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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Review of Teen Wolf 1.05- The Tell

An interesting episode that seemed to have 3 stories that were separate for most of the episode leading me to call this my least favorite episode of the series so far.

Ok, so we had three stories that were basically totally separate stories in one episode causing the episode to feel disjointed and bumpy.  The three storylines were: Scott and Allison skipping school to celebrate her birthday, Jackson and Lydia at a video store where the Alpha attacked and killed a man and the fallout from that, and Allison's psycho aunt Kate attacking Derek.  Oh yes, and then there were parent-teacher conferences where the first two storylines mixed at the end.  Yeah, seeing the problem here?

First, Kate and Derek.  According to Kate; and from the look on Derek's face he believed her; the Alpha definitely killed his sister.  Kate and a couple of other hunters attacked Derek hoping to get the name of the Alpha out of him.  After taking out the 2 other hunters, Derek is taken down by a stun stick (anyone know the actual name of that thing) that Kate was wielding.  After discovering that Derek had no clue who the Alpha was, she decided to kill him.  Yeah, wonderful lady and totally who I want as my next door neighbor.  Someone needs to take her in hand and soon or else the consequences could be tragic.

I actually felt sorry for Jackson tonight.  Man, his life is seriously sucking.  He is forced (well, more or less anyways) to find and borrow "The Notebook" when he wants a sports film.  In the store, he finds no help until he sees a dead body and a pair of glowing eyes.  After hiding from the thing (ie. the Alpha), Jackson gets a bunch of shelves knocked onto him.  Dude, that seriously sucks.  This on top of the attack from Derek last week is making his life miserable.  Oh, and speaking of Derek (and prior to the events above) Jackson (clad only in a towel, and WOW!) is visited by Derek who tries to determine what Jackson saw while simultaneously scaring him into saying nothing.  Yeah, that just sucked.  And what is with the glowing clawmarks on Jackson's neck?  I know where they came from (Derek), but why are they glowing?  And Lydia is totally freaking out about what she saw.  I do have to say that the scene with her and Stiles in her room was hilarious.  Poor Stiles gets asked to stay in the bedroom of a girl he has been crushing all over, only to have her pass out.  <snerk>  Jackson adopted?  Ok, that was totally out of left field.  Oh, and Lydia's parents are divorced with prejudice.  Yikes!

I so love Stiles.  This show has people who give the greatest facial expressions, I have to say.  He is stuck at school trying to deal with the aftermath of the video store attack all on his own while Scott skips school with Allison.  He sees the video Lydia recorded of the Alpha and then erases it.  This is a good sidekick and Scott needs to stop taking him for granted.

Scott and Allison's story, while totally cute, nearly put me into sugar shock.  It was nice to see the two of them relaxing, but the timing was horrible on Scott's part.  He knew there was an attack the night before and he knew there were problems at school.  But in his haste to have a nice day with his girlfriend, he abandons everyone who needs him.  So not a good idea.  Glad things worked out though.

'Til next week....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Review of Teen Wolf 1.04- Magic Bullet

A new character, new information, a totally awkward dinner, and some Stiles/Derek hilarity was brought to us last night courtesy of Teen Wolf...

As always, let's start with Scott.  First, he gets lots of questions from Stiles in the middle of class.  Guys, just as an FYI, if you want to keep something a secret, talking about it in the middle of class or in the hallway of school, not a good idea.  Second, there is the main story about Derek getting shot.  That was actually really interesting and for the first time, Scott was in some sort of serious danger.  Turns out that the hunter who shot Derek (who was hunting the Alpha that had just attacked the hunter) was Kate, Allison's aunt.  Unfortunately for Derek, he can't just heal from this bullet because it was created with a rare form of wolfsbane.  Ok, that officially sucks.  So, after Derek shows up at school, threatens and hurts Jackson (both cheering and a big "uh oh!") and then collapses in front of Stiles' car, Scott is forced to snoop around Allison's house to find the bullet (or one like it) so Derek can heal himself.  Unfortunately for Scott, there is no really good way to segue into that sort of question without a massive stroke of luck brought to him courtesy of Allison taking him to the garage where he saw guns.  Which was promptly followed by hiding behind the SUV when Allison's dad showed up.  This move availed them not at all because Allison's dad knew they were there and he called them out.  Quite amusing, IMNSHO.

