TEEN WOLF Showrunner Gives Us a Practical Lesson in Production

Why you can’t always do what you want when you’re running a TV series (and, no, you can’t even always do what you need):

TA Message About Race and Racism in Teen Wolf –  Jeff Davis’s Tumblr post (which has since been taken down)

I have seen a number of posts regarding race and racism in Teen Wolf that reference a quote I made in an interview about my efforts in trying to build a world in the show that is somewhat idealized. The critiques are all fair and insightful. I do think it may interest some of my more vocal critics to know the difficulties of approaching these kinds of subjects in television.

First off, the lack of story development for Boyd’s character. I have said numerous times in interviews that the new supporting characters are there to “support” the main characters. I have 41 minutes a week in which to tell a story. It’s not easy to service every character equally!

Second, our show has budget constraints that severely limit how many guest actors we can have. For example, I would have preferred to have Michael Hogan show up in every episode of the new season. Unfortunately, we could only afford him in a certain number. With the three new wolves, Sinqua, Gage and Daniel, we had to decide how best to use them in twelve episodes. When we make contracts for actors it’s usually a minimum guarantee of 6 out of 12 episodes.

Now, here is a sample email during the production of the show I received about Sinqua Walls who plays Boyd:

“So Sinqua is testing for a pilot on Tuesday. Tracy (his manager) has asked if we can get him on the latest flight possible back to LA on Monday night. She doesn’t want him traveling the same day as the test. Would this work for production? He still isn’t closed for the next episodes and they have been holding b/c of this possible testing. This is rather time sensitive since I believe he was scheduled to fly out today. So please get back to me ASAP.”

What this means is that while he was guaranteed several episodes in our show, Sinqua made it very far along in the casting process for a pilot. Since Sinqua is not a regular cast member, he is often out auditioning for numerous other roles. And as he had the possibility of getting another job, his management was hesitant at committing to any more episodes with us. While I was writing the last batch of episodes, I had no idea if he would even be available to me. That makes it very difficult to invest in a character if I’ve got be able to craft a script so that he can be easily written out in case the actor gets another job.

When we send out breakdowns for cast it always says “All ethnicities.” I’m quite proud of the fact that our lead actor is Latino. But I have also always said I will not make Teen Wolf an “issues” show. I think a series like Glee or even the humor of Modern Family are far more equipped to handle those subjects. I also worry that as a white male who grew up in a pretty ordinary middle class suburb I may not have the insight to be particularly adept at tackling issues of race head on. While there is no way I can write without socialization and my own personal bias both informing and affecting my work, I believe my first job is to entertain. That’s what I love about writing. Entertaining people. If I skirt the issues of race and sexual politics, the reason is most likely that I don’t feel like I’m going to be very good at tackling those issues within a show about teenage werewolves. I don’t really know how to write those stories. But I think I do know how to scare people and how to make them laugh. There are far better writers out there like Aaron Sorkin, Shonda Rhimes, David E. Kelley, far more equipped to tackle those subjects. I’m here first and foremost to entertain. All else comes under the banner of “best effort.”

I love the passion all of the fans bring to the show and I’m glad it creates far more of a discourse than I ever expected. I’m pretty sure most of my response here comes out of my own insecure thinking: “Are they calling me racist? I’m not racist! Wait… am I?” But maybe some of this information will provide a different insight into the why’s and how’s of the world of television and if you don’t necessarily forgive our flaws, you might at least understand them a little better.

So this insight comes out of a specific problem, a big controversy about the show, which Jeff thought he was ending. But instead…

Poor baby.

‘Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel’

Remember how comic books fans were all furrowed brows and sputtering talk back in ’09 when Disney absorbed Marvel? How the fans were worried that Disney would dilute/sully/demean/cheapen/totally screw the Marvel brand?

Remember how relieved fans were when the Marvel feature films stayed as fresh and exciting and authentic as the first IRON MAN had been after the new regime was in place?

How they/you/we heaved big sighs of relief and went back to cursing more important things, like the economy, Microsoft, and health care in the U.S.A.?

