From a Spark to a Fizzle: Wolf Pack review

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Wolf Pack is based on the book series by Edo Van Belkom and follows Everett Lang (Armani Jackson) and Blake Navarro (Bella Shepard), whose lives are changed forever when a California wildfire awakens a terrifying supernatural creature, driving it to attack a highway traffic jam beneath the burning hills. Wounded in the chaos, Everett and Blake are inexplicably drawn to each other and to Elizabeth ‘Luna’ Briggs (Chloe Rose Robertson) and Harlan Briggs (Tyler Lawrence Gray).  Luna and Harlan were adopted by park ranger Garrett Briggs (Rodrigo Santoro), 16 years earlier after another mysterious wildfire. As the full moon rises, all four teens come together to unravel a secret that connects them – the bite and blood of a werewolf. 

Right away, viewers are thrown into the chaos of Wolf Pack resulting in Blake and Everett being bitten by a mysterious creature that moves better during the night. Over the next few nights, as the wildfire rages on, park ranger Garrett Briggs is missing and his adoptive teenage twins, Harlan and Luna, must find him before he perishes. As Blake and Everett are coming to terms that their bodies are changing and their senses are heightened, Kristin Ramsey (Sarah Michelle Gellar), is pulled into the orbit of this chaos.

WOLF PACK on Paramount+. Photo: Steve Dietl/Paramount+ © 2022 MTVE All Rights Reserved.

As viewers watch this show, it will be hard to separate Jeff Davis’s Teen Wolf TV series from Wolf Pack. They both exist in separate worlds, but the formatting of the show is very similar. In Teen Wolf, the wolf pack’s history is established early on through the Hale family, but unfortunately, Wolf Pack doesn’t establish any background to their characters. Viewers are thrown into the chaos and turbulent families without having any understanding as to who these are or why teenagers such as Blake hate the world. Having the same writers and producers as Teen Wolf may have hurt Wolf Pack before the series had a chance to stand on its own. It is not helped by the way Davis and MTV have marketed them both together, fans of Teen Wolf may be disappointed in this new series.

As with any marketing of a new show, you need a draw. Something to entice people into watching your show and MTV and Davis have cleverly used Sarah Michelle Gellar for this. Davis has been outspoken about how Buffy the Vampire Slayer had influenced his work over the years, and having Sarah Michelle Gellar on the poster will have Buffy fans tuning in. Unfortunately for those tuning in for Sarah Michelle Gellar, you will be treated to a handful of short scenes, barely making an impact in the show’s runtime, which is a shame, given Gellar’s talents.

Rodrigo Santoro as Garrett Briggs and Sarah Michelle Gellar as Kristin Ramsy in WOLF PACK on Paramount+. Photo: Curtis Bonds Baker/Paramount+ © 2022 MTVE All Rights Reserved.

One of the biggest issues of the first two episodes of Wolf Pack is a frequent problem among Davis’s other works. The pacing is off throughout the two episodes, with some scenes barely lasting three minutes, but are meant to have a profound impact on the characters and plot. On the other side, some scenes such as the highway traffic jam in the pilot (and seen in the trailer) drags on for far too long. It may have been best to have five- or ten-minutes establishing characters such as Blake and Everett and their family dynamics instead of trying to establish such a thing through the first and second episode, albeit intermittently throughout the episodes, mostly the second episode. It was almost as if the writers realised their mistake and tried to fix it but failed in that task.

Garrett Briggs (Rodrigo Santoro) is one of the very few good things in these two episodes. The series establishes him as a caring, understanding father to Luna and Harlan as he struggles to raise teenagers who just so happen to be werewolves. In the very few scenes that Santoro gets, he shines as Garrett Briggs, though it is a shame he isn’t given nearly as much screen time as he deserves. While the acting of the teenage characters leaves much to be desired, when paired alongside Santoro, Chloe Rose Robertson surprisingly delivers acting wise in a caring, yet fleeting scene in episode two. 

WOLF PACK on Paramount+. Photo: Steve Dietl/Paramount+ © 2022 MTVE All Rights Reserved.

Overall, Wolf Pack has a lot of growing pains. It is too similar to Davis’s other projects while attempting to be more brutal and darker like the shows Davis has openly admired. Instead of focusing on four different wayward teenagers, the plot would have been more cohesive if they had focused on the Brigg’s family and their connection to this mysterious creature that lurks on the streets during the night. Had it not been for Garrett Briggs and the potential of plots his character could have, the rating would have been lower. In his few, fleeting scenes, Garrett Briggs shows drive and purpose that other characters in the series lack. Rodrigo Santoro makes the most of the limited scenes and dialogue he has as he delivers a superior performance that even this bad writing could not interfere with. For that, he is the MVC of the series.

Wolf Pack episodes 1 & 2 were screened for review.

Wolf Pack premiers on Thursday, Jan. 26 exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and Canada. The series will premiere the following day on Friday, Jan. 27 on Paramount+ in the U.K., Australia, Latin America, and Brazil.


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