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Why Teen Wolf is the Best Show You’re Not Watching

23 Aug

See? Magical.

Yes as a matter of fact, I’m still obsessed with Teen Wolf. Really obsessed. Vampire Diaries level obsessed. Which should tell you something. Also at this point if you told me I could have Teen Wolf back in October but Vampire Diaries would have to wait until next summer, I’d say bring on the furry beasts. But this doesn’t fully explain why you should be watching. If you know my interests, it should tell you that this isn’t another passing fancy. But here’s why you need to marathon the first two seasons immediately.

1) Plot Twists

Season 1 of Teen Wolf starts a little slow but once it gets going, it never stops. And plots aren’t lingered on too long. We get enough to hook us or to cause a new twist and then we weave into a new storyline. Perhaps my favorite part of the plot twists is that they’re all set up early on. There’s not really any retconning to make it work. Just a clearly defined story woven with about a dozen other clearly defined stories.

2) Sterek

I ship them. Everyone ships them. The actors ship their characters. And now that Jeff Davis (exec producer/writer) has said that Stiles is probably bisexual, we are so much closer to getting them. It’ll probably be like season 5 BUT I CAN WAIT.

3) Involved & Caring Authority Figures

Parents who pay attention to their kids. Parents who exist. Authority figures who aren’t all out to hate on their students. Parents who figure out there’s some creepy shit going on in their town. Hell for that matter, these parents are often taking down the creepy shit. Find me another teen show where that happens. I DARE YOU.

4) Supernatural Secrets Aren’t a Big Deal

By the end of S2 (only 24 episodes) most of the key players, teen or adult, know about werewolves. With so many shows all about the secrecy (and said secrecy taking up most of the screen time) this is insanely refreshing.

5) Clear Morals

I like when I can know a character. They don’t have to have good morals, just clear ones. Let me know where they stand and where they falter and I can understand their actions. Teen Wolf does just that. It’s why I know exactly what kind of choices Derek Hale & Chris Argent will make, even if they’re supposed to be on opposing sides.

6) Gay Characters

So Danny is the main character on Teen Wolf. He’s also hot, popular, confident and star of the lacrosse team. There’s a scene where the coach accidentally (truly) makes a comment that could sound homophobic. He quickly apologizes because he’s not at all prejudiced like that. but even better is the way every other guy in the lacrosse locker room looks at him like he’s the idiot for thinking two guys dating would be weird. If only more shows would treat homosexuality like this, maybe we could see it at real high schools. Even a momentary red herring that hints at the possibility of Danny quickly turns it around to laugh in viewers’ faces, as though mocking us for even thinking Teen Wolf would be so pathetically cliche.

7) Badass Chicks

Women are warriors. They’re also smart. Allison could give Katniss a run for her money with her archery skills, Mama Argent is scarily amazing and Lydia Martin is one of the smartest, sassiest girls you’ll ever meet. Sidelining the women doesn’t happen here. The boys may be the werewolves but the girls wield just as much power.

8) The Primary Romance

I have a love/hate relationship with most primary romances. And the reason for this is that they’re so on/off again that it’s so unrealistic it turns me off from the show. Because while thinking this person is the one and you’ll never love anyone else as much is totally a high school thing, bouncing back and forth between characters really isn’t. Nearly every high school kid I knew was one of 4 things: a slut, a player, committed, or a virgin. On again off again is so a freshman year of college thing.

So it’s refreshing to have a relationship between two leads that keeps going. That focuses on them and more importantly takes time to allow the characters to vocalize their feelings.

9) Gratuitous Shirtlessness

Please. Like you don’t watch half your shows for this. The fun of Teen Wolf is that it totally plays up the gratuitous scenes, especially those of Tyler Hoechlin like it’s absolutely in on the joke.

10) Creepiness Factor

While I get scared easily, I absolutely love when a show really goes for it in scenes and will be completely creepy or scary or what not. A lot of Teen Wolf is directed like a really good B movie in that it plays on your imagination more than actual visuals. And when it does do visuals, like a snake coming out of an eyeball, it’ll make you scream in agony.

