That was more than a little disappointing.
Wolf Pack Season 1 Episode 1 sloppily introduced us to a new group of teen wolves, and honestly, I expected far better than what we got on “From a Spark to a Flame.”
Paramount+ put its marketing muscle behind the series in a way that made it seem like Sarah Michelle Gellar’s arson investigator Kristin would be front and center.
Honestly, I wouldn’t have minded the lack of SMG if the rest of the plots were half-interesting, but the series premiere served up a subpar installment that makes me worried about the series’ future.
Out of the four teenagers, Blake was the easiest to connect with, and I have to imagine that was because Bella Shepard’s acting was leaps and bounds better than her co-stars.
Blake’s storyline was heartbreaking, primarily because she seemed to have more common sense than her father.
Roberto was clearly taking his frustration out on his daughter during every scene, which was harrowing to watch.
More harrowing, though, was the revelation that Blake booked the hotel recently for her and Austin because her parents were fighting, and they didn’t even notice they were gone.
Yeah, Roberto isn’t winning any father of the year awards any time soon, but at least he did start to realize the error of his ways.
The best aspect of a character like Blake is that she doesn’t mince her words. She says exactly how she feels; admittedly, that must stem from her years living with her father.
Roberto showed some progression when he admitted that he hadn’t been the best father, but it’s hard to imagine there being peace and tranquility for this family any time soon.
Doctor: All right, Everett, if your eyes are closed, all you need to do is concentrate on your breath.
Doctor: You don’t have to apologize. Notice the sound. Let it go. Come back to your breath.
Everett: Maybe I should take another Ativan. I only had one so far.
Doctor: Did you run this morning?
Everett: Three miles.
Everett: 20 minutes.
Doctor: Then you’re doing everything right.
Everett: But what if I just took a 1/4 of a pill?
Doctor: Everett, you know what I’m gonna say.
Everett: I know, I know, I know. I’m supposed to push through the anxiety. Tell myself it’s not gonna last, it’s not gonna kill me. And it’s-it’s actually just evidence of my body working at peak condition. But I’m pretty sure peak condition doesn’t feel like there’s a giant fսcking weight crushing me, so can I please just take another Ativan?
Doctor: Listen, I’m gonna have to call you back. They’re evacuating my building. You’re not anywhere near this fire, are you?
The arson attack decimated their house, and Roberto couldn’t afford a hotel or motel for the night.
You could see the struggle on his face, but hopefully, he can be nicer to his daughter because what would he have done without her?
I didn’t buy the whole “I don’t have a cell phone,” either. Surely, parents would bend over backward to ensure their kids are easily reachable.
It just felt like a forced quirk to showcase that Blake isn’t like the other teenagers, and there were plenty of different ways to showcase that.
The bus was terrifying because these teenagers didn’t know what was happening or whether they would survive.
Tonally, those scenes were all over the place, playing out like the original Goosebumps as opposed to a teen drama in 2023.
There were stakes, but the scenes didn’t resonate with me because the editing was corny.
It wasn’t good to show the dude’s head bashed in, either. It simply didn’t fit in with what happened leading up to everyone getting off the bus.
The other characters may be better developed in future episodes, but there wasn’t enough convincing material for me to get on board with Everett, Harlan, and Luna.
I did feel bad for Everett when his parents didn’t believe him. He’d gone through a traumatic situation, and when he opened up about it, he was shut down.
Then again, you just had to look at the hospital waiting room to understand that something supernatural had occurred.
Everett has been struggling with anxiety, so my best guess is that his parents are chalking up his odd behavior to that, which is damaging and cruel.
You went through something pretty terrifying. You saw people die. But I need your help, Everett. I need you to help me figure out who’s responsible for the deaths of several people. That includes some of your friends who were on that school bus. You’re gonna hear that the police suspect arson. But that’s only part of the truth. Because it’s not just a suspicion. I know for certain this fire was caused by arson. I can tell you I’m certain of one other thing. The arsonist is a teenager. Might even be someone you go to school with. In fact, it’s quite possible this teenager was on that bus with you.
The only parent that felt like a fully formed character was Garrett; the rest were awful.
I appreciated Garrett’s drive to get home to Luna and Harlan, but unfortunately, Harlan thought going to a party while the state was quite literally in flames was a good idea.
Obviously, he was tired of Garrett disappearing for days at a time, and it was almost like he was numb to the worry over his well-being.
When loved ones work in dangerous jobs, you always worry in the back of your mind about their safety.
The revelation that Garrett found Luna and Harlan as baby wolves was far more intriguing than the final scene.
Luna and Harlan realizing there were two more werewolves in town, and Blake and Everett reacting to their abilities, fell flat.
The series already hinted as much throughout the episode, so it was a strange way of keeping viewers hooked for the next episode.
Luna and Harlan have some potential as characters, and maybe it’s a good thing they did impact the plot, given that they were missing from the first 30 minutes.
I’m not sold on Sarah Michelle Gellar in this series, either. With such an extensive career behind her, it’s a shame she chose a series that doesn’t utilize her very well.
Then again, maybe the show will improve when the storylines converge.
For now, Wolf Pack is one of the most disappointing series in recent memory.
It has the makings of a good story, but the clunky nature of the storytelling and uninspired performances might spoil the show for fans before it gets good.
What are your thoughts on the premiere? Do you think the show struggled to remain interesting for the 50-minute premiere?
What are your thoughts on how they used Sarah Michelle Gellar?
Hit the comments.
New episodes of Wolf Pack air Thursdays on Paramount+.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.