Teen Wolf (2011 TV series)

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Teen Wolf
Teen Wolf Intertitle.png
Based on Teen Wolf
by Jeph Loeb
Matthew Weisman
Developed by Jeff Davis
Composer(s) Dino Meneghin
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 70 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Joseph Genier
Running time 40-43 minutes (per episode)
Production company(s)
Original channel MTV
Original release June 5, 2011 (2011-06-05) – present
Related shows
External links
Official website

Teen Wolf is an American television series developed by Jeff Davis for MTV. It is loosely based on the 1985 film of the same name, and stars Tyler Posey as a teenager named Scott, who is bitten by a werewolf and must cope with how it affects his life and the lives of those closest to him.

Teen Wolf premiered on June 5, 2011, following the 2011 MTV Movie Awards.[1] On July 24, 2014, MTV renewed Teen Wolf for a fifth season of 20 episodes, which will be split into two parts, and premiered June 29, 2015.[2][3] On July 9, 2015, Teen Wolf was renewed for a sixth season.[4] The series has received a generally positive response from critics.[5][6][7][8]


The series revolves around social outcast Scott McCall, a high school student living in the town of Beacon Hills. Scott's life drastically changes when he is bitten by a werewolf the night before sophomore year, becoming one himself. He must henceforth learn to balance his problematic new identity with his day-to-day teenage life. The following characters are instrumental to his struggle: Stiles Stilinski, his human best friend; Allison Argent, his first love interest who comes from a family of werewolf hunters; Lydia Martin, a banshee and Allison's best friend; and Derek Hale, a mysterious werewolf with a dark past. Along the way, he encounters characters who shape him into a stronger werewolf and better person: Jackson, a bully from his high school; Malia Tate, a were-coyote and Kira Yukimura; a Japanese fox spirit and Scott's second love interest; and Liam Dunbar, Scott's beta and the first human he bites. Throughout the series, he strives to keep his loved ones safe while maintaining normal relationships with them.


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 12 June 5, 2011 (2011-06-05) August 15, 2011 (2011-08-15)
2 12 June 3, 2012 (2012-06-03) August 13, 2012 (2012-08-13)
3 24 12 June 3, 2013 (2013-06-03) August 19, 2013 (2013-08-19)
12 January 6, 2014 (2014-01-06) March 24, 2014 (2014-03-24)
4 12 June 23, 2014 (2014-06-23) September 8, 2014 (2014-09-08)
5 20[9][10] June 29, 2015 (2015-06-29) TBA

Teen Wolf premiered on June 5, 2011, following the 2011 MTV Movie Awards.[1] The second season premiered on June 3, 2012 after 2012 MTV Movie Awards. On July 12, 2012, Teen Wolf was renewed for a third season, which includes 24 episodes and the production location was moved to Los Angeles, California.[11] The third season premiered on June 3, 2013 at 10 pm,[12] giving the series a new high on ratings.[13] A fourth season premiered on June 23, 2014.[14] On July 24, 2014, MTV renewed Teen Wolf for a fifth season of 20 episodes, which will be split into two parts, and is premiered June 29, 2015.[2][3] On July 9, 2015, Teen Wolf was renewed for a sixth season. Showrunner Jeff Davis confirmed that Tyler Posey, Dylan O'Brien, and Dylan Sprayberry will be reprising their roles as Scott McCall, "Stiles" Stilinski, and Liam Dunbar respectively.[4]

Cast and characters[edit]

Development and production[edit]

In June 2009, MTV announced that they would be adapting the 1985 film Teen Wolf into a new television series "with a greater emphasis on romance, horror and werewolf mythology".[15]

MTV's Teen Wolf series was a re-imagining of the earlier Michael J. Fox comedy film, which was itself a reimagining of the classic 1957 AIP film, I Was a Teenage Werewolf. The film had been previously adapted for television, as an animated series aired on CBS in 1986–87.

