fter the smashing success of Jersey Shore and a slew of teen pregnancy reality shows, MTV seemed to abandon its once-stated goal of pushing shows focused on "young people proving themselves," themes it used to view as key to winning "Obama generation" viewers. But Sunday night's premiere of the "surprisingly good" Teen Wolf may indicate a return to that earlier mission. Loosely based on the 1985 Michael J. Fox movie of the same name (which is essentially where the similarities end), Teen Wolf follows a "gawky high school student" who, after being bitten by a werewolf, goes on a journey of self discovery in his quest to become a "confident wolf-boy." The show is trying to find a home in a crowded genre already packed with hits like The CW's Vampire Diaries. Will Teen Wolf be a success, too? (Watch a preview for the show.)
Yes, Teen Wolf is the "anti-Snooki": The premiere was a lot classier than most of what MTV broadcasts, says Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly, "and would be welcome for that alone." But beyond being successful counter-programming against shows like Jersey Shore and 16 and Pregnant, "Teen Wolf was just plain good — good fun, well-written, and well-acted." Let's hope "there's an appetite out there among you for its toothy charms."
"Teen Wolf premiere review: MTV bit its own 16 and Pregnant"
No, the premiere seemed tired: The first hour of Teen Wolf was exactly like "one of those vampire shows girls like now, except with werewolves," says James Poniewozik at TIME. Everything about the pilot could be seen on "any supernatural teen drama," creating a "missed opportunity" for MTV that leaves the network "a few pawprints behind" as it keeps scrambling to chase a popular trend.
"TV weekend: Teen Wolf"
Plus, it needs a new name: MTV's Teen Wolf has little in common with, and "doesn't live up to the standard" of, the 1985 film starring Michael J. Fox, says Daniel Fienberg at HitFix. MTV ought to just drop the copycat title and try to see if the show "can seduce viewers on its own merits."
"TV Review: MTV's Teen Wolf"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How my boyfriend and I learned to live on one income
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Affirmative action is doomed. Here's what progressives should do about it.
- Why conservatives see rural America as the 'real' America
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the poor's investment of choice is so alarming
- Why Texas Republicans may want to cool the anti-Obama land-grab talk
- Why China's Communist Party is headed for collapse
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- Why you're probably drinking your beer all wrong
Subscribe to the Week