11) Stiles

If Seth Cohen & Pacey Witter had a love child, it would be Stiles. He’s funny and charming and goofy and awkward and the most warmhearted character on many shows.

12) Women’s Agency

I mentioned the kickass ladies of this show above. But what is quite possibly my very favorite thing about the show (tied only with the show’s fabulous treatment of homosexuality) is the very Whedon-like approach to girl power. There was a post a few weeks ago about why Whedon shows seem to have more strong females than other shows (I’m fairly certain it was an AV Club post but I may be wrong). Anyway it was trying to ask why Joss’ shows had women who were truly capable, not just indulged. I meant to comment but never did so allow my tangent here please.

Basically, I think the reason that most of the women from Whedon projects are so admired is because the men of the show allow the women their agency. On the one hand, that kind of sucks because we women should be allowed to be leaders and kickass and all that of our own accord. But most leadership seminars and books will tell you that you can’t be a leader if no one will follow. So I guess on that front its not so much sexist as natural. I mean no one really listens to Xander as a leader except when he’s got his soldier persona. Or Spike like ever. Which is all to say that if you take away the gender aspect, a leader can only be shown as a leader if people listen to what he/she says and does as instructed. And the reason that women get to be such clear leaders on Buffy is because people defer to them. No one questions Buffy’s plans (except for suggestions of hummus) and people assume Adele knows her shit or they learn that Fred is pretty damn capable in her own right.

This sounds pretty straight forward. And like it should be happening on most shows. But it doesn’t. In fact it’s incredibly rare. There’s almost always someone questioning a woman’s decision. And usually in a way that emphasizes it’s because she’s a woman. We don’t get our agency in films or TV very often. Even when you think it’s happening, it really doesn’t. Like take The Vampire Diaries, a show I love with many awesome ladies. With the exception of Katherine (and even that’s more because she doesn’t really ask anyone to work with her), most of the women on that show are not allowed their agency. It’s frustrating how rare it is.

Okay so that was a long spiel. Back to connecting to Teen Wolf. See in Teen Wolf, the girls get their agency. I could wax poetic for days about the way that in hunter families, the women are the leaders. They’re also trained to be warriors. But it’s just assumed that they’ll be leaders. In fact after a tragedy, the men in the Argent family immediately defer to Allison. Or the way Lydia, who could use her friends, is still treated as being fully capable of healing on her own. My absolute favorite line yet on the show comes from Stiles. It epitomizes exactly the attitude the writers & characters have towards women. It’s sadly refreshing but I’m hopeful it helps pave the way to more shows highlighting women over sidelining them. “You know this whole ‘women make me weak’ thing is a little too Spartan warrior for me.”

Now, I will end by saying I do know that all shows aren’t for everyone. And I think if you don’t like Stiles (which I’ve heard is possible and I would judge except for the fact that I despise Xander Harris who is very similar in many ways to Stiles so that doesn’t seem all that fair) then you’ll struggle with the show. Not so much because it’s all about Stiles but because the first half of the first season struggles. That’s the part where everyone seems to be trying to figure out if this is just a cheesy remake that will get a season or two and die off or if they’re going to become a good show. And then the middle of S1, there’s some pretty distinct movement towards badassery and it just spirals into this tightly woven deliciously addicting show. But Stiles (imo) is kind of the redeeming factor of the first several episodes so an aversion to Stiles is going to be hard to get past.

Regardless, we’re talking 24 episodes total. I urge you to watch. Beg you. I need to discuss this with everyone immediately. Because Teen Wolf really is one of the best shows on TV.

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1 Comment

Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Let's Talk TV

 

Tags: , , , , ,

One response to “Why Teen Wolf is the Best Show You’re Not Watching

  1. Mary

    October 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    If only you didn’t say slut.

     

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