25 Sep, 2012
Wolfblood is a great new British TV show produced by the BBC for teenagers (or at least 9/10+ year olds). Wolfblood centres on 14-year old Maddy, who discovers that she, like her parents, is a Wolfblood: human with the ability to turn into a wolf (but not a not werewolf) upon reaching a critical age. She goes through many changes in the run-up to that transformation in the form of enhanced physical attributes. The story follows her understanding of her situation, her relationship with her parents, school-friends and the wider Wolfblood community, as well as newly arrived foster-care teenager Rhydian who, as it happens, is also a Wolfblood.
So far we’ve seen episodes 1-4, and by ‘we’ I mean myself and my two sons aged 9 & 10, as they are the target market. They are absolutely hooked on the show, and cited many reasons as to why it hit all their buttons: “we all wish we could wake up with superpowers, but this program shows the ordinary stuff - going to school, sitting exams, doing jobs in the house - all the everyday downsides of having powers, that you never see in a Marvel film except as a joke.”
For my part, the show is really well written, with engaging real-world school kids that you see on the streets everyday. It’s a nice change that it’s set in the North rather than the London (my boys are at that age where they are really discovering regional accents!), and just like real-life, nobody’s perfect. The cast is a great bunch of talented kids who look like they must have had a lot of fun making the show. They have some believable characters to play with, and it is well produced with decent direction, filming and effects for a children’s TV program. I myself was raised watching Grange Hill, but today’s kids are naturally more demanding about what TV they sacrifice those precious hours between school and bed-time (subtract time for homework, house chores etc), but I got a really positive response from my two over this show. In particular, and I will review each episode, as an adult, I really liked the way that they handled certain subjects, such as separated parental relationships, peer pressure, etc – it’s always good to have TV that we can sit and watch as a family.
All in all, I think the writers, headed by the aptly named Debbie Moon have done a cracking job of creating something that shows there’s more to children’s genre TV than some of the poor attempts I’ve seen on Disney XD channel, or relying on Doctor Who. And best of all, we all three agreed - it doesn’t have “vampires that sparkle in the sunlight”!
Episode 1: Lone Wolf - this introduction to Maddy throws you in at the deep end. You first see her having to shepherd her transformed wolf parents back into the house during a full moon. This first episode sets out the landscape – Maddy’s friends (and ‘frenemies’), her everyday school-life, the rules to being a Wolfblood, and then arrival of the mysterious boy, Rhydian, an orphan who comes to her school with a troubled life in various foster care homes.
Episode 2: Mysterious Developments – Shannon, Maddy’s geeky academic friend and head of the photography & wildlife society, is convinced the woods are being stalked by a ‘beast.’ She eventually gets a digital image of something, and this story centres around who, or what, she has photographed. Maddy also discovers more about what will happen to her as she approaches her time of transforming, and that there’s a bigger world to the Wolfblood outside just her immediate family, than she first thought – and not all of it is benign.
Episode 3: Family Ties - our favourite episode to date, this episode should really be entitled “Everybody Has Daddy Issues;” following a special exhibition of art put on by the school specifically for a parents’ evening, the exhibits are all cruelly vandalised over the weekend, and everyone in Maddy’s circle becomes a very credible suspect. This episode is very much a ‘whodunnit,’ and I was pleased to see that it was sufficiently sophisticated enough to keep the children guessing until the end.
Episode 4: Cry Wolf – it’s mid-term exam time, and despite all the revision work that Maddy has been putting in, it looks like the exams are going to clash with her first ever transformation into a wolf. It’s a particularly difficult time for her, and she seems to be pushing her friends away. As a result, some of her other classmates come up with a scheme that just might see them cheat their way through the exams. And to make things worse, following an incident with a fire in one of the chemistry labs, it might just be that one of her friends has seen Maddy beginning to transform…
GS Rating: 4/5
GS Reporter: SilverFox