TV Review: 'Pilot' - 'Teen Wolf' Episode 1.1


Teen Wolf Episode 1.1


Written By: Jeff Davis

Directed By: Russell Mulcahy

Original Airdate: 5 June 2011

In This Episode...

Scott is a normal high school kid. Plays lacrosse, isn't popular but isn't an outcast. His best friend, Stiles, is the sheriff's kid, and takes Scott into the woods when he overhears his dad talking about a body found by hikers. The pair get separated when Stiles's dad takes him home and Scott escapes notice. A stampede of deer knock him down and leave him easy prey for a large wolfy beast. Scott fights the beast off and walks away with a bite wound.

The next day, Scott starts to notice weird new abilities. He can hear a cell phone conversation across campus. His first day of lacrosse practice reveals heightened strength, speed, and agility.  At his night job at an animal hospital, the cats hate him, and angry dogs seem to be soothed by him. Stiles thinks that Scott is a werewolf, but what sane human being would believe that diagnosis? The full moon happens to fall on the night of The Big Party (every high school has one), but Scott doesn't want to break his date with pretty new girl Allison.

At the party, Scott begins to change. He bails on Allison, drives home, and locks himself in his room. Stiles comes to help, but Scott is more concerned about Allison. He tells Stiles he thinks Derek bit him - and that is who gave Allison a ride home. Stiles goes to check on Allison - she is home, safe and sound. Meanwhile, a wolfy Scott leaps out of his window and goes running. In the woods, a human Derek sees Scott. He promises that Allison is safe, but they are not. Hunters - men from long lines of werewolf killers - are in the woods. Derek and Scott have to run. Scott gets shot in the arm with a crossbow and is stuck to a tree. An unknown werewolf distracts the hunters long enough for Derek to free Scott and the two run off.

Derek promises to teach Scott to control his wolf side. Stiles promises to chain up Scott every full moon. Allison reluctantly forgives Scott for bailing at the party. Things "get interesting" when it is revealed that Allison's father is the head werewolf hunter.

Dig It or Bury It?

I know this isn't a ringing endorsement, but Teen Wolf was not as bad as I thought it would be. A lot of the dialogue was hokey and stiff, the acting was nothing special, and the directing was weak, especially for the action scenes. The few action scenes were shot in the dark, in extreme close-up, and lacked any fluidity. That said, the episode itself was well-paced and the tone was suitably dark. The few FX shots were well-done, and the one body this episode - the woman in the forest - was respectably gruesome. 

I don't know if Teen Wolf will have the longevity of Vampire Diaries or True Blood. All three are based on source material, but Teen Wolf's source is not particularly intricate or involved. A diversion from the original is certainly welcome - hell, encouraged. I just don't know if MTV is willing to put the money and effort into a scripted series. But I'm in.

Teen Wolf Too

Like in the film, the TV show's Scott only does a partial transformation. I don't know if this is supposed to be a tribute to the film, or if this is just MTV trying to save a few bucks. 

Greatest. Moment. Ever.

Mom to Scott, as he prepares for his date with Allison: "I don't want to end up on some reality show about pregnant 16-year-olds." See, it's funny because MTV has this horrifying reality show called "16 and Pregnant."

Dumbest. Moment. Ever.

Stiles: "There are no wolves in California. There haven't been in like, 10 years." I live in California. We have wolves like New York has cockroaches.


Honestly, I don't know. The pilot set up who our characters are and the broad strokes of their situation. Right now, all I can see on the horizon are generics: Allison's dad will put stress on her and Scott's burgeoning relationship. Every time lacrosse captain and school bully Jackson picks on Scott, Scott will teach him a lesson, further infuriating the big man on campus. Stiles will be loyal, no matter what the cost. Blah blah blah. Right now, all I see is formula.