Two teens are bitten by an unknown creature during a chaotic forest fire. Afterwards they begin displaying supernatural abilities and discover they are in grave danger.
Spoiler Level: Mild
The worst wildfire in Southern California in two decades creates the setting for this television series adaptation of Edo van Belkom’s novel, Wolf Pack. While trapped in a school bus on a highway as a forest fire rapidly approaches, a stampede of various animals charge from the woods, killing several and causing chaos. In the disruption, two students are bitten by something, and soon afterwards begin experiencing strange things like visions, rapid healing, and enhanced abilities. The bitten teens, Everett (Armani Jackson) suffers from intense anxiety and has an extremely judgmental mother and Blake (Bella Shepard), a loner with an autistic younger brother and a neglectful father (James Martinez). At first, the two are not friends, but as the first episode progresses and they begin to realize what they are and the danger they are in, they are drawn to each other and to twin classmates Harlan (Tyler Lawrence Gray) and Luna (Chloe Rose Robertson) who were born werewolves but raised by their adopted human father Garrett (Rodrigo Santoro) who has gone missing during the fire. Throw in Kristin Ramsey (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who is investigating the cause of the fire which is believed to be arson and possibly started by a teen who might have been on the bus in the beginning.
It is always exciting when a favorite actor famous for one of the best genre television series ever, gets cast in another genre series, but it usually ends in disappointment, which is the case with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Wolf Pack. Don’t get me wrong, the show isn’t bad, the plot is interesting, there seems to be a decent amount of mystery and intrigue, and plenty of action and adventure. The plot is interesting, and the episode had a decent tempo and rhythm, but the dialogue and general writing of the series really isn’t up to par with Sarah Michelle Gellar’s previous series, Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. Much of the dialogue in Wolf Pack felt forced and unnatural. The exposition was also a bit lacking. There is a fine line between giving too much information and not giving enough. In one case, the audience feels overwhelmed; in the other case, the audience is left confused, and in this case, I was left confused. This may have been done on purpose to give the audience the same experience the two leads are going through, but it also made it harder to connect with the story and to decide whether or not to continue watching.
The production value on the series was…interesting. I liked the werewolf design, which is more in line with a “Wolfman” look, taking it a few steps further than the Teen Wolf series and definitely leans towards the monstrous. But the general lighting choices were a little weird, keeping with a green hue for most of the episode, and I am not sure why. Was this a choice to emphasize the red of the forest fire blaze? or does it symbolize the natural environment that these creatures belong to? Or was it just an odd aesthetic choice that the director liked? We may never know. The actors are all very capable, and if the script improves, I can see this being a really great show. I liked that each of the four teens has a different “gift”, although they have not fully addressed this yet. Luna has super smell, Harlan super hearing, Blake super speed and Everett super strength. The actors are also good looking at least for their demographic (I didn’t find the “younglings” that attractive, but the adult actors are all above average in the looks arena). I love that there is a mystery aspect added to the plot with who started the fire and for what purpose, but we really don’t know what part each of the characters will play yet. Who is the mysterious caller? Does Kristin Ramsey know about the existence of werewolves? Who bit our two teen heroes? Will Garrett make it back to his kids alive? Guess we will just need to watch to find out!
Overall, I liked the series and will continue to watch it to see if the writing improves. I should also mention, that I have not read the books, but it does appear that they have changed a lot of the major plot points from the source material.
Not a bad first episode, but definitely disappointing when compared to Buffy!
Wolfpack is now showing on Paramount+.
Wolf Pack: The Flames are Flickering
- Writing - 5/105/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Acting - 8/108/10
- Music - 8/108/10
- Production - 7/107/10
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