For the MTV series, creator and executive producer, Jeff Davis, aimed to develop a darker, sexier and edgier version than the 1985 film. Davis' desire was to make a thriller with comedic overtones but in a tone more similar to that of the 1987 vampire film The Lost Boys. According to Davis, it all started with an idea to do a homage to Stand by Me, where in the beginning, the kids go out and search for a body in the woods and it's not quite what they expect.[16] The look of the show was inspired in part by Guillermo del Toro's creatures in Pan's Labyrinth; the producers described the werewolves as beautiful, elegant and scary, at the same time.[16]

Once the show was a go, Davis lined up Australian director Russell Mulcahy, who added the horror to the project.[16] Mulcahy directed the pilot presentation and serves as executive producer and in-house director.[17]

The title card from season one.

Casting announcements were all announced in December 2010, with the main cast being, Tyler Posey, Crystal Reed, Tyler Hoechlin, Dylan O'Brien, Holland Roden, and Colton Haynes. Posey was cast as the lead Scott McCall, a dorky high-school student who after being bitten by a werewolf, starts to notice changes in himself, Reed playing Allison Argent, a sweet new girl at school who is immediately attracted to Scott, Hoechlin playing Derek Hale, a handsome local boy who in fact is a vicious and predatory werewolf, and O'Brien playing Stiles, Scott's best friend. Roden playing Lydia Martin, Jackson Whittemore's popular and controlling girlfriend, and Haynes playing Jackson Whittemore, Scott's lacrosse teammate and rival.[18]

Production on twelve episodes began in October 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.[19] MTV released a sneak peek of the first eight minutes of the pilot on their website, on May 31, 2011. Teen Wolf episodes are composed by music composer Dino Meneghin.[20] As of Season 2, the opening credits of the show changed dramatically to a longer format featuring the main characters appearing whilst performing an action (such as Colton Haynes performing a lacrosse throw), along with the respective names of the actors. The new opening credits also feature the show's new theme song.[21] In June 2012, the series received conditional approval for a California film and TV tax credit.[22] At Comic-Con 2012, the cast confirmed that the show had been renewed for a longer third season, comprising twenty-four episodes.[23] In June 2013, the series was selected again for a California tax credit.[24] Roughly halfway through each episode, the series has a segment with the song Row, Row, Row Your Boat, utilizing an alternative and much darker rendition of the song.[25] This song sequence concludes, and is explained in Season 3 when Stiles is shown to be locked in a semi-conscious dream state along with Scott.

Differences and similarities from films[edit]

The original film is about a typical awkward team sports playing teenager named Scott dealing with high school and life as a werewolf. In both versions, Scott reaps the benefits of werewolf stardom, achieving confidence and acceptance from his peers with his newly discovered powers and has a close friend named Stiles.[26][27][not in citation given]

There are significant differences between the film and TV series. MTV's version is a drama/comedy with a darker tone while the 1985 film was simply a comedy. The humor in the new series is a darker humor but pays tribute to the original feel of the movie.[citation needed] In promos before airing, the producers said they were influenced by Joss Whedon's high school drama series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Whedon's central premise was: "High school as a horror movie. And so the metaphor became the central concept behind Buffy, and that's how I sold it." The writers have confirmed they have no intention to include vampires but other creatures may be considered.[28] There is also a surprising amount of violence and horrific images in the new series, this includes a dead body that has been torn in half, scenes of people being burned alive, as well as multiple fight scenes that result in deaths or grievous wounds and hallucinations of torture.

In this series, Scott plays lacrosse instead of basketball. In the original, Scott inherits the werewolf trait from his father Harold who hid his lycanthropy from his son in the hopes that it would skip a generation, while the Scott on MTV's show gets bitten by a werewolf in the woods. Both Scotts are raised by a single parent, in the film Scott is brought up by his father and his mother is said to have died whilst in the series Scott is brought up by his mother who is divorced from his father. The new Stiles wears T-shirts featuring the Beatles and the Royal Air Force roundel symbol, while the original Stiles favored shirts that included highly-offensive phrases.[26] Another difference is that in the original everyone knew Scott was a wolf: in the modern update it remains a secret to the general population, with some of the plot exploring the resulting problems that arise from keeping his transformation hidden, in addition to Scott's inner conflict about being a werewolf.

There is one reference, in part 1 of the season 1 finale of the series, to which the character Peter Hale mocks lacrosse, and says in his day everyone played basketball.

The Teen Wolf sequel, Teen Wolf Too, is non-canon to the MTV series, as it involves the central characters (Jason Bateman as Todd Howard), and Stiles (Stuart Fratkin) in college. Teen Wolf Too was derided by critics, and never followed by another sequel.[29][30]

Series werewolf mythology[edit]


In the series, there is a hierarchy in place that designates various stations under which werewolves are classified. The highest of these types is an Alpha werewolf. So far, the only two known ways for a Beta (werewolves with a pack) or Omega (werewolves without a pack) to achieve Alpha ranking is by killing another Alpha or becoming a True Alpha werewolf, which is only achieved by strength and purity of character or sheer willpower. The show also hints that there is a natural line of succession within packs. Alphas are the only type of werewolf that can transform humans into new werewolves with their bite. Alpha werewolves' eyes glow red when they are transformed. The Alpha werewolves are typically the leaders of a werewolf pack and are generally more powerful than all other werewolves. Due to a symbiotic relationship between pack members, the larger or more powerful the pack is, the greater an Alpha werewolf's strength, speed, and skill increases. They have the ability to force other werewolves (or other shape-shifters) to transform, or restrain and change them back to human form, even when driven purely by werewolf instinct, as on an early full moon, with their roar. Alpha werewolves have limited telepathy and mental control over the werewolves that they create. If an Alpha werewolf directly wounds another werewolf, the wound will take longer to heal.

The second type of werewolf is a Beta werewolf. These are the most common form of werewolf. They are members of a pack of werewolves and are led by the Alpha werewolves. Their transformation generally involves the growth of claws and some facial differences, such as the growth of sideburns, elongated canines, a heavier brow and a widening of the nose, resembling that of the 1960s television character Eddie Munster. Beta werewolves have glowing blue or gold eyes when transformed or agitated. A Beta werewolf's eyes colour changes from gold to a glowing blue when the werewolf takes an innocent life. Like Alpha werewolves, a Beta werewolf's power will increase if their pack increases in power or numbers.

The third and lowest level of werewolf is an Omega werewolf. These are lone wolves who do not have a position in a pack. Due to the symbiotic strength, speed, and skill werewolves receive from their pack-mates, the Omega werewolves are often considered the weakest of the werewolves and are often targeted as easy prey. Like Beta werewolves, an Omega werewolf's transformation consists of the growth of claws and some facial differences, such as the growth of sideburns, elongated canines, a heavier brow and a widening of the nose. There are three ways for a Beta werewolf to become an Omega werewolf; if they leave their pack of their own free will, if they are thrown out of their pack, or if their entire pack is killed, and they are the survivors. Omega werewolves have the same physical appearance of Beta werewolves. Also, like Betas, Omega werewolves have yellow or blue eyes in their werewolf form. Their eye colour change from gold to blue when they take an innocent life.

Other traits[edit]

One can become a werewolf by one of three known methods; being Bitten by an Alpha werewolf such as Scott McCall, scratched in the case of Kate Argent, though this only works if the claws go deep enough or being a werewolf by birth, having biological werewolf parents like Derek, Laura and Cora Hale. An Alpha werewolf's Bite is not always successful and some bitten humans reject the Bite and die from it rather than transform: this was the fate of Paige. In the case of Jackson Whittemore, because of his persona specifically the feeling that he lacks an identity, his body rejected the Bite and he became a mutation of the werewolf gene; the Kanima. If a banshee, like Lydia, is bitten, they will neither transform or die: they are immune, but after Derek killed him, Peter Hale, inexplicably, was able to remain alive through Lydia's hallucinations as a result of his Biting her. The Bite, if successful, not only transforms a human into a werewolf, but also cures previous medical conditions such as asthma, epilepsy, cancer and can even heal scars.

A werewolf's physical abilities are increased to an extremely high level. This allows them to do such things as: sense when a person is lying by listening to their heart rate, run incredibly fast by using a combination of both their hands and legs that allows them to outrun their opponents, see things over immense distances, track a person via their scent, maintain a high endurance level, heal from wounds very quickly, and enhanced strength that allows them to overpower their opponents, humans or most supernatural creatures. The show depicts that werewolves can develop a measure of control over their abilities, as at one point Scott's healing ability was shown to be faulty because of psychological reasons.

Werewolves can also absorb and alleviate physical pain from other beings. However, as Peter Hale mentioned, if they take away too much, the werewolf could possibly kill himself. Alpha werewolves can use this ability to cure the incredibly sick, but it costs them their Alpha status.

Werewolves can come back to life if their bodies are still intact only on the night of the new full moon, in March (also known as the Worm Moon). To come back to life, they need the light of the full moon shining on their bodies and drops of blood from an Alpha werewolf. If the werewolf resurrected was an Alpha werewolf, they revert to an Omega classification.

All Beta or Omega werewolves initially possess yellow eyes. Their eyes become permanently blue if they take an innocent life. Derek and Peter Hale, Jackson Whittemore, and the twins Ethan and Aiden as well as Kincaid are known werewolves who possess blue eyes in their Beta/Omega forms, Derek got his by mercy-killing Paige, who was dying painfully from a werewolf bite. The manner or the intention behind the kill doesn't seem to matter, as Jackson was under the control of a master and was not aware of his actions.

Werewolves are highly allergic to wolfsbane. A bullet laced with the form Nordic blue monkshood almost killed Derek Hale, but he burned the remains from another bullet and applied the ashes to the wound which cured him. Mistletoe is also poisonous to them. If a werewolf is physically unwell, they throw up a liquicious black substance as a known symptom of being poisoned by wolfsbane, mistletoe and their blood turns the same black color whenever their healing ability could be similarly ineffective. As depicted by Gerard Argent and Paige, people also eject the said black substance out of their bodies as a result of rejecting the Bite either because the bite is rejected naturally by the body or if the person has ingested Mountain Ash.

Like other supernatural creatures, werewolves are weakened by mountain ash. Werewolves are physically unable to cross into territories that have been surrounded by mountain ash, especially in its powdered state due to its potency. The appliance of extreme heat can override a werewolf's healing ability as shown when Derek applied the fire from a blowtorch to Scott's skin giving Scott a permanent tattoo. The steady application of low amperage electricity will at certain levels weaken werewolves, deprive them of their abilities and keep them in human form. Physical pain causes a werewolf to stop shifting and revert to its human form. Also, it is revealed that werewolves lose their powers under a lunar eclipse.

The new full moon brings about a natural wildness to werewolves, sometimes causing the werewolf to act out violently. New werewolves often restrain themselves during this period so they do not do harm to humans or draw attention to themselves. With practice for werewolves who are newly turned, this lunar side-effect can be mentally controlled. Genetic werewolves can gain control over their werewolf powers and abilities, and animal side, much faster than bitten werewolves, due to the fact they were born werewolves, and it is part of their nature.

Werewolves can also lose control if their natural cycle of full moon transformations is disrupted; Derek's younger sister, Cora, were locked in a bank vault lined with hecatolite laced stone. The hecatolite refracted the moonlight keeping the full moon from reaching them. This kept them from shifting for three full moons diminishing their tolerance to it. Once the walls of the vault were breached and the light of the full moon reached them they lost all control and went completely feral, rabid and tried to kill their friends and family.

