Tuesday, December 15, 2009

MTV reaches back to the past----but not where you think

MTV's current schedule is chock-full of reality shows and short on music video content, the latter usually buried in morning drive time. Over the years, the channel has also had rerun rights to shows as diverse as Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Monkees, and The Best of Saturday Night Live. They even provided a secondary home to a syndicated drama from the 90's, Catwalk, about a struggling band trying to make it, trying to posit the series as their answer to Fox's The Heights. Both series had short shelf-lives, though.

As a means of trying to re-attract the viewers they've lost with their obsession with reality programming, MTV is reaching into its glory years of the 80's----by commissioning a pilot for a series based on "Teen Wolf".

You might remember "Teen Wolf". It was one of a string of movies that Michael J. Fox made outside of the "Back to the Future" franchise. Some were good, some not so much. The original "Wolf" spawned a Saturday morning cartoon as well as a theatrical sequel, "Teen Wolf Too", which had Jason Bateman (recently in "Extract") replacing Fox as the lead. What better way, then, to mark the 25th anniversary of "Wolf" by creating a live-action series. You know there will be a special edition DVD of the original movie released next year, even if it hasn't officially been announced (give them time). Tyler Posey (Brothers & Sisters) has been cast in the lead for the pilot, but it's clear what the other motivation is behind this project. MTV wants its share of the "Twilight" pie.

The marketing suits' reasoning has to be that, to paraphrase Samantha Fox (no relation to Michael) from over 20 years ago, even werewolves need love, too. The emphasis in the "Twilight" series is the same as it was on Buffy the Vampire Slayer a few years back. Mortal girl has the hots for a hunky, young-looking vampire, but unlike Buffy, there's also a werewolf in the mix, creating a most unique love triangle. In "Teen Wolf", the title hero not only gains lycanthropic powers, but becomes a chick magnet at the same time. See what I'm getting at?

There's no exact timetable for when MTV will put "Wolf" on the air, but if I'd venture a guess, it might be around the time "New Moon" is released on DVD and/or Benicio Del Toro's take on "The Wolf Man" hits theatres, whichever comes first. Knowing MTV, they'll play "Wolf" into the ground like everything else, because they can't be content with airing it in just one time slot. That's their idea of heavy rotation these days.

It's just too bad they couldn't think outside the box and reimagine "Wolf" with a female lead. It'd be something different, but then MTV wouldn't get much love from the critics for doing that. Then again, MTV doesn't get much love nowadays anyway. It's like Paul Simon said some 40 years ago, if you're an MTV suit. Any way you look at it, you lose.

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