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Teen Wolf: The Complete Season One
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 5/22/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/28/2012
Although we don't hear it as much today, occasionally someone will use the term "MTV Generation", and this is a moniker which really speaks to me. I grew up with MTV and molded much of my youth. It was great to leave MTV on in the background while doing other things, as it became an alternative to radio and specialty shows like 120 Minutes and Headbanger's Ball allowed me to discover some great music. But, as you know, MTV changed over the years, and reached a point where it barely has anything to do with music. The network now focuses on reality shows and the occasional scripted program. Most of these seem to be determined to undermine the young people of America, but Teen Wolf, whose title is taken from the 1985 Michael J. Fox film of the same name.
Teen Wolf is set in the small California town of Beacon Hill. Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) is a fairly normal high school kid. He doesn't have much luck with girls, he rides the bench in lacrosse and he spends most of his time with his best friend, Stiles (Dylan O'Brien), whose father (Linden Ashby) is the town sheriff. One night, Stiles learns that the police are looking for a body in the woods and he convinces Scott that they should take a look. Once there, Scott is attacked by a mysterious creature with glowing eyes. The next day, Scott begins to exhibit some bizarre symptoms. He's visited by Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin) whose family perished in a fire, leaving the Hale mansion in ruins. Derek explains that Scott was bitten by a werewolf and, being a werewolf himself, offers to teach Scott how to control his new skills. Scott quickly learns that he can use those skills to his advantage, as he suddenly excels in lacrosse and his super hearing allows him to find a way to introduce himself to the new girl, Allison (Crystal Reed). Things with Allison seem to be going well, until Scott learns that her family has come to town with a nefarious purpose. Meanwhile, Scott's rival, Jackson (Colton Haynes), immediately realizes that something is different about Scott and tries to learn his secret.
First things first, Teen Wolf the television series has nothing to do with Teen Wolf the movie save for the fact that the main characters are Scott and Stiles in both. Teen Wolf was a "comedy" about a teenager who learns that he is a werewolf, a curse who inherited from his father. He transforms in front of his classmates (turning into an ape-like creature) and becomes a basketball star. The movie, which became a hit in the wake of Fox's success with Back to the Future, is very silly and contains no horror elements.
The TV show Teen Wolf takes a much darker approach, and bares a strong resemblance to other current programming likeThe Vampire Diaries. The show blends high school soap opera theatrics with a nice dose of the supernatural. We watch Scott deal with girls and lacrosse while trying to come to grips with the fact that he's a werewolf. From this point, the show adds several subplots, as we learn about Allison and Derek's families respectively. There is also a mystery concerning the identity of the werewolf who bit Scott. Being the hero of the show, Scott has to have a villain, and Jackson is a good one. This spoiled rich boy doesn't like to lose and he will stop at nothing to figure out what kind of steroids Scott is using.
While Teen Wolf some good, if not stereotypical, elements, the show doesn't always gel. The series is very oddly edited at times and ideas and characters often arrive with little introduction. The season opens and closes with some good ideas and action, but the middle part sags, as if they only had enough story for 6 episodes and decided to stretch it to 12. (The episode where the characters are trapped in the high school seems to go on forever.) The acting so leaves something to be desired. Tyler Posey is asked to carry the show as Scott, but he often comes across as bland. Again, similar to The Vampire Diaries, the female lead, Crystal Reed, is unappealing, and I often wondered why everyone was crazy about her. Young Jim Carrey look-alike Dylan O'Brien is good as Stiles and brings the show some much needed levity.
It's interesting that the show is on MTV as Co-Executive Producer and director of six episode Russell Mulcahy helped to put the network on the map with his videos for the Duran Duran songs "Hungry Like the Wolf" and "Rio". However, this is the only tie to the original MTV. Teen Wolf plays exactly like a show which would find on The CW. And like those shows, it can be decidedly hit or miss. When the narrative is humming along, it's engaging, but the slow points really stand out. I will be checking out the Season 2 premiere to check on the cliffhangers, but I don't know if I'll be watching beyond that.
Teen Wolf: The Complete Season One makes the mistake of giving an NC State graduate a major role on DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The three-disc set contains all 12 episodes from the show's first season. The episodes are letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing no distracting grain and no defects from the source material. Many scenes take place at night and the image can get a bit dark at times. The colors look good, most notably reds and blues. The image is rarely soft and for a DVD, the level of detail is good. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The show offers some nice surround sound effects at times, most notably when Scott is in the woods or hears a howl in the distance. The stereo effects are detailed, but aren't the strongest that I've heard. The action scenes offers effective subwoofer effects.
The Teen Wolf: The Complete Season One DVD contains a selection of extras. Disc 1 offers two AUDIO COMMENTARIES for the episode "Wolf Moon". The first has Director/Co-Executive Producer Russell Mulcahy and Executive Producer Jeff Davis. The second offers actors Tyler Heochlin, Tyler Posey, Colton Haynes, Dylan O'Brien, and Holland Roden. Disc 2 has AUDIO COMMENTARY on the episode "Heart Monitor" from Jeff Davis and Director Toby Wilkins. Next, we have a COMMENTARY on "Night School" with Davis and Director Tim Andrew. The remainder of the extras are found on Disc 3. The episode "Co-Captain" is accompanied by a COMMENTARY from Hoechlin, Posey, Haynes, O'Brien, and Roden. Davis and Mulcahy provide a COMMENTARY on the extended version of "Code Breaker" -- this longer version of the episode is also one of the extras. The DVD contains eight DELETED, ALTERNATE, AND EXTENDED SCENES which run about 12 minutes and come from various episodes. Most of these are simply longer versions of scenes from the show and there's no new ideas, characters, or subplots here. We get a 4-minute GAG REEL, and the "Season 1 Shirtless Montage" (2 minutes), clearly wasn't aimed at me. "Following the Pack: Meet the Cast of Teen Wolf" (5 minutes) contains comments from the young actors who talk about their characters and the show. "Love Bites!" (3 minutes) examines the romance angle on the show, between various characters. "Teen Wolf - Working the Red Carpet" (3 minutes) show the cast at the premiere party for the show.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long