One of my new favorite shows is Teen Wolf. No, stop laughing. I’m being serious. Now, I know what you’re thinking: how could it possibly be any good? It’s an MTV show based on a movie from the 80s, about a teenage werewolf that looks like a ridiculous high school soap opera with Twilight-like tendencies. Trust me, I’ve been there. I scoffed too, but then suddenly almost every blog I followed on tumblr seemed to have converted to the Church of Jeff Davis (the show’s creator). So, halfway through Season Two I gave into Internet peer pressure and watched the whole thing in three days. By the end I was in love—or possibly suffering a strange form of Stockholm syndrome. Now I’m here to try and put into words why this show has captured my attention and taken over most of the Internet.
Teen Wolf is about a teenage boy named Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) who gets bitten by a werewolf and becomes one himself. Suddenly, he has super strength and enhanced senses, giving him an edge on the lacrosse field, but he also has to deal with the new family of werewolf hunters who have conveniently moved into town, a situation made even more complicated when he falls for their daughter, Allison (Crystal Reed). Yes, it’s a teen drama, filled with teenage angst and high school shenanigans, and it doesn’t just verge on campiness at times so much as it drives headlong into it, but that’s all part of its charm. You’ll laugh at the ridiculousness, but you’ll also get dragged in, kicking and screaming, by the strangely compelling plot and the characters that turn out to not be as one-dimensional as they first seem. I could describe why I love the show and each individual character in great detail, but then you’d get bored and I would go over my word limit, so here are five of my favorite reasons to watch Teen Wolf:
1.) Stiles Stilinski (Dylan O’Brien): I could write a list of five reasons I love this show that would be made up of nothing but different aspects of Stiles. If all that you’ve heard about Teen Wolf is stuff that came from tumblr then you might think that Stiles is the main character, like I did, but Stiles is actually the best friend of the main protagonist, Scott. Now I love Scott, I really, really do—and he doesn’t get nearly enough credit in fandom—but Stiles steals the show. What makes Stiles so great? He’s a buzz-cut sporting ball of sarcasm with a contrast of nurturing tendencies, like making his dad eat vegetables or keeping an eye on Scott. He’s funny, always ready with a one-liner, but just as much as he’ll make you laugh he’ll make you want to hug him and wrap him up in a blanket. In the same scene that he sarcastically says, “Yeah it’s called heartbreak. About two billion songs written about it,” you also find out that he used to have panic attacks after his mother died when he was younger. Like many characters on the show, he’s introduced as one thing, making you think he’ll be a shallow sidekick stereotype, but then the show delves deeper, revealing a complex, multifaceted character. He’s smart: he’s the go-to research guy, figuring out, among other things, that controlling Scott’s heart rate is how he can control shifting. He’s brave: he stands up to werewolves and trained hunters with nothing but his wit as a weapon. He’s dangerous: he’s lovable and funny, yes, but threaten the people he loves and he won’t care if you live or die. He’s the combination of Ron and Hermione or Xander and Willow, he’s both the goofy sidekick and the brains of the operation. Without him, Scott would be lost and the show would be a lot less fun.
2.) Derek Hale, the ineffectual werewolf Yoda: Scott McCall suddenly finds himself as a werewolf without a clue. Enter Derek (Tyler Hoechlin), an attractive, leather-clad guy who was born a werewolf and therefore has lots of practice controlling his powers, but he also has really bad communication skills. Derek enjoys brooding, lurking on lacrosse fields or in teenagers’ bedrooms, and taking off his shirt. He does not particularly enjoy explaining things or trusting people (though he has good reason). Whenever something perfectly normal is going on, odds are the camera is going to pan to the side to reveal Derek creeping in the background. He has a heartbreaking past that will give you more feelings than you’ll know what to do with, but he’s not big on opening up about it so it’s hard to tell what he’s thinking or even which side he’s on sometimes. He tried to help Scott control his new found power, but he kind of failed, out-passed by Stiles, who only recently learned that werewolves were even real. Considering that Derek’s solution to things tends to involve manhandling, threatening bodily harm, and death glares that verge on Blue Steel, I’m not particularly surprised. But despite all that you feel sympathy for him, and once you start to dig beneath the surface you really come to love him. The random shirtless-ness helps.
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