A full moon must be rising at Paramount+, as werewolves are preparing to take over the streaming service. This Friday, Teen Wolf: The Movie arrives, continuing the adventures from the beloved TV series which ran for six seasons on MTV. Fans of the series will definitely want to check the film out, as Scott (Tyler Posey), Lydia (Holland Roden), and the rest of the Beacons Hill gang return for their biggest threat yet. However, that won’t be the only werewolf-centric project coming to Paramount+ as Wolf Pack is debuting the same day.
Wolf Pack is an adaptation of Edo van Belkom’s 2004 novel of the same name. The series was developed and executively produced by Jeff Davis (the creator of Teen Wolf and the spin-off film).
It’s apparent that Paramount+ is hoping to maximize the appeal of Wolf Pack with a double werewolf feature, but perhaps this pairing isn’t the only drawing factor of this series. Leading the cast is Sarah Michelle Gellar, who is no stranger to supernatural teen dramas, having starred as Buffy for seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So is Wolf Pack worth your time?
[Warning: light spoilers and impressions from Wolf Pack premiere episodes are below!]
Wolf Pack is its own separate werewolf series
I think it’s important to state early on, that even though the two are releasing on the same day and on the same service, Wolf Pack is not a continuation of Teen Wolf or connected to the franchise in any way. However, there are quite a few parallels between Wolf Pack and the Teen Wolf franchise, with the most obvious being that both focus on stories of teenagers who must learn to adapt to newly developed werewolf abilities.
Wolf Pack follows Everett Lang (Armani Jackson) and Blake Navarro (Bella Shepard) whose life was changed one day while on their way to school. It all begins on a school bus stuck in traffic, while the world outside Everett and Blake’s window is burning, literally. Their hometown is caught in a wildfire, one that is shrouded in mystery. The forest fire is at the core of the series, with two different storylines hinging on what happened on that faithful morning.
These two teens are bitten by something, which we can assume is the werewolf, and this causes some changes in their bodies and abilities. Most importantly, it sends their life in an unbelievable direction, as danger is around every corner.
This new trajectory also connects these two with twins Luna (Chloe Rose Robertson) and Harlan (Tyler Lawrence Gray). For better or worse, these two duos must work together, solving the events both normal and supernatural, before things get out of hand.
The good about Paramount+’s Wolf Pack
When you cast Sarah Michelle Gellar as your lead in any show or film, you know you’re about to get an amazing performance. For Wolf Pack, that is no exception. Playing Kristin Ramsey, an arson specialist sent to investigate the forest fire, Gellar brings the heat and clearly the selling point for this series.
Gellar’s character is kind of a hardass but seems to genuinely want to help the town and teens who are embroiled in the show’s mystery. She excels in this role, showing a bit more of a serious side, as this role lacks some of the light-hearted humor from Buffy and Scooby Doo.
I enjoyed the overall story and the mystery that drives it, finding myself drawn into it within the first few minutes of the first episode. It’s an interesting idea to have a supernatural story and a real-life mystery intertwined in Wolf Pack, but it works for this series.
The supernatural aspects are rather intense and potentially scary, while Gellar’s storyline of arson investigation grounds the story. Sure, arson is intense, but in comparison to the werewolf storyline, I didn’t find myself holding my breath.
The bad about this werewolf series
Wolf Pack, while I enjoyed it, seems to have a balance issue that it needs to correct. The first episode is one of the most intense episodes of television I have seen in a while. Some of the scenes were gruesome, so much so that I wondered how this show was aimed at teenagers. These scenes didn’t feel necessary to the story so I feel like they could have easily pulled these out and it might have been even better.
Part of this balance issue is that while the first episode was so intense and action-packed, the second episode slowed down quickly, almost to a snail’s pace at moments. It was essential to slow down and explore some of the aspects in greater detail, but I think there was a better way to do so.
Some of the CGI from this series is questionable, reminding me of early 2000’s graphics instead of the level we’re used to from modern-day projects. It’s a mind-scratching decision, especially when paired with Teen Wolf who embraces more practical looks for the characters and creatures. At times, the CGI took me out of the story, because it just didn’t fit well with the real-world aesthetic. Hopefully, that is fixed later on in the series.
I also didn’t love the use of generic stereotypes for quite a few of the characters. The gay character is hypersexual, either engaging or dreaming about sex all the time. The dark and brooding girl has a dark past she’s trying to protect. It felt like Wolf Pack pulled out every stereotype it could think of and shoved it into this series. It felt unnecessary and regressive to the progress made in television.
Overall impression of the Wolf Pack premiere episodes
As I was writing this, I struggled to find the exact words to describe my feelings about these two episodes. I think the best way to put it was cautiously enjoyable. At times it reminded me of Teen Wolf when began as a series, but I also find myself disappointed that it didn’t seem of the same caliber as it.
I think there is some great potential for the series, however, there is a lot in its way that could easily trip it up. This show deserves to be watched, for both Sarah Michelle Gellar’s performance as well as the core story. It’s not so bad that it should be turned off on episode one, but with a few more, we’ll really get to see how the show takes off.
Wolf Pack premieres on Paramount+ this Friday with two episodes. Are you going to be checking in? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus Discord. And if you haven’t already, check out our review of Teen Wolf: The Movie!