Scott was incredibly lucky because Kate thought he had cute eyes and invited him in for dinner after Allison's dad wanted him gone.  Which led to the most uncomfortable dinner ever.  From Allison's dad questioning Scott about pot use and alcohol to Allison wanting to lose it to just everything else, I was almost laughing.  Fortunately Scott got away and was told to go to the guest bedroom to use a bathroom.  Luckily, the guest bedroom just happened to be Kate's room and Scott found the bullet.  Just one problem.  He forgot to zip the bag shut!  Dude, if you are going to pilfer, *CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF!*  Again, he was lucky that Allison was a quick thinker and said that she went through the bag and produced a condom much to Kate's chagrin and her dad's annoyance (and did I detect a wee bit of panic?).  That was followed shortly afterward by a huge ear-to-ear grin on Scott's face once he got outside.  Fortunately he was able to get to Derek in time to save Stiles from having to cut off Derek's arm (more on that in a bit).  This was followed by the revelation that the Argents (Allison's family) were the ones who burned down Derek's family's house which included several normal members of his family in violation of what the hunters say they do.

I have to say that it was hilarious watching Derek and Stiles together.  Dylan is so damn funny and provides great sidekick comic relief.  Derek's constant threats were amusing as was Stiles' reactions to them.  And the look on Stiles' face when Derek said that Stiles would have to cut Derek's arm off was just classic.  And the relief when Scott showed up was palpable.

Jackson and Lydia didn't do much this episode which I actually didn't mind.  They were good with what little they had, but having them in would have been such a distraction and totally filler, so kudos.

Allison definitely does not know about the family business.  However, she does know she is being lied to.  Dad told her that Aunt Kate had a flat tire, Aunt Kate says that she needed a jumpstart, and at the end of the show she sees the broken window from the Alpha attack.  Doesn't take a rocket scientist to put those together to com up with something fishy.

Kate worries me.  She seems to be a wee bit psychotic, and unless I am guessing wrong, she is the one (or one of the ones anyways) who burned down the Hale house.  Allison's dad seems to be a bit more straitlaced about the whole thing and I don't see him being involved unless tricked somehow.  And I was wrong last week, the Argents and hunters do know what Derek is.  I do think they were testing him to see if he lost control (see the rabid dog speech from the uncomfortable dinner) of himself, but that was it.

Is anyone besides me worried about the fact that the Alpha can (at least to a certain extent) control Scott?  That is so not good.....

Next week, Jackson and Lydia seem to lose it and other things unravel.....

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Review of Teen Wolf 1.03- Pack Mentality

Last night on Teen Wolf, a death, a double date, fear, and a big reveal....

Well, Scott had alot to handle last night.  Let me first say that I figured the opening scene was a dream pretty quickly.  It was alot of little things that made it obvious, but it became huge honking red lights obvious when Scott shifted right in front of Allison.  If/when that happens, it will be a huge reveal taking place at a midseason finale (if this show has them) or a season finale.  And I must say that having a conversation about lycanethropy and killing in the hallway of a high school, not necessarily the brightest idea.  Followed by a serious freakout (and totally cool frantic camera work to convey the mood) from Scott when he saw the bloody, ripped apart bus and started to search for Allison.  How many other people giggled when it turned out that the locker Scott punched was Jackson?  That scene was made totally priceless by the look on Scott's face.  <snerk>

And the whole double date with Jackson and Lydia was just totally a bad idea.  And the total burst of guyishness with the lie about being a good bowler was enough to make me want to smack Scott across the head.  Although the initial bad bowling was definitely amusing and I have to admit to laughing right along with Jackson there.  Followed by loud guffaws when Allison told Scott to imagine her....naked.  The look on his face was beyond priceless.  Let me just say that Tyler Posey has an amazing face for acting.  He can come up with the greatest expressions.  This, umm, interesting idea was followed by 6 strikes in a row thanks to enhanced senses courtesy of his lycanethropy.  And we get another great facial expression from Jackson.  And Lydia starts to flirt with Scott right in front of Jackson and Allison and asks for help with her bowling.  He refuses (wise move) and Jackson offers to help which leads to Lydia shooting him down and then getting a strike after bowling badly previously.  And then we get the great quote of the night.  Allison tells Lydia that she doesn't need to suck for Jackson and Lydia says, "Oh, well, I do plenty of sucking for him."  (or words to that effect)  Oh, the possibilities implicit in that particular statement!  Jackson suspects Scott of cheating (how exactly?) and threatens to figure out what is going on and then to tell Allison.  Well, that weakness found out and exploited.

