Monday, 18 February 2013

Spin-Off Without Bite: Teen Wolf Search for a Cure Webisode Review

Teenage werewolf Scott and his best friend Stiles track down a university professor who may be able to help them find a cure for Scott’s condition.

Last week I wrote about Season 1 of Teen Wolf, which is one of the best teen horror series around. Slotting in somewhere in the middle of Season 1’s chronology is the seven episode web series Teen Wolf: Search for a Cure. It tells of Stiles and Scott’s attempts to find a cure for Scott’s lycanthropy by locating a university professor, Dr Conrad Fenris, who seems to know something about werewolves. The webisodes expand on the werewolf mythology, including how a werewolf can be killed and the different types of werewolves (Alphas, Betas, etc), and give a bit more back story to Derek, but due partly to the short length (around 20 minutes in total) and low budget, lack a lot of the humour and action that viewers of Teen Wolf have come to expect.

The best web spin-off series I have seen to date was the Ghostfacers spin-off of Supernatural. Although the series centred on a group of minor characters who have appeared in only a handful of Supernatural episodes, taken together, the webisodes formed a 40 minute show with a story that was almost up to the standard of a normal episode of Supernatural (albeit, without Sam and Dean). Teen Wolf: Search for a Cure, on the other hand, was sponsored by telecommunications company AT&T, and made available AT&T’s Facebook page (as well as MTV’s website), and at times feels like a cross between a university lecture and an extended AT&T advertisement. The first two episodes feature Stiles showing Scott videos of Dr Fenris’s lectures on his phone, and although I’m not 100% certain, I’m guessing there was a bit of shameless plugging for one or more of AT&T’s products going on here.

That being said, Teen Wolf: Search for a Cure is not a complete waste of time. Given that most web spin-offs of TV shows focus on minor characters rather than the series leads (like the Supernatural web series mentioned above), it is nice to see a web spin-off series where the main characters of the original show actually appear for a change. Search for a Cure also provides an introduction to Dr Fenris, who later appeared (very briefly) at the start of episode 9 of Season 1 (and incidentally, is played by John Posey, real life father of Tyler Posey, a.k.a. Scott). If you are a die-hard fan of the show, you will want to watch this. For everyone else, though, I wouldn’t bother.

Verdict: An average web spin-off of an exceptional TV show. 

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