If you’re a fan of MTV’s Teen Wolf, you might have noticed something subtly off about werewolf appearance this summer season.
Is it Kali’s insane toenails? No, those are mean-looking villain feet. Is it Deucalion’s demonic transformation? Nope, once was enough, thanks! I’ll give you a hint: every werewolf who’s taken an innocent life has to see these baby blues in a mirror. And this summer, it’s different.
Creature design has changed subtlety but considerably over the course of Teen Wolf’s triumphant three seasons. Some of those brought improvement: Peter Hale’s embarrassing alpha-beast CGI in season one was succeeded by an excellent combination of make-up effects and graphics for the Kanima. The facial prosthetic for werewolves changed, and in season three the characters abstained from the facial shift almost entirely as an indication of their respective control over their abilities. When they do flash the fang, characters like now have a whole mouthful of predatory chompers instead of two measly incisors; if some crazy buff guy turned around and ran at me with those teeth I’d shriek and probably get religion.
All is not classy horror homages in Beacon Hills, however. In one crucial area, the artistic design staff for Teen Wolf have made a baffling choice that’s been bugged me all season: neon day-glow eyes. The red and gold eyes of werewolves remain more or less the same, but for some reason they chose a different hue of beta-wolf blue for Peter and Derek. This is particularly noticeable in episode 3×08, “Visionary”, where we learn the meaning of blue vs. gold. In season 1 and 2, beta werewolves who had killed an innocent had icy, cyan-blue eye color that basically looked like they’d been standing too long next to the Tesseract from the Avengers film. It was looked cool. Better, it looked powerful.
Then in season 3, the CGI effects change, and we get the Fern Gully upgrade:
Every time I saw the fake-y-fake blue eyes this season, it pulled me out of the dramatic moment. The change may seem inconsequential, but details are everything when you build a fantasy world and invite viewers to see it as plausible. Since most of the dramatic events centered around Derek Hale this season, you couldn’t get away from it. Here’s a side by side comparison of Derek in season one and Derek in season 3…
Visual consistency is a pet peeve of this fan, and television can be held to the same standard as any other artistic effort. When the central image of a shot focuses heavily on a single detail, as Teen Wolf so often relies on the super-powered eyes of its monsters, a small change can have a huge consequence. Production decides whether the audience will see a hero that looks bad ass and mystical, or whether they’ll see an actor with overwrought special effects.
If you enjoyed these images, they were originally posted at my Tumblr, which has been utterly consumed by Teen Wolf these days.
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