In our main death storyline, Scott was totally freaking out that he might have killed the bus driver.  So, he went to Derek who told him to go to the bus and use his senses to help him remember what happened.  Scott went and discovered that the driver had been attacked by someone else and that he had been injured trying to protect the driver.  Naturally, he assumed that Derek had attacked the bus driver and proceeded to go after him.  They fought for a bit before Derek revealed that he hadn't bitten Scott, killed the bus driver, or killed his sister.  Rather, it had been an Alpha.  So not a good thing.

Other thoughts:

- I want more Stiles.  He is really funny, and yes, you are totally adorkable and quite likely attractive to gay men (well, I know me anyways :-) )  I want more development about him soon please.  The scene where he is almost attacked by Scott's mom was hilarious.
- Derek versus the hunters was interesting.  I do wonder if they know he is a werewolf or if they were just testing him.  I suspect the latter, but am not entirely sure.
- Derek as a teacher should be interesting.  As I said last week, he is definitely a grey hat.  He seems to choose the path of moral expedience rather than the good path necessarily.  Given the circumstances, can't exactly blame him.
- I wonder if we have met the Alpha yet or if we will eventually.

Until next week!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Review of Teen Wolf 1.02- Second Chance at First Line

On what amounts to the second half of the premiere, we learn about control, second chances, wolfsbane, and the identity of the dead body from the first half....

Ok, let us start with Scott.  When we last left him, he found out that the father of the girl he likes is the hunter who shot him with a crossbow.  Naturally, he starts to freak out just a little bit.  Can ya blame him?  No, didn't think so.  Just be glad you have Stiles around.  Oh, and on the lacrosse field, transforming is so *NOT* a good idea.  Although I did love the separating Jackson's shoulder bit.  That was definitely amusing.  And back in the locker room, the transformation is complete and Stiles is in so much trouble.  Fortunately, cooling Scott down with a fire extinguisher (!) worked.  Some other creepy Scott things: climbing roofs to look at Allison changing, growling at the opposing team during a lacrosse game, and stalking Allison in the locker room (boys).  Dude, here's hoping you learn some control and soon.

I am really liking Stiles.  He is so out of his depth but gamely hanging in to make sure that his best friend is ok.  From doing research to confronting a werewolf (Derek) being arrested to keeping Scott calm, he does what he can to help out.  Just stop hitting on Lydia.  She's a total bitch and you can do much better, even if she is incredibly hot.

Derek is something of a cipher.  As I believe I said yesterday, I can see him being a huge help and mentor to Scott or being Scott's worst enemy.  He is definitely not a white hat, at best he is a grey hat given what we know or has been hinted at so far.  Killing your sister, not a good thing.  I suspect that she was doing something wrong and so he killed her.  That is, if he killed her.  Everyone is pretty much assuming that he did, but there is no hard evidence yet.  So, I will withhold conclusions for now.

Allison is going to be a serious unknown.  Does she know about what Daddy does?  Does she participate in any hunts?  This whole thing could put a serious crimp in her and Scott's relationship.  And Dad seems to suspect that something is up given the looks on his face during the game.  I wonder if he is starting to put 2 and 2 together to get four.

Jackson and Lydia continue to be the most overt antagonists.  Jackson because his status is threatened and Lydia for pretty much the same reason.  OF course, Jackson now also has something else given that he was injured by Scott.  This is so not going to be good.

Until next week....

Monday, June 6, 2011

On Archetypes and Stereotypes

archetype- the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.

stereotype- a set form; convention.

(Definitions courtesy of dictionary.com)

In my review of Teen Wolf earlier today, I referred to the characters from the show as stereotypical.  Lest anyone think that I am speaking disparingly of the show, let me assure you that I am not.  In the beginning of any television series, I expect and applaud the use of stereotypes, archetypes, or formulas.  Some people may wonder why.  My reasoning is simple.  By using formulas and easily recognizable character types, the writers/creators of a show can get by with a minimum of character related exposition (at first) in favor of setting up the world and the plot.

