Tyler Posey as Scott McCall "Teen Wolf." (MTV )
As a Michael Fox-loving member of the demographic it targeted, I most certainly saw the 1985 film "Teen Wolf," but I don't remember much save it was a comedy and not very good.
"Teen Wolf," which premieres Sunday night on MTV, is also one of those two things and it is not a comedy.
Though there is some satisfaction in being reminded that supernatural curses were being used as metaphors for adolescence long before "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer was born (the original "Teen Wolf" was a homage/rip-off of the classic 1957 "I Was a Teenage Werewolf"), that may be all the satisfaction a viewer can derive from "Teen Wolf." Pick-pocketing from not just every werewolf-related drama you can think of (including but not restricted to "An American Werewolf in London," the "Twilight" series and the BBC's "Being Human"), creator Jeff Davis also helps himself to the most obvious conceits of the high school drama: Look, there's the big mean jock and his vicious Miss Popular girlfriend making fun of the nerds. Add a few musical numbers and you'd have "Glee" meets "The Vampire Diaries," although that actually sounds like a much better show.
"Teen Wolf" opens with Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) lashing the net to his lacrosse stick, which turns out to be the most original scene in the pilot. (As a Maryland native, I applaud any attempt to bring lacrosse to national attention.) Things quickly, which is to say instantly, devolve. Scott's best friend, Stiles (Dylan O'Brien), lures him into a nearby bare and ominous wood where police are searching for the other half of a young woman's body and also whatever killed her. Now, boys will be boys, but honestly. While Stiles cracks jokes about murder and contaminates a police scene, Scott drags on his inhaler and dreams of being a lacrosse star, which anyone can see is Simply Impossible.
Well, you know what happens next. A little rising mist, a few haunted house howls and one nasty bite later, Scott awakens to discover he doesn't need that dang inhaler anymore because he is the best lacrosse player on the team, possibly in the world. Also, he can hear and smell stuff a mile away, which allows him to court the lovely new girl in town (Crystal Reed). Possible drawback: He's a werewolf. Only not really. He's more werewolf-adjacent — pointy ears, fangs, yellow eyes but a human face, and when he wakes up from his moonlit adventures, he still has his boxers on.
Scott quickly finds both a mentor in Derek (Tyler Hoechlin), who promises to help him "control" his urges, and a crossbow-wielding nemesis who has been "hunting our kind for centuries." Werewolf-hunting being, at least in the current climate of inter-curse tolerance, a bad thing.
MTV's attempt to populate the barren landscape between Disney and the CW is admirable, and perhaps the domestication of monsters has not quite run its course. But "Teen Wolf" would be a much better show if it took its own advice — stop trying to imitate other people and just be yourself.