thing, as it tosses the hokey Twilight vibe out the door almost immediately — and graces us with the adept direction of a more-than-credible cast to boot.
Teen Wolf: The Complete Season One comes to us via MGM and Fox Home Entertainment in a 3-Disc set containing all 12 episodes of the show’s premiere season. Both the video and audio aspects of this presentation are outstanding, though many of the songs heard in the episodes (which is about the only way to hear music on MTV anymore, through obvious album promotions) have been replaced for this home video release (frown). The set also comes with its share of special features: there’s an extended version of the season finale, a handful of deleted/alternate/extended scenes, a gag reel, various making-of and behind-the-scenes featurettes, as well as audio commentaries by the cast for select episodes.
If you’re a werewolf lover, you’ve probably already seen and become a fan of Teen Wolf. If you’re haven’t, however, you might want to five this one a look-see: I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not great (like I said before), but it’s certainly fun.
It’s infinitely better than the 1986 animated series based on the 1985 movie, that’s for sure.