Teen Wolf

 
(i)

 

Monsters + forbidden love = guilty pleasure for teens.

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

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.  

Families can talk 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

Cast:Crystal Reed, Tyler Hoechlin, Tyler Posey
Network:MTV
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-PG

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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 six episodes of the first season, and I find the sexual content to be way beyond what I'd be comfortable having a twelve year-old watch. The main characters' relationship, while it is caring, is supposed to be between two 16 year olds and is primarily focused on the physical. After one date, the girl's friend advises her to make sure she has condoms, and tells her to "just give him a taste." Same girl, called out for pretending to be bad at bowling "strictly for (her boyfriend's) benefit, says, "Trust me - I do plenty of sucking strictly for his benefit." Girlfriend encourages boy to take off her clothes. I could go on. Am I mistaken in thinking this is all way too much about sex for young teens and tweens?
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Parent of a 10 and 13 year old Written byMelissa D. February 17, 2014
 

Teen Wolf is good for older teens

I think giving this a 13 for appropriate is wrong. There's plenty of sexual content in this show. Because the show is on MTV the commercials are risque and I would recommend watching on Netflix or DVR so you can speed through the commercials that are equally not appropriate.
Educator and 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 critical, I met with a group of teenagers and asked them their real opinions of the show. I also though it pertinent to give my background, so parents know where I'm coming from. Attended several private schools, a boarding school from Elementary to HS, and of course a university, I was exposed to quite a variety of issues and situations. Some military background and the Director of Technology for a private school, I've seen it all. My daughter, being interested in the show, I decided I'd check it out, before she got hooked on it and a show down might ensue. After watching a few episodes, I join the concern of a fellow parent poster. Teenage girls shouldn't be telling their friends to make sure to have some condoms handy. Yes, kids might talk about that in school, but it's not something 13 year olds need to see and think about regularly watching a tv series, regardless of their maturity level. "They don't show much "Sex" I'm told. Any "Sex" is not ok for my 13 year old daughter. Drinking? The kids are not 21, so why have drinking? Realistic? Really? Just because everyone is doing it, doesn't mean it's ok to show over and over. Murder, with no sense of remorse. Blackmail? So far, I do not find it an appropriate show for 13 year olds. What amazes me is how many kids under 13 are commenting on the show. Where are the parents? I'm for one, not going to take advice from a 10 year old. With all that being said, I sat down with my class and asked the 11th graders, what they thought of the show and what age it should be rated at. I was surprised that most of the girls in the class said it should not be viewed by anyone not in HS. The guys on the other hand, said they think 15 is ok for the show, but most of them said if they had siblings at 13, they would not let them watch it. But decide for yourself, but remember to challenge yourself and remember your child will be watching this show. Does this mean I wouldn't let my 15 yr old daughter watch a movie with me with some mature scenes? No. As I would be able to discuss those scenes with her, and it's a single "movie" and not something they watch over and over alone. Their is a difference. I'm also mature enough to know when a show is NOT ok for my self as well. Yes, I'm mature enough to know that there are some things inappropriate for adults as well. I hope this helps. Again, judge for yourself.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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