A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this drama series (loosely based on the same-named '80s movie) centers on a teen's transformation into a werewolf, so violence is its main concern. Much of what exists is either implied or obscured by blurry camera effects, but there are some scenes that show victims bloodied or dead, and human hunters use crossbows and guns to stalk the werewolves. Teen relationships yield mostly mild physical contact (kissing, some brief making out) and waist-up nudity (frontal on guys, rear on girls). Also expect some cursing ("hell" and "ass") from both teens and adults. On a positive note, the show centers on a well-adjusted teen who relies on friends to help him cope with difficult circumstances and who engages in a romantic relationship that's based on respect and mutual admiration.
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What's the story?
TEEN WOLF centers on Scott McCall (Tyler Posey), an unremarkable high school student whose life is changed forever when he sustains a bite from a mysterious attacker during a nighttime walk in the woods. With the help of his best friend, Stiles (Dylan O’Brien), and fellow lycanthrope, Derek (Tyler Hoechlin), Scott tries to come to terms with the fact that he is, in fact, becoming a werewolf. The transformation isn’t all bad, though, as his sharpened senses give him a new edge on the lacrosse field, which translates to overnight fame among his classmates and the attention of the beautiful new girl, Allison (Crystal Reed). But new enemies quickly assemble, including the school's former golden boy, Jackson (Colton Haynes), and a pack of hunters bent on eliminating the werewolves altogether.
Is it any good?
At times dark and suspenseful, Teen Wolf isn't a show for young kids or tweens sensitive to the concept of monsters striking close to home. Most of the violence is implied, but there are some scenes of bloody corpses (said to be victims of unprovoked werewolf attacks) and exchanges between humans and the beasts are obscured but still intense. There's a smattering of language ("hell" and "ass," for instance) from teens and adults alike, and the requisite teen romances occasionally turn physical (a couple necks at a party, and a teen sneaks a peek at a girl's bare back when she changes shirts), but none of it is off the radar for the show's teen viewers.
The show is clearly trying to cash in on tweens' and teens' Twilight-inspired appetite for mythological monsters and forbidden love, but it offers some substantial content alongside the teen angst. Scott's transformation is more than just a physical one. In his case, the change also boosts his popularity and affords him the spoils of being the school's star athlete, which raises questions about the nature of social identity and self-esteem among teens. At its most basic, this story is one of underdog redemption, lending itself to discussions about heroes and the impact their personal flaws have on their right to that title.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about social status. What factors affect a person's social status among his peers? Who determines these factors? How important are other people's impressions of you?
Tweens: What kinds of things affect your self-esteem? What unique qualities set you apart from other people? How does having a strong self-image affect your ability to cope with adversity?
Would you consider the werewolves in this show to be monsters? How does knowing their human side influence your sympathy for them? Do you like to root for heroes who are flawed? Do their flaws make them more relatable?