‘Teen Wolf’ Premiered on MTV 10 Years Ago

Creator and Executive Producer Jeff Davis wrote on Instagram: Ten years ago today Teen Wolf premiered on MTV… to not particularly impressive ratings. And then somehow went for 99 more episodes. The following pics are a cover shoot for The New York Times Magazine (no idea how that happened), Russell directing Tyler, a sketch I did trying to figure out the werewolf look, Tyler in Lacrosse uniform, our first Alpha werewolf, and a few other pics I found. Incredible memories that fill me with nothing but gratitude.

The New York Times: MTV’s “Teen Wolf” was conceived as a darker, sexier reimagining of the “Teen Wolf” story, and also a gorier one. Within the first few minutes of the pilot episode, for example, Posey’s character, Scott McCall, discovers the naked, dismembered body of a young woman in the woods. So it’s clear right away that this will not be a sweet, silly sports comedy, like the old “Teen Wolf.” There will also be brooding! There will probably not be triumphant werewolf-basketball montages!

Davis says he went into his first meeting with MTV unsure that a “Teen Wolf” TV show could actually work, especially one that replicated the tone of the original. He suggested to the network that they look to another ’80s-baby cult film for inspiration: “The Lost Boys,” Joel Schumacher’s 1987 movie about a pack of mullet-haired vampires.

“That’s an ’80s movie I love,” Davis says. “It’s got horror, it’s got romance, and it’s got humor. There haven’t been many TV shows that really try to go for that.” Davis also cites “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which pulled off that tonal high-wire act brilliantly for seven seasons and remains the greatest work of pop art that the horror-goes-to-high-school subgenre has ever produced. “Not that we can fill that void,” Davis says, “but why not try to go for it?”

Davis understands that there are people who object on principle to a darker, sexier “Teen Wolf” reboot: who see it as proof of Hollywood’s cynical, money-grubbing disregard for its audience’s childhood memories. He has been asked, given the degree to which the new show departs from the tone of the original, why they’re calling it “Teen Wolf” at all.

There are two answers, he says.

“The cynical one is that it’s a brand. This gets announced in the trades, everybody’s talking about it. It’s online everywhere — which is extraordinary to me, that that many people remember ‘Teen Wolf.’ And then the second reason is: It’s a perfect title for this. He’s a teenage werewolf. Teen. Wolf. Hitchcock said a title should be short and tell you exactly what the movie’s about.”

When I asked him, sort of jokingly, if Hollywood reboot-mania indicates that we’re running out of culture, his answer was — considering what he’s working on at the moment — pretty impressively honest:

“I don’t think we’re running out of culture. I think we’re running out of courage.”