Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Teen Wolf Sales Pitch

This time last week, I probably wouldn't have recommended Teen Wolf to anybody: I'd never seen it before, and it was a paranormal show on MTV. More specifically, I'd never seen it because it was a paranormal show on MTV.

But it was my sister's turn to pick our show, and she wasn't budging. Now that I've worked my way through the first season, I find her stubbornness commendable instead of annoying, which is definitely saying something. Teen Wolf is actually pretty wizard.

If you haven't given the show a shot yet, there are loads of reasons why you should. Allow me to spell some of them out for you. All spoiler-free, of course.

The Characters

I'm pleased to report that the writers behind TW are stellar in general. But if there's one area they especially excel at, it's writing interesting, complex characters.
First off, there's Scott, the show's lead and titular teen wolf. I typically don't like characters in his position--it would be all too easy for him to veer into Golden Child territory, considering the fact that he gets basically everything he's ever wanted in the pilot episode. But he doesn't let any of that go to his head. And instead of fitting the alpha male slot that many male leads fit neatly into, Scott has this mild, naïve, boyish charm--a refreshing change from a lot of other paranormal leads out there.
Then there's the much-sung hero of the show: Scott's best friend, Stiles. If Scott's the newfound muscles of the operation, Stiles is the brains. Spazzy, endearingly awkward, and well-versed in sarcasm, he not only keeps things light, but also provides the show with a lot of heart.
The rest of the main characters are just as developed. Take Derek Hale, for instance, the mysterious loner who rates somewhere between Grant Ward and Castiel on the scale of social ineptitude. Jackson's the school's jock king and rich jerk, but there's a lot more to him than that, and I was surprised by how much I ended up loving him. Even the love interest, Allison, wasn't that bad. (Considering the fact that I typically hate love interests, that's basically a singing endorsement. Trust me.)
The Dynamics
Not only does the show take care in fleshing out its characters, it also pays special attention to making sure their personalities bounce off each other in lively, dynamic ways. Personally, my favourite bond is the one between Stiles and Scott--no matter what the situation, they're always great together.
But any time you get any combination that includes Scott, Stiles, Derek, or Jackson, you're in for a good scene. Scott's and Stiles' relationships with their parents are pretty great, too.
The Dialogue
Like, for example, the time Stiles' dad catches him in a lie, and they have the following exchange:
Or when Stiles gets all bilingual to defend his position:
Or even when Jackson suspects a suddenly athletic Scott of using steroids, and Scott doesn't quite catch on:
The Cinematography
Maybe this seems kind of random in a list of mostly story-centric praises, but one thing I really love about the show is all its camerawork. It's got interesting angles, unusual perspectives, fresh transitions--all sorts of flourishes that you typically only see in movies, not TV.
The Plot Twists
Thanks to my no-spoilers promise, this one is tougher to sell you on. But you'll have to trust me on this one--then see for yourself. Teen Wolf is the master of misdirection: right from the pilot, the show builds up the question of who turned Scott, who's behind everything, pulling all the strings. And at various points throughout the season, yeah--you'll think you know who it is.
But you won't.
And when you do find out, your brain will explode in a rain of gory chunks, and you'll have nothing left to do but sweep it all up, mutter to yourself, and then report back to me. Because seriously. Plot twists.
Your turn. Are you a Teen Wolf fan, or are you planning to start it any time soon? Has anybody seen the movie it was based on? Who's your favourite character from the show?


  1. I haven't seen this show, and I never thought I'd be interested, but your review makes me want to give it a try!

  2. Glad to hear it! Hope you like it, if you end up giving it a shot.