With the Teen Wolf series finale quickly approaching, I’ve been reflecting on how exactly this show snuck into my heart. It had literally everything against it. I can’t handle gore, so I watch most of it through my fingers. I’m not super into romance, so the Scott/Allison storyline (while sweet) wasn’t what grabbed me and refused to let go.
Then it hit me. Teen Wolf does characters better than just about any show I’ve seen. It churns them out, season after season, and somehow forces me to make a little more room (or a lot more room) in my heart for new characters, even when they’re stepping into shoes that are 1,000% irreplaceable. Strong arguments can be made to include pretty much every Teen Wolf character ever on this list, so…
Before I get started, let me please emphasize: these are MY PERSONAL top 10 favorite Teen Wolf characters. I’m not saying they’re the objective, definitive best. I’m not even saying I won’t change my mind tomorrow. I’m just saying, as of this moment, these characters mean something especially special to me.
I should also probably explain: this was a quick list of my first gut reactions. It wasn’t until I got to the end that I realized a few very important characters had slipped through the cracks. Let me be clear: I absolutely ADORE Malia, Derek, and the Teen Wolf himself Scott McCall, so let me take a moment to ponder why other characters popped into my head first.
To be fair, Malia did pop into my head. Over and over. I kept telling myself, “Nah, I’ll put her higher on the list.” Then came the impossible decision. I realized it was time for Malia… or another character. This other character happened to be more relatable to me personally. After that, my top choices were so cemented that there just wasn’t any going back. Still. I ❤ Malia!
I can hear people storming out of this post already, and I agree! A strong argument can be made to put Derek in the top 5, the top 3, even the very top slot. He’s grown SO MUCH over the series. Unfortunately, I think since he’s been away the last couple of seasons he just didn’t pop until my mind until it was too late. I thought about giving him the Honorable Mention, but that felt even worse. Derek is a list to himself. That’s what I’m going with. He is too good for this list. Alpha OUT!
This one is the hardest for me. Scott McCall is the glue that holds this show together. He believes in people, brings out the best in them. He’s everything I could ever want in a series lead, but (like most leads) I think sometimes that makes him easier to take for granted. Seriously, though. Would Stiles be as funny if he didn’t have Scott? Would my sweet baby Liam exist? Would Allison’s death have ripped my heart out? No, No, and NO! (Okay, probably still yes to that last one) Like any leader, I think Scott can be judged by the quality of his people, so basically this whole list is his. He’s represented in every line of this entire post.
But enough assuaging of my guilty conscience. Let’s dive into this thing.
Honorable Mention: Corey Bryant
I’m not going to lie. I had to Google this dude’s last name. If I’d made this list last season, Corey wouldn’t have even blipped on my radar, but the strangest thing has happened over the first three episodes of 6B. Corey has become an actual character, not just Mason’s love interest or one of Theo’s minions. He’s a little insecure, not the best at school, and just the sweetest little oaf. He makes me laugh, and I like him.
I’ve given Corey the honorable mention because I feel this is tangible proof of what I’ve been saying all along: “Teen Wolf: the New Class” is not as awful as some people think. If Liam, Hayden, Corey, and Mason had been given as much screen time to breath and grow as Scott, Allison, Lydia, and Stiles (instead of directly competing against them), I think we’d all love them just as much. Now that they’ve been around a while, we’re starting to see the proof of it!
Braeden is another character whose last name I don’t know. Or maybe Braeden is her last name? Don’t care. When she first arrived and saved Isaac (for which I’m forever grateful), I was super excited to see what she’d bring to the show. Then she died, and I was bummed. Except she didn’t die! Not only did she not die, she turned out to be just as amazing as I’d hoped, AND she dated Derek without trying to kill him. Bonus points.
9 ¾ Coach Bobby Finstock (a.k.a. Cupcake)
Shortly after this list was originally published, I realized I’d made a grievous omission. Coach Finstock has always been one of the most consistently hilarious characters on Teen Wolf. Despite all the yelling and jokes at their expense, there’s also never been any doubt that he cared about his team. Deeply. I’m pretty sure that’s the only thing that’s kept him from fleeing Beacon Hills High School and its 98% teacher death rate. Even though he can’t always be bothered to remember Liam’s name, he didn’t hesitate to step between my sweet baby wolf and the angry, senseless mob wailing on him during last night’s double episode. For that alone, Coach will forever be MVP in my book.
9. Kira Yukimura
This is probably also going to be a polarizing choice, especially since this was almost Malia’s spot. The thing about Malia is she’s so confident and tough and says what she thinks the second she thinks it, whereas Kira is the nerdy awkward person who eats lunch with her dad. For me, that’s more relatable, only with a heaping pile of wish fulfillment on top (those sword skills, am I right?) Plus, I love Kira’s family, her culture and mythology, and her powers! If I’m being honest, she probably has some of the coolest abilities on the show (even if I’m still mad she didn’t electrify that Berserker chain back in Season 4).
8. Melissa McCall
Even without superpowers this woman is one of the toughest people on Teen Wolf all of TV. Maybe it’s because I can’t handle blood or gore or bodily fluids of any kind, but this lady amazes me episode after episode. On top of this, she gives the best motivational speeches. “Be your own anchor.” Need I say more?
7. Isaac Lahey
In his life, Isaac has shouldered a lot of loss and pain, so for me there’s one Isaac moment that really stands out: when he realized, as a werewolf, he could take away other people’s pain. Deep down, I think that’s all he ever wanted. To feel empowered enough to help. Even when he was hunting down Lydia as part of Derek’s pack, it came from a place of wanting to stop something big and scary from being the worst kind of bully. This thing murdered his father, so it could be argued vengeance drove him too – but, if so, he was seeking to avenge a man who terrified him. Despite his own pain, Isaac saw how broken his father was and forgave him. That’s a strength that goes beyond fangs and claws. When Isaac showed up at that lacrosse game, it wasn’t in spite of his fear. It was because of it. He knew what it was to be afraid, and he wasn’t going to leave someone else to deal with that alone.
