Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TV Shows We Love: Teen Wolf

MTV’s werewolf series claims to be loosely based on the 1985 movie starring Michael J. Fox. It is about a teenage werewolf who plays a sport (lacrosse.) So, yeah, it’s about as much like the movie as Skittles are like a Hershey bar…they’re both candy.

I’m never one to pass up a supernatural drama, much less one that focuses on teens, so I gave it a try – I’m so glad I did. In the first episode, Scott and his best friend Stiles go out hunting a dead body in the woods. Scott is attacked by some sort of creature and becomes…you guessed it – a werewolf! The funny thing is that it’s Stiles who figures out what is going on. Stiles, whose father is the police chief, whose idea it was to go looking for the dead body in the woods, whose zany impulsiveness and hyper intelligence provide the impetus for much of the action of the show. Because yes, Scott is the protagonist, but Stiles is the heart of the show. I ask any of you who watch it – could you replace Scott with just about anyone? Yes. But Stiles – Stiles is irreplaceable.

At the same time that Scott is becoming a werewolf, a new family moves to town. A new family whose surname just happens to be ‘Argent’. To those of us with a rudimentary understanding of French, Argent = Silver. Werewolves are killed by silver bullets. About as subtle as a sledgehammer, but this show is for teens who may or may not have this as part of their vocabulary, so I’ll let it pass. The teen member of the Argent family is the ethereally beautiful, but somewhat awkward, Allison. I give you three guesses as to which two characters fall in love. First two guesses don’t count.

Allison, the new girl in town, is taken in by the high school queen bee, Lydia. Lydia, whose mean girl nature is a shield for her extreme intelligence. Lydia, who has been the girl of Stiles’ dreams since elementary school. Lydia, who (spoiler alert) turns out to have a supernatural power, herself. Lydia is essentially Stiles to Alison’s Scott.

Mixed in with all of these wonderful teen characters are the hidden gems of the show – fully realized adult characters. In a show for teens! Adults with lives and back stories and complicated emotions and motivations. Seriously. For all of the mixed up conglomeration of weirdness that passes for the show’s mythology (it really does appropriate from almost every culture’s supernatural mythology) – it does an amazing job with characterization. Equally amazing are the complexities of the relationships between the characters. There is nothing superficial here, even when it seems like it might be natural (Lydia’s relationship with the captain of the lacrosse team, for example.)
The writing on this show is superb. The directing is even better. The special effects are…getting there. I highly recommend it!

Reading recommendations:

  • Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
  • Raised by Wolves, Trial by Fire, and Taken by Storm by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • The Gathering, The Calling, and The Rising by Kelly Armstrong
  • Shiver, Linger, and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater