Honestly, I still don’t have an answer. When my friend and I started watching this show during our sophomore year of high school, we didn’t have high expectations. I mean, another show about supernatural teenagers? Haven’t we had enough of that with series like Twilight and The Vampire Diaries?
The show starts about the same as, well, almost any American show portraying high school students. You get actors like Tyler Posey and Colton Haynes, both in their early twenties, playing supposedly 16-year-old sophomores in high school. Look, suspension of disbelief can only go so far. All I know is that the boys in our grade did not look anything like what I was seeing on screen.
So where did the sudden shift from “Ugh, another show about teenage werewolves” to “Wow, I'm actually enjoying this” come from?
Maybe it was the distinct lack of sparkly vampires. Maybe it was because Scott McCall, the protagonist, started out as a mediocre athlete with asthma, something I could relate to. Maybe it was the awkward charm of Scott’s best friend, Stiles Stilinski, played by Dylan O’Brien––a celebrity I’ve always had heart eyes for.
Seriously, though, the individual characters are a huge part of why the show is so surprisingly good. Stiles Stilinski is arguably the best character on the show. His wisecracks and intelligence never fail to point our characters in the right direction while also adding another layer of humor to each episode. Even the minor characters contribute so much to the show––every scene with the perpetually cranky lacrosse coach, simply named “Coach”, makes me laugh no matter how many times I’ve seen the show.
Another aspect of Teen Wolf’s appeal has to be its awareness of its own ridiculousness. The show has some incredibly emotional moments. But amidst all of the drama and darkness, the characters often remind us that they’re just people dealing with things they don’t fully understand. Whether it’s a sarcastic quip from Stiles or a deadpan comment from Derek Hale, each character gets a chance to break the suspense with moments of levity. And each episode has me simultaneously on the edge of my seat and clutching my sides with laughter.
Yes, Teen Wolf is just another show about supernatural teens. I won’t try and act like each season’s villain is an allegory for some hidden societal evil, or that there are deeper messages behind each storyline. It really is just a fun show with fun characters, brought to life by the actors who genuinely love the roles they’re playing.
You might still be skeptical. I certainly wouldn’t blame you. But if you give the show a chance, you just might find yourself thinking the same thing I did: Wait, Teen Wolf is actually kinda good.