6. Theo Raeken
EDIT: I’ve promoted Theo from #9 to #6 based on the first half of 6B, and I’m not even promising I won’t promote him again. It looks like he’s FINALLY turned things around and joined the Pack, and I am THERE FOR IT!
Oh boy, can I hear the outcry about this. “Derek didn’t make the list, but this little piece of garbage did??” I can’t disagree that Theo has done terrible, awful things. To characters I love. Characters on this list! But here’s the thing. There’s still so much we don’t know about him. For starters: is Theo even his real name?? I always got the impression he was just impersonating Scott’s childhood friend to gain the Pack’s trust (remember when he smashed that one guy’s hand for not being able to forge Theo’s dad’s signature?), so WHO EVEN IS THEO?
If he’s the real Theo, did the Dread Doctors kill his parents and kidnap he and his sister? Speaking of his sister, was he really responsible for her death? I mean, he was only nine (?) and not a Chimera yet, so how exactly did he overpower her? Did he trick her into going to the river and the Dread Doctors did the dirty work? If so, did he know what they had planned? And if all the Dread Doctors wanted was to make a successful Chimera, why not just pull a heart switcharoo and put Theo’s heart into his sister? That’s just math. There had to be SOMETHING else going on here.
More importantly, was Scott’s pack Theo’s first (possibly only?) experience in years with people who cared about him? For a decade of his formative years, did he go to sleep every night listening to people being tortured and killed (except for the nights HE was being tortured and experimented on?) Did he only want his own pack so he could defeat the Dread Doctors and stop them from doing to other people what they’d done to him? Did he feel like however many people he had to manipulate, hurt, and kill, he’d still be saving lives verses allowing the Dread Doctors to continue their experiments over the course of their (presumably) immortal lives? Or did he have a severe case of Stockholm syndrome, which he’s only just now starting to question?
The truth is we’ll probably never know, but the fact that I’m invested enough to ask these questions means Theo (if that’s his real name) has thoroughly earned his spot in my personal top 10.
5. Allison Argent
There’s a reason Scott, Lydia, and Jackson immediately liked Allison, and it wasn’t just TV necessity. Allison’s a year behind in school because her family moves around so much. You’d think, after leaving friends behind time and again, she’d wall up her heart and stick to herself. Instead, she bonds with Lydia and somehow manages to bring out the best in her. She falls for Scott and helps piece his post-werewolf-bite life back together. Her life gets blown up over and over, first when she discovers the supernatural, then when her sister-figure Kate dies, then her mom, but she doesn’t roll over. She learns to fight so she can protect the people she loves. When her grief drives her to uncharacteristic actions, she shows her father exactly how dangerous his family’s prejudices are. Together, they forge a new code: We protect those who cannot protect themselves. In the end, she was just as willing as her mom to give her life, but she did it like she did everything else. Her way.
4. Jordan Parrish
When Parrish first showed up, I adored him. Absolutely adored. I adored him so much I worried he was too good to be true. I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall. Clearly, he had to be a serial killer “drawn” to Beacon Hills because, let’s be real, no one’s going to notice a few extra bodies in that town. Except… he wasn’t? Which duh. Obviously, he was working with Kate to infiltrate the Pack and kill them all. Wrong again? Hmm, okay, maybe he wasn’t evil. Maybe he’d have to nobly sacrifice himself to defeat the Beast of Gévaudan? The Ghost Riders? No??? Despite all odds, Parrish is still alive – and NOT EVIL! And I adore him more every time he shows up on screen.
3. Lydia Martin
As far as character development goes, Lydia Martin is off the charts. I mean, could we really expect anything else? She’s got an IQ over 170, confidence for days, and the ability to smash skulls with her screams. But the thing that really sets her apart is, as Stiles notes, “somewhere inside that cold, lifeless exterior there’s an actual human soul.” She sets impossible standards for herself because settling for less means people get hurt. Sometimes, people still get hurt. And she gets hurt. A lot. But no matter how many times she gets knocked down, Lydia always stands back up and flashes that perfect-shade-of-lipstick smile. She’s such a survivor, and I’ll never stop rooting for her.
2. Stiles Stilinski
I don’t even know where to start. Stiles may be one of the greatest characters in television history. Like Melissa, he doesn’t have superpowers. He doesn’t need them. He’s got his baseball bat, a detective’s brain, and a heart the size of that canyon Scott leaps across from time to time. He’s so irreplaceable the Wild Hunt couldn’t even erase him, and they’ve been at this for CENTURIES! Bottom line: don’t mess with Stiles, and definitely don’t mess with the people he cares about.
1. Liam Dunbar
This one is going to be controversial, so please remember: these are my first gut reactions, and nothing gets me on the edge of my seat faster than Liam in peril. When I first heard Scott was getting a beta, I was skeptical, which just goes to show how foolish it is to judge someone before meeting them. After the trauma of losing Allison, Liam reminded me why I fell in love with Season 1. This show puts characters in insane, impossible situations, and Liam was there to remind everyone just how crazy everything was. As a member of the audience, I might’ve gotten a little jaded… until Liam smacked me upside the head and reminded me, “THIS IS NOT NORMAL!” Unlike battle-tested Scott, Lydia, and Stiles, Liam is a scared, confused little rage monster, but who wasn’t as a teenager? Sometimes, he wimps out or falls into holes. Dude isn’t perfect. But he comes through in the end, and I love him for it.
Who are YOUR top 10 favorite Teen Wolf characters? Let me know in the comments!