Judge Gordon Sullivan wonders if his fangs are showing.
Our reviews of Teen Wolf: Season 2 (published June 3rd, 2013), Teen Wolf: Season 3, Part 1 (published January 1st, 2014), Teen Wolf (1985) (Blu-ray) (published April 25th, 2011), and Teen Wolf: Season 1 (published June 4th, 2012) are also available.
Lose your mind.
We live in interesting times. Back in 1985, Jeph Loeb was a struggling screenwriter who helped co-write Teen Wolf and then Commando. Hollywood didn't suit him, though, and he rose to prominence as a writer of comics, most notably Batman: The Long Halloween. That led to a job over at Marvel as head of their TV studio. While that was happening, his Teen Wolf film was being adapted into a regular series by MTV. The funny thing is that in the interim, Loeb went from working on the film, which has almost no mythology, to working on X-Men, which has one of the most complicated mythologies in the history of comics. Teen Wolf has definitely followed the X-Men tradition, and now that we have Teen Wolf: Season 3, Part 2 on DVD, the show has reached a point where the mythology is complicated enough to keep new viewers away. That's not a bad thing though, as the show has really found its niche, offering a fine blend of romance, action, and suspense.
When last we left hero Scott (Tyler Posey, Maid in Manhattan), he had emerged as "True Alpha" werewolf and with his friends had banished Deucalion from Beacon Hills. Now the town has a new arrival in the form of Kira (Arden Cho, Olympus Has Fallen), a kitsune with powers who reveals a problematic spirit coming to Beacon Hills.
As with the previous half of Season Three, there's a lot going on in these 12 episodes. We get the usually compliment of thwarted romance, creepy action, dubious motivations, and apparent flip-flops in terms of who's on what side. The show hasn't been a stranger to death, but the stakes feel raised this season. So basically, everything is up for grabs with the new spirit—a Nogitsune, or dark fox spirit—in town focused on chaos and destruction. The new spirit really changes things up, helping to reveal more of the problems underlying life in Beacon Hills.
The best thing, to me, about the second half of the third season is that it feels like it focuses more on Stiles than on Scott. Since becoming a "True Alpha," Scott's story has felt a bit over played. I'm sure they'll come up with some ways to make him more interesting in the fourth season, but for now being a True Alpha feels like a natural stopping point in his arc. So as the second half of the season pivots to Stiles and the Nogitsune, Scott doesn't quite disappear or anything, but other characters take over the show a bit more. Considering how far Stiles has come from the goofy sidekick status in the first season, turning the focus on him really helps the show this time around.
The show also keeps the usual stuff we expect from the first two and a half seasons. There's plenty of soap-opera style shenanigans. There are still plenty of dudes with low body fat who don't mind taking their shirts off as well, and the show keeps its balance of dark material and occasional humor.
This DVD set is also pretty solid, much like previous releases. The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfers are spread out over three discs, giving plenty of room for nice detail and fine colors. Black levels are significant to the show, and these transfers do a fine job keeping them fairly deep and consistent, especially for SD. The 5.1 mixes do a fine job with the dialogue and have a bit of directionality during action sequences. The packaging claims the shows are "musically edited," so don't expect all the songs from the show's original broadcast. Extras start with a featurette that looks at the show's fandom. For a show that most people were skeptical of initially, the fans have really stepped up. The other extra keeps the fan-centric motif going and offers a collectible set of fan art in the DVD case.
If there is a problem with Teen Wolf it's having reached the stage where there's no good jumping-on point after Season One. That's not a huge problem, but some viewers might be starting to get tired of the increasingly-complicated mythology and relationships in the show. Binge-watching an entire season helps to mitigate that effect somewhat. I'm not entirely sure of the logic of starting the series with 12 episode seasons, then switching to a 24 episode season, only to release them as two separate parts.
If you don't mind complicated plots, then Teen Wolf: Season 3, Part 2 caps off the show's best run so far. Though this isn't a place for new viewers to jump on, these 12 episodes demonstrate that the show has legs, with a cast of interesting characters it can turn to combined with some innovative supernatural threats. Though some fans may complain about the split releasing schedule, this set is a fine addition to the Teen Wolf franchise.
Getting better. Not guilty.
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