What I mean by this is relatively simple.  In Teen Wolf, there are some very stereotypical characters: the head cheerleader, the obnoxious bully jock, the best friend, the hero, the mysterious helper, and the love interest.  Whenever we see a character that fits into one of these molds, we are automatically primed to react in a certain way.  We don't need long explanations of their motives for doing what they do because we already know them.  These cues give the writers more of a chance to set up the world first and then come back and give us information about the characters as we go along.  Sure, they are still going to give us a certain amount of character exposition as needed to give the characters basic background, but they don't need to dwell on it as they would need to otherwise.  And given that most TV shows are limited to 40-43 minutes per show, even saving a little bit of time in this manner can be extremely helpful.

I do want to emphasize a point I made quickly before.  The stereotypical character can hold up for a brief period of time, but if the character is going to become more than a hollow shell, the writers do need to fill in the blanks within 2-3 episodes for major characters and 5-6 episodes for supporting ones.  The exception is the hero, who pretty much needs to be filled in right away so that the audience is invested in the character emotionally.

Ok, just wanted to say that and now I am back to work.  Enjoy your day!

My Review of Teen Wolf 1.01- Wolf Moon

Not sure if anyone else watched the premiere last night, but it was pretty good.  Not terribly original, but still good.  And here is my review of the first half of the pilot.  The second half is on tonight, I will try and watch it so I can send in a review tomorrow.



Ok, so the show is based off of the movie with Michael J. Fox that came out during the 80s.  Never saw it or the animated series, so I am seeing it all fresh.  I am also unsure of how much is coming from the movie, so I won't reference it that much.  Here is the basic plot so far:

Tyler Posey (Smallville's "Subterranean") plays Scott McCall, an asthmatic lacrosse bench-warmer who is exploring with woods looking for half of a dead body with his best friend Stiles (played by Dylan O'Brien).  Stiles' dad; who is also the sheriff; catches Stiles but misses Scott.  Scott hears something, runs, and stumbles across the other half of the body.  Shortly thereafter, he is attacked and bitten by a wolf.  The next day, he and Stiles are talking and Stiles jokes that Scott was attacked by a werewolf.  Scott then starts noticing that he can hear things from really far away and that his other senses are also enhanced.  He meets a new student, Allison Argent (played by Crystal Reed) and is instantly smitten (of course!).  At lacrosse practice, he is put in the goal as a ego booster for the rest of the team, but he manages to catch every single shot sent his way, including one by team captain (and general all around @$$hole) Jackson Whittemore [played by Colton Haynes (The Gates)].  Scott also catches the attention of Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin from 7th Heaven), who has returned from somewhere and is frankly more than a little creepy.  Scott takes Allison to a party on the night of a full moon (despite being warned not to by Stiles who has pretty much figured things out) and starts to morph.  He runs away and learns from Stiles that Derek (who Scott has figured out attacked him) took Allison from the party.  Tracking Allison to the woods, Scott runs into Derek and a group of hunters [led by JR Bourne (Fringe, Smallville, and Stargate SG-1)].  After a brief chat with Derek, Scott goes home.  The next day, Scott finds Allison and apologizes.  She forgives him and is picked up by her father who is none other than the lead hunter from the night before.  And so the plot thickens....

Ok, so not so brief.  And now for the character stuff.

Scott seems like a nice guy.  Good looking but low on the social ladder with a good friend.  And now his stock seems to be climbing since he is  on the first line of the lacrosse team.  This unfortunately also seems to put him square in the sights of the obligatory @$$hole jock.  Ah well, of such things high school dramas are made.  Not a bad thing, but definitely predictable.  The other predictable part is his falling for the new girl whose father happens to be a werewolf hunter.  That should be interesting to watch.  Not sure if dear old dad has anything figured out yet.  And I do wonder if little Allison participates in the family business.  Oh dear....

Stiles is pretty much your typical best friend and sidekick.  A bit of a smart ass, but willing to do what he can to help a friend.  At least Scott has someone he knows he can count on.  Can we say hello to the person who will probably act as the exposition speaker?  :-)

Jackson and his girlfriend Lydia (played by Holland Roden) are very much your stereotypical obnoxious jock and head cheerleader.  Not much to be said about them at this point.

Derek has the potential to be interesting.  Is he going to be the wise mentor or turn into a villain?  I can see either one happening depending on how he and Scott mesh.

Will try to write a better review tomorrow, but a little pressed for time since I have to get back to work now.

Enjoy!