Teen Wolf is a show on MTV. That statement alone is enough to steer some clear away from it. Because as we all know, MTV has a track record of developing some of the worse shows on television. I’m talking mind numbingly bad. But aside from it’s first season in which the show struggled to find itself and its audience, Teen Wolf has managed to become one of the best shows in its genre on television. The is far better than what it should be, which makes it a shame that so many fans of the genre it embraces have avoided watching it due to MTV’s known past with drama based television shows. But despite being overlooked by many, the show has gained a huge following over social media. And despite the odds, the show is actually good. Far better than you can imagine, actually.

So let’s look at five reasons to watch Teen Wolf and join the growing wolfpack.

5. The show drastically improves

Teen Wolf starts off just like you’d expect from MTV, with over the top acting and cardboard characters. The first season was a complete mess storywise as well, and could have been condensed to six episodes with the filler removed. There just isn’t enough interesting story arcs  happening to justify its running time. Plagued with incredibly lazy writing and whinny, unlikable characters, the first season is a chore to binge through. I’d recommend just reading about it online to catch up instead of actually sitting through it, but a few moments from it involving certain characters transfer over to the next few seasons. But once you’re out of the dark times, the show evolves in to something watchable before turning in to an actual great show by it’s third season.

After a rough start, the show finds itself and its audience and adjust the tone and characters to fit. Long gone are the moments of cringe worthy dialog and acting. Better writing, a darker tone, believable acting, and improved effects reboot the series in a better direction. The show embraces its darker side and allows itself to become scarier and darker than before. By the third season, the show resembles nothing from its rocky beginning, and becomes an enjoyable treat to watch. The first season definitely has a lot of issues, but the show grows in to a show well worth investing in to for supernatural genre fans.

4. The characters evolve

As stated above, the characters were originally stereotypical cardboard cutouts that could borderline on unlikable at times. Scott, the main character, was weak and whinny in the first season. But despite his introduction, he is more confident by the time the second season picks up. He eventually grows in to a character worthy of being the main focus of the show as he becomes more of a leader later on. Scott’s complicated relationship with his girlfriend, Allison, and her family of were wolf hunters breath life in to the early seasons of the show. His later relationships with friends and former enemies show off how far he has come from his days of worrying about being an awkward nerd.

Each character grows over time from their experiences, and it shows in them moving forward. They actually grow to be incredibly likeable. So when they’re in danger, it’s easy to root for them to make it though to safety. Because the show is not afraid to kill them off.

3. The show is surprisingly violent

It would be awkward for a television show based on werewolves to not contain violence. But the amount of murder and gore in the show can sometimes feel a little surprising. Even the first season possessed a couple of bloody moments before the following seasons turned it up a notch. It never gets as gory as The Walking Dead, but bodies are ripped apart and blood is constantly flowing on the show. And it seems like the longer the show runs, the more gore the show tries to sneak in. So never for a second think that the show will not kill off teenage characters violently.

2. It doesn’t take itself too seriously

The best way to describe Teen Wolf is to compare it to Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It has the same campy feeling while also delivering horror in a similar way. While not accusing the show of being a rip off of Buffy, I can easily see the resemblance in the two shows that has helped both stand out on their own. There are things that happen in the show solely for style and goofiness that add on to the show more than playing everything straight forward. Scott, for example, has a funny habit of overdoing certain scenes for style purposes. A simple run with members of his pack is almost guaranteed to end with Scott arriving on the scene with a few flips and parkour movies that serve no other purpose other than to make him look incredibly badass. There are a lot of cheesy, stylized moments like that throughout the show, and it gives it an over the top feel to it that is welcomed by fans.

The show walks a fine line between cheesy and downright entertaining for how well it’s put together. And it’s definitely not afraid to make fun of itself. One of the characters move to London as a way for his character to be written off the show, and another character jokingly reference the film American Werewolf In London. It was a tongue in cheek, on the nose moment that only a show that doesn’t take itself seriously would have went for. In a genre filled with broody characters reflecting on how awful their lives are despite possessing the supernatural power they have, Teen Wolf decides to go the route of fun instead.

1. Werewolf fights! Werewolf fights galore!

If you decide to watch Teen Wolf for the young twenty-something actors playing teenagers who can’t keep their clothes on, then there is no judgement here. But the biggest reason to watch the show, even the first season, is for the werewolf fights. Ranging from elaborate and random, to vicious and bloody, the show is never short on wolf on wolf action. And it seems like they grow bloodier as the show goes on. That alone makes the show well worth viewing.

Teen Wolf is nowhere near the best show on television, but it is in fact great at what it does, which is attempt to be unique in an oversaturated genre. It’s not a show I’d recommend to watch on television weekly for new viewers, but it is perfect for binge watching if you’re searching for something to turn your brain off to while relaxing. The character development and wolf fights will keep newer viewers entertained, and the tone and feel of it will  give some of its older newcomers from the Buffy era nostalgia. It’s definitely worth howling about. I know, bad pun. sorry.