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With Only Nine Episodes, This Supernatural Soap Opera Was Never Allowed To Truly Develop Teeth,
This review is from: Wolf Lake: The Complete Series (DVD)
The horror genre has had a spotty track record on television. Aside from anthology series that introduced a new tale of woe every week, most entries that dabbled in supernatural or monster themes were often more beloved than popular. I know it seems hard to imagine now with the revitalized interest in everything supernatural. Vampires, wolves, ghosts, zombies and other beasties rule the airwaves (although still mostly beyond network TV) on premium cable, CW, AMC, FX, and BBCAmerica among others. I think that's why we still remember the programs that defied conventional wisdom, that attempted something different in trying to tie an on-going mythology to the serialized drama. Sure daytime had "Dark Shadows," but for every "X-Files" or "Buffy" that turned into monster cult hits, there were many more that simply vanished without a trace. Even the show that absolutely set the standard in my opinion, "Kolchak" couldn't stay on the air for more than one season in 1974-75 despite a series of successful TV movies.
I guess that makes this a perfect time to revisit the short-lived and ill-fated "Wolf Lake" from 2001. The DVD release of this lupine drama proclaims that this show was the "original werewolf saga" although FOX had dabbled with the topic in the episodic "Werewolf" many years prior. By no means meant to be a comprehensive list, here is just a few shows with supernatural leanings that failed to cross over to big success:
Werewolf (1987), Lasted One Season
Eerie, Indiana (1991), Creepiness for kids, lasted one season
American Gothic (1995), Small town craziness, lasted one season
Kindred: The Embraced (1996), Vampires lasted 8 episodes
Millennium (1996-99) and Lone Gunmen (2001), shorter-lived X-files offshoots
Part of the issue with "Wolf Lake" was its home network of CBS. Not exactly a trailblazer in terms of youth programming, the werewolves never seemed like a good fit and the show was canceled in five quick episodes. Later on, fledgling UPN aired all 9 of the existing episodes but, by that time, everyone had already moved forward. The centerpiece of "Wolf Lake" was the mysterious disappearance of Mia Kirshner. Her detective boyfriend (Lou Diamond Phillips) is in hot pursuit of any clues or explanations and this leads him to her hometown of (you guessed it) Wolf Lake. The idyllic burg in the Pacific Northwest certainly seemed quaint and charming, but Diamond Phillips starts to unearth some peculiar happenings. Part of the fun of catching up with "Wolf Lake" is seeing its cast including Paul Wesley, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Sharon Lawrence, Tim Matheson, Scott Bairstow, and Graham Greene partaking in the horrific melodrama.
Unlike many, I won't claim that "Wolf Lake" was brilliant. It was a show that had a creepy setting and a slow build tension. What it also had was the potential to develop into a satisfying supernatural soap opera. It never really got that opportunity, though. Obviously, there is an incompleteness to this presentation with only nine episodes. And sure, if you were an original fan--you'd want to get this 3 disc set. For those that don't remember the show, you might feel left a little stranded. The DVD release has a documentary feature about the show (quite enlightening) and an unaired pilot episode (also interesting). KGHarris, 10/12.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 6, 2012 1:41:26 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 13, 2012 7:19:19 PM PST]
Posted on Nov 13, 2012 10:25:07 AM PST
Manx Man says:
Millennium lasted 3 seasons...
Posted on Mar 16, 2013 1:46:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 16, 2013 1:47:06 PM PDT
I think that they should make more WOLF LAKE episodes because I'm obsessed with this show. I absolutely love it. They stopped making it when a lot of people want to see if Sophia flips and if sophia and Luke become boyfriend and girlfriend. There is so many questions people want to be answered but they stopped making the series. So if you are famous or can talk to anyone who made this show please MAKE THEM put more episodes so all of the wolf lake fans can see what happens next. Thank you.
Posted on Jul 4, 2013 3:22:28 PM PDT
D. Garrett says:
Kindred: The Embraced was in the works to be revived after it's cancellation. Showtime was trying to pick it up, I think. But the death of the show's star, Mark Frankel, put a stop to it.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2013 10:50:39 AM PDT
M. A. Nilsson says:
It's sort of like the viewers who followed the show need closure...this could be redone and even done better than before. But mostly, I want to see the show through to it's end, meaning a satisfying conclusion. They did Dark Shadows over in the 90's and it was very good I thought. I must say I was disappointed when they took Wolf Lake off the air. I don't think many people were ready for the gore of the horror genre on television then. The time is ripe for a remake though.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2013 10:53:36 AM PDT
M. A. Nilsson says:
Kindred is another show I had high hopes for and then it was gone...I never forgot about it though nor Wolf Lake...that means they would make great remakes...fresh as new. I never get enough of this stuff and I think now may be the time to bring them back. But please, do it well!
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