"Teen Wolf" Can Still Howl Review

Teen Wolf has been a runaway hit for MTV, but it is a phenomenon that I missed out on almost entirely. When I got the second half of Teen Wolf’s third season to review, I decided to conduct an experiment. I would watch the second half of the third season cold, without reading any background on the characters or synopses of previous seasons. This experiment lasted exactly one episode before I threw in the towel and consulted a Teen Wolf expert. There might be a lot of issues with Teen Wolf, but the writers have created their own mythology and a large cast of characters with complicated relationships. It is not friendly to newcomers wanting to jump in late to the game. The show expects more from its fans and does not waste time catching its audience up.

In the second half of season 3, Scott (Tyler Posey) is the alpha, which apparently means he has to get beat up by a pair of werewolf twins. Before that happens, though, the first episode loops around and around with Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) and his never-ending nightmares. He has a weird trippy dream, wakes up into another dream, and then realizes after waking up (again) that he is still dreaming. Fortunately, both of these issues are resolved fairly quickly, and the season moves onto much more interesting dilemmas, such as new Japanese mythology and a mummy-like monster wrapped in gauze.

What works so well in Teen Wolf is the balance of serious and humorous, monster of the week and season-long adversaries, teen relationship drama and life-and-death stakes. The show is MTV’s version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though the dialogue is never as sharp nor the tragic moments as devastating. Still, Teen Wolf is a decent teen horror series and much better than I expected. As lost as I was at the start, I appreciate Teen Wolf for what it is, and I’m glad that a series based on a 1985 Michael J. Fox comedy and produced by MTV is actually pretty darn good.

Stray Note: Teen Wolf is another teen show where teenagers stay over at each other’s houses on a regular basis, and they act (and look) more like college students than high school students. I wonder why the writers always insist on setting these shows in high school when they might have more freedom with the characters in a college setting.


There is a featurette Following the Pack: The Fans of Teen Wolf included in the DVD set, along with a booklet of Teen Wolf fan art.

"Teen Wolf: Season 3, Part 2" is on sale June 17, 2014 and is not rated. Horror, Romance. Directed by Russell Mulcahy. Written by Jeff Davis. Starring Crystal Reed, Dylan Obrien, Holland Roden, Linden Ashby, Tyler Hoechlin, Tyler Posey.

Rachel Kolb • Staff Writer

I love movies, writing, and breaking into song in public. You can follow me on Twitter @rachelekolb or check out more of my work at http://rachelekolb.wordpress.com.


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