Teen Wolf

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Teen Wolf TV Poster Image
Monsters + forbidden love = guilty pleasure for teens.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 37 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 150 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Viewers see how a teen copes with a life-altering change that's a danger to those around him. He relies on the support and advice of a good friend, who serves as a confidante and keeps his secret. The story also touches on social themes like fitting in with peers, self-confidence, and healthy relationships, and it has some feel-good messages about people's ability to overcome underdog status. High school castes (the "in" crowd, the jocks, the nerds, etc.) are fairly rigid, and Scott's social transformation to popularity supports this system.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Scott strives to use his new abilities in positive ways that don't endanger those around him. He's protective of his friends and is concerned for their safety. His relationship with Allison models respectful, responsible teen dating. Some adults come across as the teens' enemies, including a tough-talking coach and the hunters who track the werewolves.

Violence

Bloody corpses and intense battles (although they're brief and mostly obscured) between werewolves and humans. Hunters aim to kill werewolves with crossbows and guns, sometimes hitting their mark and leaving wounds. The characters' transformations are intense, showing them with teeth bared and eyes yellow in menacing glares. 

Sex

Teen relationships involve flirting, kissing, hand-holding, and occasionally some making out (kissing, wandering hands, etc.). Guys are often shown shirtless, and girls' naked backsides can be seen from the waist up. There are allusions to sexual activity (like when a mom asks her son if they need to have the "safe sex" talk), but physical interactions are limited.

Language

"Hell" and "ass" from both teens and adults.

Consumerism

Brand names like Chevy Tahoe are visible within the context of the show.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 and 15 year old Written bymaireadsmama June 7, 2013

I disagree - this is not okay for younger teens

I'm not sure how many episodes the adults have watched who've reviewed this show and rated it ok for 12 year-olds. I've now watched the first si... Continue reading
Parent of a 13 and 15 year old Written byrobdrescher August 18, 2014

Going against the norm

After watching some episodes, and I'll watch a couple more, I'm a little concerned on some of the messages. To make sure I wasn't being overly c... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byhiphoph April 21, 2014

BEWARE: Not For Kids

I started watching Teen Wolf after a friend suggested it to me. Here's what you need to know: Season 1 is relatively safe. There's a LOT of violenc... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old July 17, 2011

Perfection!

I'M 10 AND I ADORE THIS SHOW! FINALLY NO WAMPIRES! It's not eerie but keeps you at the edge of your seat. Some kissing scenes, but not to intense. The... Continue reading

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?

TV details

For kids who love monsters

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