In a surprising turn of events that must be confusing to a number of people, Teen Wolf creator/showrunner Jeff Davis has set his sights on another werewolf show set in a brand-new universe! Aptly titled Wolf Pack, this Paramount+ series carries the star power of Buffy icon Sarah Michelle Gellar, and a cast of young new faces that people will doubtless fall in love with. Personally, I feel that though having two wolf shows in separate universes is a bit odd, Wolf Pack is more sexually charged, violent, and tonally mature already after only two episodes! I don’t think the world of Beacon Hills would have been the right fit. Based on the book by Edo van Belkom, showrunner Jeff Davis has spun gold once again in this exciting and extremely engaging fantasy/horror series!
In what feels to be an incredibly timely move, as the series begins, a wildfire is blazing across the countryside. Through the eyes of a group of teenagers stuck in traffic on their school bus, we have a firsthand account of the horrors in real time. Everett (Armani Jackson) is trying to decompress and de-stress from his severe anxiety via a call with his therapist, but this is of course interrupted by the craziness occurring just outside his bus window. As news of school closings and evacuations begin to fly out at rapid pace, hoodie-wearing acne-prone outsider Blake (Bella Shepard) fishes Everett for information, as she does not own a phone nor participate in any social media. The setup is immediate, but what happens next surprised me. The bus driver refuses to let the kids off due to obvious protocols, but multiple cars all around them are abandoned as the fire heads their way.
Absolute madness and chaos ensues. The teens eventually manage to get off the bus, as plumes of smoke and the foreboding presence of the fire inches closer to their location. Suddenly, hordes of distressed animals begin flooding out. This is Wolf Pack’s first major display of brutality; with rams set aflame, bodies flying, and heads stomped in, the series is quite honestly not messing around when it comes to the tone. By the time its lengthy opener concludes, Everett is bleeding profusely from his shoulder, and Blake manages to save Everett from an untimely death as a blazing vehicle zooms towards him relentlessly.
A smoky opening credits sequence definitely conveys the right atmosphere, even if it doesn’t manage to be as immediately catchy as Teen Wolf’s rollicking theme music. Whilst Everett is rushed away to the hospital, Blake returns home just as her father is evacuating with her autistic younger brother, Danny. Despite parting ways, Blake and Everett share some kind of psychic connection—Blake discovers a bite on her side, and sees Everett laying on his hospital bed as if she is right there next to him. A romantic charge exists between the two of them that shippers are going to have a blast deconstructing. Both have been bitten, and both have budding mysterious powers. Everett suddenly has drool-worthy abs, and Blake’s face miraculously clears up to the point of perfection.
Perhaps equally intriguing as Everett and Blake, we meet the remainder of the major characters we will follow during season one of Wolf Pack by the time the premiere episode concludes. The two other werewolves we meet are fascinating in their own right. Our sole queer character, Harlan (Tyler Lawrence Gray), seems to revel in clubbing, random hookups, and obsessively working out; his sister, Luna (Chloe Rose Robertson), longs to connect with others like her, and is anxious to support Everett and Blake in their discoveries. Harlan and Luna are both technically orphaned with an adoptive father who knows their secrets; annoyingly, he is trapped in the middle of the wildfires. These don’t seem to be ecological in nature though—thus is the exact reason arson investigator Kristin Ramsey (Gellar) is brought onto the scene. How much does she really know about their situation? Every second Ramsey is on screen, I was glued to it. Gellar’s first major television role since 2013’s The Crazy Ones does not disappoint.
The show wastes little time on needless exposition, but holds the word “werewolf” for a dazzling cliffhanger, just in case that wasn’t clear by now. Davis establishes our core characters gradually, and I was immediately invested in all of them. I have no doubt that as time goes on, we will get to know them and their dirty little secrets much better. While critics were provided only the first two episodes of the series, I was still left longing to join this Wolf Pack for a permanent stay. What teenager started these fires? Who bit Everett and Blake? Will the birth parents of Harlan and Luna ever be revealed? These are all questions I hope to be answered by the close of the first season. Either way, Wolf Pack presents a stylish, mesmerizing start to your newest horror-themed television obsession!
Don’t miss the series premiere of Wolf Pack, howling at the moon weekly starting Thursday, January 26th, exclusively on Paramount+.