Symbols also have significance among werewolves. The Triskele (spiral symbol) represents an intent for revenge or a vendetta (both highly common amongst werewolves).

One way a werewolf can communicate is by lengthening their claws and having physical contact with someone resulting in a form of telepathy. Piercing another being with their claws can enable the werewolf to see the victim's memories; by driving the claws into the back of a being's neck, this process will either imprint a series of memories from the attacker to the victim, or remove memories from the victim's mind. As Peter has demonstrated, the process can work both ways as seen when he extracted Isaac's memories that had been removed from his mind. According to Peter, this skill is used exclusively by Alpha werewolves, or ones who have been Alpha werewolves, due to the high risk involved; if this is done by inexperienced werewolves, they could unintentionally paralyze or kill someone.

Peter and Cora Hale have hinted that werewolves age differently from humans. This phenomenon has not been explicitly explained.

Camera flashes and some video recording devices cause werewolves eyes to glow making them nearly impossible to photograph. They can apparently learn to control this effect.

The male identical twins, Ethan and Aiden, have exhibited the ability to merge into a single larger werewolf form, that can overwhelm most supernatural creatures. They had to be taught how to harness and control this technique, however. It is unknown if this ability is unique only to werewolves who are blood related, particularly relatives of the same gender but it is known that twins of the same gender may merge. Their merged werewolf form's neck was snapped and they appeared to be dead, but they survived as individuals with both their Alpha status and their ability to merge lost.

Peter and Derek utilized a ritual in season 3 where Peter had the werewolf claws of the deceased Talia Hale inserted underneath his own fingernails and he drove them into the back of Derek's neck akin to the manner of a werewolf's memory transference or memory-wiping. Derek had a vision where he could actually communicate with Talia's spirit in a form of channeling the dead.


Critical response[edit]

The first season of the series has generated a generally positive response from professional critics, with some praising it as better quality when compared to other shows by MTV. According to Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the show holds an average score of 61 out of 100, which indicates "Generally favorable reviews", based on fourteen reviews.[5] Metacritic also lists the show as the second-highest rated MTV series by professional critics behind Awkward.[31]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 70% of 23 critics have given the first season a positive review. The site's consensus is: "Thanks to a charismatic lead in Tyler Posey and some dark, biting humor, Teen Wolf is a pleasant summer surprise, even if it does tread familiar ground."[6] Linda Stasi, a writer from the New York Post, awarded the series' premiere a perfect score, stating, "Not only is it really well thought out, but the good-looking kids in the show can actually act."[32] Verne Gay from Newsday also reserved high praise for the show, calling it a "winner and best of all, fun".[33] David Hinckley of New York Daily News commented favorably on the series, ending his review with "Werewolves, pretty girls, dumb bullies and lacrosse. What more, really, could you ask of high school?"[34] Film critic Rex Reed is a fan of the series, calling it "the sexiest show on television today."

Some critics had a less positive reaction toward the first episode. Troy Patterson from Slate gave it a mixed review, referring to it as "light and passably witty supernatural drama".[35] James Poniewozik from Time magazine also had mixed feelings towards the show, saying, "The pilot isn't bad, exactly—it's well-paced if a little dour in spots and there's some decent CW-esque banter—but it's pretty much entirely what I would have expected from any supernatural teen drama".[36] Following the first season finale in August 2011, Ian Grey of indieWire gave the series a positive review[37] and Angel Cohn of Television Without Pity named it the third best new show of the summer.[38] BuddyTV ranked Teen Wolf #4 on its list of 2011's best new TV shows.[39]

The second season of the show received even more positive reviews than the first one, and Rotten Tomatoes reports that 80% of 5 critics have given it a positive review.[7] The third season also received positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which reports that 100% of 11 critics gave it a positive review.[8]


