Supernatural teen drama genre takes another blow to the chest with Paramount+’s Wolf Pack


Rachel Choi

Illustration by Rachel Choi

By Shannon Garrido, Editor-in-chief

The human embodiment of a downward spiral, Jeff Davis—who was also once a decently respected director and creator—has fallen victim to a culture of redux remakes and terrible cliches. His newest project, “Wolf Pack,” premiered on Paramount+ in January of this year. Based on the 2004 book by Edo van Belkom, Davis’ wolf-obsession has made it clear that he hoped this show would gain the same loving fanbase as his 2011 MTV classic, Teen Wolf. However, actually watching “Wolf Pack” proved to be masochistic on my part—this show is riddled with terrible acting, uninteresting plot developments, and the demise of a pop culture icon.

The show follows the lives of four teenagers in California, where a massive wildfire burns down half their town while forcing a bunch of ‘unknown’ animals from the forest to the town. During this first scene, we are introduced to Everett Lang, a shy, quirky guy whose entire personality is his crippling anxiety. We are then introduced to Blake Navarro who “is not like other girls”—in that she is rude, has acne, and refuses to own a phone. Their interactions make no sense and the dialogue is too cringy for its own good. 

Everett and Blake see the wildfire while on the school bus and try to escape before it catches up to them. In all this hectic confusion, with animals running rampant, it is inferred that they are bitten by something big with black fur. Of course, the production of this entire sequence is unbearable, as we don’t see or hear anything that looks like a “werewolf,” and the acting isn’t good enough to convince me that they have been hurt. 

It’s also inconsequential as when they try to show their bite marks to other people, they realize that the only people who can see the marks are other werewolves. This is a stupid and unnecessary plot device that ultimately served no purpose because, unlike most supernatural shows, they don’t go out of their way to hide this new identity. If they did, that would mean that, in some way, their new powers would make them threatening and alienate them further—making their stories actually interesting. We are also introduced to Luna and Harlan Briggs, twins and naturally born werewolves who were rescued by resident dilf and park ranger Garrett Briggs  who found them in the woods as cubs.

The twins suspect that the animal who is now biting random teenagers is their birth father, who was forced out of the woods by the wildfire—the same wolf who is also killing random people every night. It’s important to understand that basically none of these characters really truly matter in terms of the plot, and we learn virtually nothing about those who do: the twins. These four new werewolves are now supposedly bonded by their newfound wolfhood, yet at no point do they discuss as a group who they are to each other or how their life could change.  

The icing on the cake, however, lies on its guest stars—the only reason I decided to embark on this hellish journey is Sarah Michelle Geller. That’s right, one of the most iconic actresses of the late ’90s and early 2000s, with hit shows and movies such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Scooby-Doo,” and “Scream 2,” is now in a Paramount+ show. How the mighty have fallen. 

Geller plays Agent Kristin Ramsey, an arson expert investigating the cause of the forest fire. Throughout the show, she continues to suspect the four main characters and those close to them as the arsonists, yet she never makes any real progress in the investigation. Her real purpose of course, is to serve as the only character who can deliver a line—hence becoming the ever-so-obvious-twist villain at the end. 

Her scenes are the only ones worth watching, yet her character development is the most confusing of them all. We learn she is Harlan and Luna’s mother, and is using their estranged younger brother to kill random people and transform Everett and Blake into werewolves. Why? So that they could be a family again. Are you confused? Because I am. 

There was seemingly no indication as to why she needed random people to die, or why they thought the killer was their father, or why she needed to turn other teenagers into werewolves. The whole thing is just bizarre, and I’m not the only one who thinks so.   

Rotten Tomatoes rated the show 4.9/10, reporting that “genre queen Sarah Michelle Gellar does her best to lead this ‘Wolf Pack,’ but it isn’t enough to salvage a spinoff that doesn’t quite sink its teeth deep enough into the source material.” 

Similarly, Variety declared “Wolf Pack”‘s “biggest selling point was Sarah Michelle Gellar’s return to a supernatural teen drama—but even her performance is weak and lacks impact.”

The new squad realizes they’re a pack because they all come from the same “wolf line.” Yet it takes them four full episodes in an eight episode series to actually get together as a group and try and figure out their new “powers”—and what to do about this murderous monster. And, unlike most werewolf lore, they don’t grow hair out of their face, become enraged during a full moon, or gain supernatural abilities. No, instead, they all share their powers—which is so incredibly boring. 

Everett has super strength, Blake has speed, Harland has hearing, and Luna has smell. This aspect alone made the show unbearable, because these characters were not impressive on their own and we only see them as a “pack” a handful of times. It should also be noted that in “Scream” fashion, they continue to get phone calls by a random person warning them of potential danger, and we never find out who’s calling. Awesome. 

I truly can’t put into words how atrocious this show is. From random sex scenes in a gym to more montages than actual dialogue, “Wolf Pack” represents the reality of streaming shows today: a sad attempt at gaining subscribers through nostalgia. Those who remember the campy, fun, and decently produced MTV classic “Teen Wolf” have a relative trust that Davis can make a teen show that is digestible. 

What they didn’t count on is the fact that Davis is a 47-year-old white man who hasn’t been a teenager for a while. He can no longer rely on decent writers and actors, and fails at adapting to modern (and better) storytelling. 

“Teen Wolf,” though also guilty of terrible CGI, held a particular charm, as so many of the stunts and makeup are performed in real time. It was, if not more convincing, at least more entertaining than “Wolf Pack”’s terrible green screen running sequences for five full minutes, and CGI monsters. 

In “Teen Wolf,” the actors wear contacts, fake teeth, and fake facial hair, all while utilizing a dialogue that didn’t take itself too seriously. Even in its cringiest moments, it was at best self-aware. 

“Teen Wolf” shows how characters interact with their parents, their love-interests, and even academics. Above everything, their lives were on display for the viewer, and not just mentioned in passing, making them more convincing as teens. In this new show, the characters are clearly on steroids, they seemingly never go to class and their personal backstories—which we are constantly bombarded with in dialogue—are only shown during the last episode for a few minutes. 

Each of them are awarded their own ‘tragedy’ to make us believe this is how teenagers feel and act in the 21st century. Everett has anxiety and parents who hate him, and Blake has unreliable parents, an autistic brother … and acne. Harlan’s only personality trait is that he is rude and gay, and Davis does a wonderful job in only placing him in scenes where he is obscenely sexual and makes unnecessary snarky comments. And Luna is a loner who accidentally killed her childhood horse—yes, you read that correctly. It is expected from the viewer that this information makes up who they are, yet it all comes across performative and the actors can’t deliver a line to save their life. 

So while “Wolf Pack” is part of a long line of remake failures, it takes the cake as the most boring and terribly produced I have seen so far. You can’t remake 2010 nostalgia by relying on the clichés of the time, like unrealistic teen actors and snarky dialogue for only the gay or female characters. A cohesive plot that is both interesting and outrageous is what makes a good campy supernatural teen show, but “Wolf Pack” goes out of its way to make me wonder if that era of television has passed all together.