Thursday, 9 June 2011

Teen Wolf is back! Any good?

The new MTV series Teen Wolf premièred over the weekend, with the pilot being shown after The MTV Movie Awards, where they would also show the new Twilight trailer for the first time. And Twilight would clean up in the awards, of course. So, MTV obviously are hoping the Twi-hards will stick around to catch the new show.
So I thought I'd be fair and kept an open mind while watching these first two episodes. We are introduced to Scott MacCall, (Tyler Posey) a wanna be Jock with severe asthma who can not make the Lacrosse first team, his friend, Stiles (Dylan O'Brien) is the son of the local sheriff and has heard there's been a dead body found in the local woods. Only its not just a dead body, it is half a dead body. So, lets go look for the other half, eh? Seems a reasonable way to pass the time. Stiles' dad shows up and takes him back home, leaving Scott out in the dark to save him getting in trouble with “the man”, like good friends do. Its here Scott is startled by a rush of badly cgi-ed deer, and then comes face to face with the upper half of the dead girl. And the show does not shy away from showing you the gory remains. He is then attacked by a wolf, and is bitten on the stomach but somehow manages to get away. This is all pre credits.
For those of us who remember the original Teen Wolf with Michael J Fox, (and the animated series that followed in the late 80s) it should be pointed out that this version is not played for laughs. There is a chance this might even end up being actually being good. It certainly is not any worse than The Vampire Diaries and the like that pepper the schedules at the moment. And more genre on TV? Why not, even if it's being aired (in the States at least) on a station that all things being equal should be playing music videos. (now I am showing my age, if I think that's what they do now a days) But I digress, The first two episodes set the tone well, and are directed by Russell Mulcahy, who made his name with the wonderful Razorback, and superb first Highlander (he also made the second, but lets not go into that) Most of Mulcahy's output though has been music videos, so I guess this could be a homecoming for him. In fact, the music in Teen Wolf is surprisingly well done, nothing too distracting and annoying, and so far, nothing so obviously put in there to try and make the song a hit.
When Scott finally discovers he's turning into a werewolf, the transformation begins at a party, and it is handled like the Prodigy video, Smack My Bitch Up, giving you the stop the world I want to get off feeling. And it's a interesting to note when Scott becomes a werewolf, he resembles the Henry Hull version of Werewolf Of London (1935) rather than Benicio Del Toro or a big dog. And, despite the now obligatory shirt off scenes to cater for the Twi-Hards there is no attempt to make the wolf version appealing. There is also a good reference to the Lon Chaney Jr version in the second episode, after Stiles has researched all about lycanthropy to try and help his stricken friend.
There is the usual love sub plot in there to keep the girlies happy, but its par for the course I suppose and the twist at the end of the first episode is quite good (no spoilers)
For the opening two episodes, I can honestly say it was watch-able. There was no slack in the story telling, which may leave the characters a little flat later on, but for a no brainer TV show it is worth giving it a shot. Just do not go in expecting something life changing. And leave your memories of the movie at the door.

Sky Living apparently will be airing the show in the UK from July. 

I now have a regular column (Horror Obscura)  in the new online version of Starburst Magazine, which is superb since I grew up reading that and its companion, House of Hammer (later .Hammer's Halls Of Horror) Check it out and sign up for a FREE subscription, for life! (This blog entry is also included in the features section on there)
Stay Lucky.

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