Last year's debut of Teen Wolf - MTV's serialized take on the 1980s Michael J. Fox comedy - surprised pretty much everyone, myself included. The general feeling was, "How the hell do you take a cheesy, dated flick that only appeals to people who grew up watching it, and turn it into something viewers today would enjoy?" Not only did MTV and series creator Jeff Davis manage to do it successfully, they did it well enough to garner a second season.
The key was to make it dark and sexy. Aside from a few basic details (like having the show's lead be a teenager who also happens to be a werewolf) the show is nothing at all like the film. The first season did suffer a few stumbling blocks - namely, finding that balance between teen angst and the supernatural - but things have really evened out for the second season.
At a recent panel at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles, the one phrase that both cast and crew could agree on about the second season was that it would be "even darker." Having seen the first two episodes, I can attest to that: the focus is almost entirely on the monsters in your closet. The teen angst (such as Alison sneaking out to see Scott after her parents forbade her) is merely an afterthought.
"Season one was kind of a Spiderman story," Davis explained. "It was about Scott learning to deal with his new found ‘ability.' Season two will be him figuring out what to do with that." Tyler Posey, who plays Scott, the eponymous wolf, adds that he is playing the role with more maturity this season, so he can "take on that hero role."
And there will be plenty of need for a hero. This season will feature more werewolves, and another monster that Davis calls The Abomination. "It's a different kind of shapeshifter," he hints. Don't worry - The Abomination reveals itself in episode two. Alison will also take on a more proactive role. Not only is she dealing with her now-secret relationship with a werewolf, but there is all kind of family drama in the works. With Aunt Kate dead, Alison's grandpa - whom she hasn't seen since she was three - comes into town with his mind set on wiping out the werewolf race. Crystal Reed, who plays Alison, says her character is at a crossroads. "She knows werewolves are bad, and she wants to be a good Argent daughter, but she also knows Scott, and Scott isn't bad. This season is all about finding a balance for her." Luckily that balance also includes Alison learning to throw Chinese ring daggers. "I fillet some people," she admits.
The cast has almost doubled in size. In addition to grandpa Argent (played with delicious slyness by Michael Hogan), there are four new classmates: Isaac (played by Daniel Sharman) who is abused by his father; Matt (Stephen Lunsford), who may be a threat to Scott when it comes to the affections of Alison; and two characters we haven't met yet: Erica (Gage Golightly) and Boyd (Sinqua Walls).
"It gets bloody," Davis promises. MTV did not require they tone down any of the gore, but some of the broadcast rules fascinated Davis. "We couldn't show the insertion of a knife, but you can see blood and guts dripping from a body." Still, season two will focus tremendously on the werewolf mythology, most of which is derived from the European traditions. He promises that we will learn the meaning of Derek's tattoo, we will learn more about the mysterious vet from season one, and we will see a female werewolf. He won't say who, but said the biggest challenge was deciding on a look for the she-wolf, to find a balance between sexy and fierce. Davis also promises that he will not bring in vampires to the show (werewolves and vampires are two beasts that often go hand-in-paw), but adds this caveat: "Ask me again in five years when we run out of ideas."
Teen Wolf kicks off its season with a two-night premiere beginning on Sunday, June 3rd at 11pm, and continuing in its regular timeslot Monday, June 4th at 10pm.