About the Show

Don’t expect a van-surfing, basketball-playing lycanthrope. Loosely based on Michael J. Fox’s 1985 campy feature film, MTV’s horror-comedy from Criminal Minds’ creator Jeff Davis updates its jokey inspiration with sex appeal, genuine scares, and hip humor. Tyler Posey stars as Beacon Hills High School’s Scott McCall, a mediocre lacrosse player with less than stellar social standing who ascends to the top of the pack after being bitten by a werewolf. Suddenly, the growing pains of adolescence are nothing compared to his lycanthropic transformations (which don’t require an assist from the full moon). With best bud Stiles, girlfriend Allison, and brainy beauty Lydia in his corner, Scott is able to embrace his furry side and focus his newfound abilities on the more supernatural goings-on in his previously quiet hometown.

Season 1

Skulking through the woods one night in search of a corpse that’s been reported in the area, Scott McCall endures a bloody attack by a giant beast that leaves him with rapidly healing injuries. Later, when he begins to experience unsettling side effects from the attack (superspeed, enhanced hearing, and claws), Scott’s nerdy pal Stiles comes up with an explanation that would leave them howling with laughter if Scott’s eyes weren’t glowing and hair wasn’t sprouting around his suddenly pointy ears: He’s a werewolf. Worse yet, he’s a werewolf in love with the new girl in town, Allison Argent, whose father (J.R. Bourne) just happens to be a covert-ops werewolf hunter. Before he can say “Oh, howl no,” Scott finds himself in the middle of a battle between arrow-shooting mercenaries led by Argent, and Derek Hale, a werewolf desperate to find the Alpha wolf he suspects of murdering their kind . . . including his sister, Laura. Love bites, and so does what Derek and Scott uncover about the killer’s identity.

Season 2

After vanquishing the murderous Alpha, Derek assumes the role just as Allison’s cold-blooded grandfather (Michael Hogan) comes to town to avenge a family death and train her in the ways of hunting werewolves. Lydia’s ex Jackson is plagued by blackouts that seem to be linked to a sudden rash of deaths involving a scaly creature called a Kanima. Topping the list of the monster’s possible masters? Loner photographer Matt (Stephen Lunsford), abused orphan Isaac, school counselor Marin Morrell (Bianca Lawson), and new Beta wolves Erica (Gage Golightly) and Boyd (Sinqua Walls).

Season 3

A deadly Alpha pack comes to town, led by Deucalion (Gideon Emery), a blind demon wolf that wants Derek to kill his own Betas and join the pack. In keeping with the show’s practice of having two villains per season, the second baddie is a disfigured druid-inspired killer known as the Darach, who is targeting recent Beacon Hills graduates for ritual sacrifices. Lydia’s banshee abilities continue to manifest as she accepts Peter’s tutelage, a Hale family secret comes to light, Allison enters a new romance, and twin wolves Aiden and Ethan (Max and Charlie Carver) provide romance for Lydia and Danny (Keahu Kahuanui). The second half of the season brings in Kira and the Japanese mythology of Kitsune (trickster spirits).

Season 4

The return of a supposedly dead Season 1 villain, a million-dollar heist, and a startling development in the evolution of Derek Hale drive the action, which begins in Mexico and ends with Derek’s devious uncle Peter Hale locked away. In between, a clan of Spanish hunters named the Calaveras mixes things up; Berserkers wearing human bones as armor invade Beacon Hills; Scott trains his first Beta wolf, Liam; and a list of names left behind by Lydia’s grandmother exposes the darkest side of Beacon Hills’ notorious asylum, Eichen House. Oh, and Stiles finally gets the girl.

Best Episodes

Season 1, Episode 7: "Night School"
It's all action in this hour that finds Scott, Stiles, Jackson, Lydia, and Allison in a darkened Beacon Hills High after sundown, trapped by the still-unidentified Alpha werewolf. Employing classic horror-movie elements (jump shocks, the group splitting up, and a lot of blood) the episode offers the early signs of Stiles's uneasy bond with Derek and breathless chase sequences through the darkened school. There's also a nice piece of misdirection near the end, which casts an unexpected character in a suspicious light.

Season 1, Episode 12: "Code Breaker"
A whole lot of crazy goes down in the Season 1 finale. On the heels of an attack at the school's semiformal, an injured Lydia's strange, possibly supernatural abilities begin to emerge. At the same time, Allison realizes the lengths her Aunt Kate (Jill Wagner) will go to in order to rid Beacon Hills of its wolf problem. Plus, the identity of the Hale arsonist finally comes to light, and Scott and Derek team up to corner the Alpha. The hour culminates in an all-out assault on the Alpha that unites friends and foes, at least for the time being.

Season 2, Episode 8: "Raving"
The hunt for Season 2's central threat, the Kanima, a lizard-like beast, takes our kids to an underground rave. Before the bloodbath that is clearly being set up (you don't hire this many hot extras without killing a bunch of them on this show), new wolves in town Isaac and Erica (Gage Golightly) put the moves on exceedingly dangerous Jackson, Allison and Scott clash over the strange school-newspaper photographer (Stephen Lunsford), and Mama Argent (Eaddy Mays) stumbles upon proof that her daughter is still secretly dating young Mr. McCall. Fortunately, she's unable to do anything harmful with that info, since Derek puts a shocking end to her eventual face-off with Scott. The capture of the Kanima adds an additional twist when it explains its murderous motives.

Season 3, Episode 6: "Motel California"
Season 3's war with Deucalion reaches mind-bending heights when the school's cross-country team spends the night in a creepy motel en route to a meet. Initially, only Lydia senses the remote dump's ominous vibe, until each of the gang begins to experience hallucinatory moments that mess with their minds and, for some, lead them to thoughts of suicide. Back in Beacon Hills, hot teacher Jennifer Blake (Haley Webb) tends to the injuries Derek sustained in the previous episode's showdown with Deucalion's minions. By the time the sun comes up, our kids have battled their inner demons and figured out how their delusional spells were triggered, but nobody has a clue about Deucalion's next plot to force Derek to sacrifice his own Beta wolves.

Season 3, Episode 19: "The Divine Move"
The second half of Season 3 introduced a Japanese myth involving shapeshifters and a dark spirit known as the Nogitsune via new student Kira, and it all comes to a bloody head in this season finale. No small feat, given the previous episode's tragic development regarding a series regular. Having possessed Stiles, the chaos-feeding entity unleashes an army of masked sword-wielding soldiers, and the resulting slaughters at the Beacon Hills hospital, police station, and vet clinic threaten to add another name to the season's growing dead pool. Yes, it's filled with impressive martial-arts-influenced fights, big moments (wait: She's still alive?!), and the show's now-expected unrelenting pace, but the episode's greatest strength is Dylan O'Brien's performances as both Evil Stiles, the dead-inside one controlled by the Nogitsune, and broken, terrified Stiles, who fears that he may be losing his mind.

Bits and Pieces

  • “Motel California” is set in Fairvale, California, the same fictitious home of Psycho’s Bates Motel.
  • Tyler Posey played Jennifer Lopez’s son in the 2002 romcom Maid in Manhattan.
  • Teen Wolf shot its first two seasons in Atlanta, then moved production to Los Angeles in 2012 after being granted over $11 million in California tax credits.
  • Holland Roden played John Locke’s mother in flashbacks on Lost.
  • Series creator Jeff Davis, who is gay, has a straight twin; their relationship served as inspiration for Season 3’s twins Aiden and Ethan.