Well, it just might be time to start worrying again:

Or, in the words of MTV Geek’s Charles Webb:

Worlds collide as Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh’s kid characters cross over with the Marvel U…

Phineas and Ferb co-creator Marsh is providing redesigns to the Marvel Heroes and villains so that they’ll blend into Danville. No word on if the Avengers and Ultimate Spider-Man voice cast will be reprising their roles for the special event.

Now that Disney is embracing the inevitable collision between their stable of cartoon characters and the Marvel catalog, how long is it until we finally get a Disney/Marvel game mashup in the vein of Kingdom Hearts? Get on that, Disney.

As Jack Kirby’s mom might have said, “Oy!”

MTV Renews TEEN WOLF

Time to jump on the TEEN WOLF bandwagon because, you know, everyone’s doing it, sometimes even without knives

by TeamTVWriter Press Service

At Comic-Con yesterday, MTV announced the pick-up of a third season of its hit drama series “Teen Wolf.” Season three will feature 24 episodes, double the number of its first and second seasons, and will shoot in Los Angeles. This unprecedented pick-up marks the first time an MTV primetime scripted series has been renewed for a third season and the largest episode order in the scripted category to date.

“Teen Wolf” was developed by Jeff Davis (creator, “Criminal Minds”) who also serves as executive producer. The pilot was written by Jeff Davis and Jeph Loeb & Matthew Weisman and directed by Russell Mulcahy. The “Teen Wolf” series is based on a screenplay by Jeph Loeb & Matthew Weisman.

“Teen Wolf” was the #1 show in its time period among teens during its season one run, and has continued to reign in the demo throughout the second season. The series currently ranks as the #1 series across all TV in its time period among the key P12-34 demo, and draws 1.8 million total viewers each week. The series ranks as one of the most social shows on cable, according to Trendrr, and, in addition, is seeing triple digit gains in both Facebook and Twitter engagement. (And you thought ratings were all that mattered. Sheesh!)

INBETWEENERS Coming to MTV

MTV Sets Premiere Date For ‘Inbetweeners’

By Nellie Andreeva

The Inbetweeners, MTV’s adaptation of the praised British series, will premiere on Monday, August 20, at 10:30 PM, following the return of Rob Dyrdek’s Ridiculousness at 10:00 PM. Inbetweeners, a comedic look at a group of teenagers navigating high school and charging into adulthood, was adapted for the U.S. by Brad Copeland who is executive producing the series with Aaron Kaplan, along with UK series creators Damon Beesley and Iain Morris. The pilot was directed by Taika Waititi. Joey Pollari, Bubba Lewis, Zack Pearlman, Mark L. Young and Alex Frnka star.

Deadline.Com reminds us that INBETWEENERS is coming to MTV in a couple of months. No snark from this corner: The British show is awesome, with writing that perfectly captures the excitement and angst we remember from our (admittedly recent) teenage years, and if the U.S. version is 20% as good it’ll be the best thing MTV’s given us since Video Killed the  Radio Star.

Be there.

munchman: Ripped from the Headlines: “‘Daria,’ ‘Laguna Beach’ And ‘The Hills’ Are Headed Back To MTV”


Ah, DARIA! Of course it’s back. One of the best animated shows in the history of TV. With Daria herself the progenitor of our entire population of hipster chicks. (That’s right, even before Katy Perry.)

But are new episodes coming?

Nah. Of course not. We’re talking the umpteenth reruns here because – it hurts to cast aspergions, but I can’t think of any other way to say this – no one on this show gets residuals! It’s as good as effing free!

Oh, MTV, do you remember when you broke, like, new ground? Bounded over the edge into the unknown universe of music entertainment and made us rock out?

Why hast thou forsaken us? Daddy? Why…?

EDITED TO ADD: We found this brilliant DARIA image at AnimeFlavor.Com. Which we believe is a very cool site. Even for hipsters.

FURTHER EDITED TO ADD: What? LAGUNA BEACH? THE HILLS? What kind of cretin would want to talk about, or even see, them?

munchman