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The Boy Who Cried Wolf--MTV Combines Humor, Thrills, And Romance In This Unlikely Charmer
on August 5, 2011
When I heard that MTV had plans to update the cheesy eighties movie "Teen Wolf" into a modern serialized drama, I can't say that I was filled with optimism. As the network was trying to establish a successful slate of scripted programming, however, a sexy and suspenseful werewolf thriller made sense. I just didn't know if MTV could get the right creative force to put the project together in an interesting way and utilize the budget and effects necessary to make it stand apart from the supernatural crowd. I think it's fair to say that this is more of a complete reinvention of the source film as opposed to any sort of remake. Aside from sharing an overlapping central theme, the two projects couldn't be more dissimilar. But utilizing the same sensibilities that have made "Vampire Diaries" a success, this wolf saga is an intoxicating blend of humor, romance, and chills. Starting as more of a frothy comedy, the series gradually incorporated darker elements as the narrative unfolded until you were sometimes surprised just how effective the thriller aspect was working.
I used "Vampire Diaries" as a specific reference point, because I also think that "Teen Wolf" has all the qualities needed to become a break-out hit. It is a show that would certainly be appreciated by people that don't watch MTV. "Vampire Diaries" on CW had an uneven (but likable) first season, but turned into a surprisingly sophisticated soap opera for a stellar second season. "Wolf," similarly, has the potential to evolve further into a smart and multi-layered entertainment. The twelve episodes of Season One, by necessity, focused on two major plot points--a boy who becomes a wolf and the search for his maker. In the show, Tyler Posey plays the central character. As he starts to understand what is happening, the scripts deftly blends comedy, confusion, and awe as he gets an unlikely tutor in the form of a more serious wolfman played by Tyler Hoechlin. The early episodes exhibit plenty of charm as Posey relishes his new school status and blossoming romance. As the show progresses, the sense of danger becomes a primary ingredient. I wasn't crazy about every aspect that helped bring the Alpha story line to fruition. The central mystery, when it was finally revealed, lacked a bit of surprise or impact for me. But it was a small point in an otherwise engaging season.
While the entire cast is attractive and effective, I've got to throw out props to Posey. Of course, only in TV land would Posey be considered a loser. Adorable smile, killer physique, and all around charming demeanor--the show brands him a geek initially for the apparent reason that he is an asthmatic (inhalers are so unsexy). He juggles the complexities of his role with dexterity and is always a winning protagonist--it is easy to be invested in his plight and emotional journey. As his wacky sidekick, Dylan O'Brien also gets a special shout-out from me. Why? He portrays the biggest cliche' possible as Posey's wise-cracking best friend and still makes it seem effortless and new. I really enjoyed this show. Fast and stylish, with an appropriately impressive MTV soundtrack, this is sheer entertainment. It doesn't have lofty goals--it just wants to give you a fun ride. And that it does. KGHarris, 8/11.
Extended Version of Season Finale episode "Code Breakers"
Deleted, Alternate and Extended Scenes
Special Featurette: Season 1 Shirtless Montage
Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes: (1)Following The Pack, (2)Love Bites, and (3)Teen Wolf cast on the Red Carpet