The series premiere attracted a total of 2.17 million viewers.[40] After airing its third episode, Teen Wolf was reported to be heading into its fourth week with tremendous momentum following a 23% increase among persons 12–34, with a 1.6 in the demo. With double digit percentage gains among total viewers and key demos, Teen Wolf was the #1 show in its timeslot with women 12–34.[41] The first season finale attained a series high in persons 12–34 (1.9) and 2.1 million viewers overall, as well as being first in its timeslot among teens and females 12–34.[42]

The show's creator, Jeff Davis confirmed that despite the broadcast ratings decline, the show benefits from a very signifiant online viewership, with up to 8 million streams per episode on MTV's online platforms alone. Davis cited this as a significant contributing factor to MTV renewing the show for a sixth season.[43]

Season Timeslot (ET/PT) Network Premiered Ended Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere
(in millions)
Date Finale
(in millions)
Season 1 Monday 10/9c MTV
June 5, 2011 (2011-06-05)
August 15, 2011 (2011-08-15)
2.08[45] 1.73
Season 2
June 4, 2012 (2012-06-04)
August 13, 2012 (2012-08-13)
Season 3
June 3, 2013 (2013-06-03)
March 24, 2014 (2014-03-24)
Season 4
June 23, 2014 (2014-06-23)
September 8, 2014 (2014-09-08)
Season 5
June 29, 2015 (2015-06-29)
1.53[52] TBA N/A N/A

Other media[edit]


In June 2012, MTV Books released the book On Fire, by Nancy Holder. The cover art features Tyler Posey with glowing yellow eyes, with a fire red background. The book tells the story of Scott McCall and the first season of Teen Wolf.


A comic themed upon the show was released in September 2011 by Image Comics.[53]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2011 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Fantasy/Sci-Fi Teen Wolf Nominated
Choice Summer TV Show Teen Wolf Nominated
Breakout Star Tyler Posey Nominated
Choice Summer TV Star – Male Nominated
Choice Summer TV Star – Female Crystal Reed Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Fantasy/Sci-Fi Nominated
2012 Saturn Awards Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television Teen Wolf Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer TV Show Teen Wolf Won
Choice Summer TV Star – Male Tyler Posey Won
Choice Summer TV Star – Female Crystal Reed Nominated
Imagen Award Best Actor/Television Tyler Posey Nominated
ALMA Award Favorite TV Actor – Leading Role Won
2013 Saturn Awards Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television Teen Wolf Won
Young Hollywood Award Best Ensemble Tyler Posey
Crystal Reed
Dylan O'Brien
Tyler Hoechlin
Holland Roden
Teen Choice Award Choice Summer TV Show Teen Wolf Nominated
Choice Summer TV Star – Male Tyler Posey Won
2014 Saturn Awards Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television Teen Wolf Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series Teen Wolf Nominated
Choice TV: Actor Sci-Fi/Fantasy Tyler Posey Nominated
Choice TV: Villain Dylan O'Brien Won
Choice Scene Stealer: Male Tyler Hoechlin Won
Young Hollywood Award[54] Bingeworthy TV Show Teen Wolf Nominated
2015 Saturn Awards Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Television Series Tyler Posey Nominated
Best Youth-Oriented Television Series Teen Wolf Nominated
2015 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Villian The Dread Doctors Nominated
Choice TV: Scene Stealer Dylan O'Brien Won
Choice TV: Summer Show Teen Wolf Won
Choice TV Summer Star: Male Tyler Posey Nominated


Teen Wolf is shown domestically in the USA on the pay TV channel MTV, Mondays at 10/9c.[55] Canada's MuchMusic aired the series until 2014,[56] when it was moved to the domestic version of MTV.[57] In Quebec, the series airs on VRAK.TV.

The United Kingdom's BSkyB aired the first two seasons on pay TV channel Sky Living, Thursdays 8PM GMT. There are no plans to re-new the series for the third season.[58] Australia's Foxtel airs the series on pay TV channel Fox8, Fridays at 9:30PM.[59] The Seven Network's primary free-to-air channel aired the first season during late night.


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]