Last week, we took a deep-dive into Teen Wolf: The Movie. Since then, producer Jeff Davis has moved onto his next series about teenage werewolves. Wolf Pack premiered on Paramount Plus last week, but how is it related it Teen Wolf? More importantly, how does it hold up?
A Packed Introduction
The show takes us straight into a California wildfire, animals and humans flooding down the highway. The way the show dives straight into the action is something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it allows for high stakes from the start and cuts right to the point. There’s very little beating around the bush as they lay out the facts you need to know: there’s been a massive fire, people were wounded and killed on the highway, a school bus full of kids had to evacuate, and two of the students were bit by a wild animal. (Hint hint.)
On the other hand, this leaves very little time for character development. There’s a brief scene of exposition on the bus, establishing the main characters and their defining traits, but the dialogue is rushed and forced, some of the interactions downright unnatural. This show may be about werewolves, but I have a harder time believing that Everett—a teenage boy with crippling anxiety—would be talking on the phone with his therapist on the bus, asking for a higher dose of medication while surrounded by his classmates.
Another trade-off: showing the characters in a highly-stressful situation is a great way to show their core values, but doesn’t make them very likable. While that’s not a necessity, the audience does need to relate to the characters and root for them. The pilot paints the main teens, Everett and Blake, as good people, but I still didn’t feel particularly attached to either of them by the end.
A New Pack of Rules
If you’re coming to Wolf Pack from Teen Wolf, there’s a few things you need to know off the bat. While Teen Wolf started as a network television show on MTV, Wolf Pack is a streaming show with a TV-MA rating. That means more gore, coarse language, and adult content.
The difference will catch you off guard if you’re not careful. The pilot episode of Teen Wolf shows Scott and Stiles go off into the woods to find half a body, but that didn’t prepare me for watching someone’s face get caved in by a stampeding deer. More of the other injuries and effects weren’t quite as graphic, but the first few deaths certainly make an impression.
The pilot also sets up a few new supernatural rules. As two bitten teens, Everett and Blake have a psychic connection, allowing them to see each other when they’re apart. They also have a deadline. According to a mysterious phone call, the werewolf who bit them needs to kill them before the next full moon—different from Peter Hale’s goal of goading Scott into killing someone else. Personally, I’m most interested in the flaming ram that makes multiple appearances throughout the pilot. That’s certainly not something I’ve seen on a show about teenage werewolves.
Fans are also waiting for more info on Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character, an arson investigator
Throwback to the Pack
Wolf Pack may be playing by new rules, but a lot of the game is the same: werewolves with glowing, golden eyes, enhanced healing, and heightened senses. The bitten wolves (Everett and Blake) will learn from the born wolves (Luna and Harlan), and everyone will work together to fight the mysterious Alpha. At the same time the police, led by Sarah Michelle Gellar, are investigating an arson case. If that rings a few bells, it’s eerily similar to the first season of Teen Wolf.
Despite similarities, Jeff Davis has been very clear that the two shows are not set in the same universe. While Teen Wolf was a loose reboot the 1985 movie, Wolf Pack is based off a book of the same name by author Edo van Belkom. The different source material brings in a new tone and new mythology—but it’s hard to believe Paramount isn’t leaving themselves a back door.
Wolf Pack is set near Los Angeles in southern California. A few months ago, that wouldn’t have meant much, but since Teen Wolf: The Movie, it means opportunity. It establishes that Scott McCall has moved out of Beacon Hills and to Los Angeles, where he runs an animal shelter. After the film, we can assume that Dr. Alan Deaton, Allison Argent, and Eli Hale will be around Los Angeles too. Wolf Pack exists in its own space for now, but it seems to have a built-in safety net in case it under-performs.
Then again, maybe the shows won’t be connected after all. As Dr. Fenris says at the end of the movie, “We’ve heard plenty of stories about teenage werewolves. There’s always another one.”
The second episode of Wolf Pack will be available to stream tomorrow on Paramount Plus.