Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Guilty Pleasure

Guilty Pleasure:
MTV's Teen Wolf

Tyler Hoechlin, Tyler Posey, Arden Cho, Dylan O'Brien & Holland Roden.

We actually aren't loathe to admit it: we watch MTV's "Teen Wolf," even though it's gotten to the point where it often aggravates us.

The mythology of the series has always been a combination of commonly known/accepted lore with convoluted tales introduced for dramatic and creepy effect, but then dismissed without much (if any) explanation (an example from the recently aired episodes -- the man-without-a-mouth and the animal-skull wearing demons; earlier in the season, the black smoke that turned into Ninjas and back again were never satisfactorily incorporated into the storyline).

The actors -- parents and "teens" --  are primarily all within a few years in age, which can be awkward. It took us a couple of episodes in the first season to distinguish the difference between Scott's mother and his girlfriend in the first season (and, no surprise, really, when there's actually only an 11-year age difference tween the two).

It's also of particular annoyance when a character who has been dispatched is resurrected for whatever caprice the show runners decide upon (i.e. Gerard and Kate Argent). TW is particularly good at offering up characters who viewers (us, at least) can't wait to be killed (including the aforementioned Gerard, Victoria Argent, and Ethan and Aiden). The actors who played those twins the Carvers, have since moved over to HBO and its new series, "The Leftovers." We were shocked that they were o.k. in the new series, since they were horrible in TW.

Acting is never the strong suit of TW -- notably the aforementioned Carver twins, Eaddy Mays (Victoria), Michael Hogan (Gerard) and the too-model-y Hales,  played by Tyler Hoechlin and Ian Bohen.  Included in the limited acting skills is the still-likable star, Tyler Posey. Check out, too, the scene-chewing when Joy Luck Club alum, Tamlyn Tomita is on screen; she could afford to dial it down a bit, as could JR Bourne (Mr. Argent), but that might not be an entirely fair assessment, as Argent's role was limited to grimacing and glowering; his character's recent return may give the actor a chance to grow.

There are, however, a few exceptions, and good performances are regularly delivered by Linden Ashby (Sheriff Stilinski), Melissa Ponzio (Melissa McCall), and the now-departed British actor Daniel Sharman (Issac).

One actor who is a total standout, and will likely have a very healthy post-TW career -- Dylan O'Brien, who plays sidekick Stiles. Later this summer, he'll star in the theatrical release The Mazerunner. O'Brien may be the only reason we continue to tune into the show.

The new (and new-ish) regulars are serviceable, and include Arden Cho, Shelley Hennig and Dylan Sprayberry (although, in our opinion, the jury is still out on Sprayberry). Sprayberry, who plays freshman Liam, seems easily poised to take over as the eponymous Teen Wolf, if the need arises. As the cast grows, it reduces Ashby's and Ponzio's roles to expository, which is a shame, but it's obvious who the audience is for the series, and despite their chops, they aren't in the correct age bracket.

Despite our status as regular viewer, we're not sure if we can actually recommend the series, which, at this point, in the second-half of the fourth season, is quite a commitment, if you haven't been watching. Still, if you're nursing the measles or a broken leg, TW can be fun company.