I hate MTV even more when they produce something I really enjoy despite my better judgment. It was true of the raw athletic talent of ABDC, and it is increasingly true of their urban fantasy series Teen Wolf.
I will cop to being old enough to remember the original 1980’s comedy that was clever but pretty vacant in presentation. The folks at MTV have taken it and made it a serious genre-setting work of art. Teen Wolf the reboot looks to the great traditions of the urban fantasy genre. Urban fantasy draws deeply from the old noir detective genres, and the obligatory mystery bad guys are around every season. Oh, it is to be expected that MTV will use physical transformations as an excuse for twenty-somethings to take their clothes off and claim they’re in High School. I stated in my about Lagrandil page that I would cry foul over gratuitous anything other than storyline, and the second season had plenty of gratuitous near-nakedness. But honesty compels me to say that the Southern Vampire novels and their True Blood remakes, as well as Game of Thrones and every urban fantasy book not by Jim Butcher, Larry Correia, and Harry Connolly has had way more sex and flesh in it than this series. So, for an urban fantasy series it’s pretty tame.
What makes Teen Wolf remarkable:
The werewolf look is neat. It’s a Wolverine done by Elves look that works very well with gymnastics/free-running fight choreography and special effects.
The background music is excelleThe nt. Hey, it’s MTV so they had better be able to pump the base when needed.
Excellent Characterizations: Everyone is sympathetic to one degree or another. Scott the main character works at a veterinary clinic, dreams of being a star, but mostly bums with his friend and help his single mother. His lifelong friend Styles does excellent comic relief with a mixture of geeky friend and loveable clutz. It there has to be teen romance in Teen Wolf, it could have been far worse than the Romeo and Juliette revision done between the youngest werewolf (Scott) and the youngest heiress of a werewolf-hunting legacy. Even the school bully is painfully driven to his unlikeable and shallow ends because the only meaning he has ever found in life is in first place, a desperately painful fate that drives most of his nasty acts. He is mirrored in kind by the other villains of the peace. In true wolfine fashion the quest to be the leader of the pack dominates much of the show, and whether that means something good (fellowship, protection, mutual support) or evil (exploitation, domination, and predation) depends on the eyes of the beholder.
I wish that this story had appeared in book form instead of series, so I could edit how much skin my eyes have to see, but it’s worth watching.
Recommended for the thick of skin.