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Case Number 26773: Small Claims Court

Buy Teen Wolf: Season 3, Part 1 at Amazon

Teen Wolf: Season 3, Part 1

MTV // 2013 // 528 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // January 1st, 2014

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All Rise...

When he was a teenager, Judge Gordon Sullivan used to metamorph into Michael Landon.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Teen Wolf: Season 2 (published June 3rd, 2013), Teen Wolf: Season 3, Part 2 (published August 23rd, 2014), Teen Wolf (1985) (Blu-ray) (published April 25th, 2011), and Teen Wolf: Season 1 (published June 4th, 2012) are also available.

The Charge

This might hurt.

The Case

Every show that hopes to last faces a tough challenge: how to balance the need to build an audience with the need to get new viewers into the show. Lots of TV opts to go problem-of-the-week for the first few seasons before diving headlong into a more complex character relationships and/or mythologies. It's an especially difficult choice for fantasy shows to make, since they have to establish their world and provide compelling episodes, and not put off new viewers (at least for the first season or two). In addition to being a fantasy show, Teen Wolf is also a teen soap opera, with relationships shifting almost episode to episode. After two twelve-episode seasons, the show has broken out for its first twenty-four-episode run. It's good that the show gets a bit of room to grow, but Teen Wolf: Season 3, Part 1 will probably separate the fans from the uninitiated—there's plenty here to love, but unless you're already invested, this is not place to jump on.

Last season, teen werewolf Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) had to deal with a shape-shifting creature called the Kanima, while his girlfriend Allison (Crystal Reed) was learning to become a werewolf hunter. Unsurprisingly, that didn't end well, and she broke up with him in the final episode just as it was revealed that a new pack of Alpha werewolves were in town. We pick up a bit later, as Allison has given up hunting, Scott is trying to be good, and the Alphas reveal themselves and their leader, Deucalion. People and animals are dying, while Scott and his friends look into it. All twelve episodes in this half of the season are presented on three discs.

One of the interesting things that Teen Wolf has continued to do is refuse to choose between external and internal threats. A lot of shows would either introduce their band of do-gooders and have them assailed by external bad guys. Or, they would introduce a group of people and gradually reveal the treachery of one of them. Teen Wolf splits the difference. It seems like every other episode somebody is arriving in the town, and almost all of them seem to be up to no good. Those threats are compelling enough, but Teen Wolf uses those threats to gradually reveal the different allegiances and back stories of the other characters. It keeps the whole show feeling fresh because just when we think we've got a particular bad guy figured out, he or she helps give us some new piece of the puzzle that is the whole weird world of Teen Wolf.

The only drawback to this approach is that it makes the show really hard to talk about without giving spoilers. To avoid that, Season 3 continues the pattern set by previous seasons. We have an external threat (the arrival of the Alpha pack) that allows us to learn a bunch of things about the town and its inhabitants. We get major insight in the lives of Scott and his friends in the last episode, and before that we learn a bit more about werewolf mythology and Scott's status. We get introduced to some new players in the werewolf game, and all of this will have significant consequences for everyone moving forward.

There's still the same level of action, romance, and eye candy that we've come to expect from the show. A lot of people watch Teen Wolf for the shirtless dudes, and Season 3 doesn't disappoint.

This DVD set is also par for the course with Teen Wolf—twelve episodes spread over three discs gives plenty of room for these 1.78:1 anamorphic transfers. They're bright and detailed where it matters, and boast impressive black levels during the many nighttime scenes. Color saturation is fine, and skin tones stay consistent and true. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes are similarly impressive, keeping dialogue audible and using the surrounds during more tense scenes.

All three discs have deleted scenes, and we also get a gag reel and "shirtless montage" on the second disc. A featurette is included on the third disc that looks at the pack.

I don't want to go so far as to say the show borders on the ridiculous at this point, but the twists and turns are coming fast enough to make them no longer believable. Or, I should say that fans will require a certain suspension of disbelief. I would complain about this DVD set being released midseason, but since it contains the same number of episodes as previous Teen Wolf sets it's hard to complain too loudly.

Teen Wolf is setting itself up for a pretty solid third season, if these first twelve episodes are anything to judge by. Though the show is reaching the point where following it might become difficult, the various threads are still paying off enough to make it worth it. Fans can pick this set up knowing it's up to the usual standards of the franchise.

The Verdict

Still not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 84

Perp Profile

Studio: MTV
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English (SDH)
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 528 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Comedy
• Drama
• Horror
• Paranormal
• Romance
• Romantic Comedies
• Teen
• Television
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Deleted Scenes
• Featurettes
• Gag Reel


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