Buffy Is Back in Werewolf Thriller ‘Wolf Pack’

New episodes of 'Wolf Pack' stream Thursdays on Paramount+

Let the fur fly

When Teen Wolf creator Jeff Davis heard that the studio behind his new series Wolf Pack wanted Sarah Michelle Gellar to headline the show, Davis’s gut reaction was: Never gonna happen. “The next day, I was getting a call from her agent, saying Sarah wanted to meet over Zoom. I was like, ‘Oh s***, really?’ ” Davis recalls. “It gives me chills, because we’ve got Sarah Michelle Gellar in a horror show again, which hasn’t happened for awhile.”  

Davis’s first instinct was not far off. Having risen to fame as Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the late ’90s, Gellar was wary of the teen horror genre. “I have been pitched 2,000 of these,” says the actress. “Honestly, at first, I had no intention of saying ‘Yes.’ But I read the script, and it was the first time where my interest was so piqued.” Additionally, the opportunity to work for a streamer presented Gellar with a welcome professional challenge. “Because streaming is still the Wild Wild West, I was able to say, these are the things that I haven’t got the chance to do, and these are the things that I want to do better. And really, playing those themes that Jeff wanted to go with—everything spoke to me about what Jeff wanted to say.” 

Wolf PackParamount+Ironically, it wasn’t how much the script differed from Buffy that fascinated Gellar, but the similarities between the two shows. “One of the beauties of Buffy was the metaphorical aspect of it. We were using real monsters as metaphors for the horror of high school. For me, that’s what made the show so important, and why it still stands the test of time,” Gellar reflects. “When I read the script, and spoke with Jeff about the issues that he wanted to speak about—mainly anxiety and depression among children and the lack of connectivity that the youth has today—I thought, ‘What a great allegory to use these horrors to speak about the horrors that we are facing now.’ ” 

Wolf PackParamount+Gellar (who also executive produces) stars as Kristin Ramsey, chief arson investigator for the LAFD. “She works in liaison with the LAPD, and while she seems like a really tough, hard person to crack, there’s something else beneath,” says Gellar. “There’s a real reason why she is there.” Gellar is joined by Rodrigo Santoro (300), who plays park ranger Garrett Briggs, single father of teens Harlan and Luna, played by Tyler Lawrence Gray and Chloe Rose Robertson. “This is a man of strong values, someone with dark secrets, and deep suspicion especially towards anyone questioning the relationship with his kids. He is a protector,” says Santoro. “I discovered that there’s three pillars to a park ranger: They’re law enforcement people, but they could be environmental experts, or even a historian. I think Garrett is a combination of the three.” 

Wolf PackParamount+The series is based on the young adult book series by Canadian Edo van Belkom, but Davis was eager to make the TV adaptation slightly more mature than the source material. “One of the biggest things we have done is edge things up. This is a far more adult story, which is one thing I wanted to do after Teen Wolf,” he says. For Davis, it was also an opportunity to explore diversity, in a way that differs from basic cable. “You can explore more adult themes,” he explains. “Tyler’s character is gay and he is a very sexual character. I told Tyler, when he was going to play the character, there would be some pretty explicit scenes, which he said he was absolutely ready for. Will & Grace did a great job of showing the world any character can be your best friend. I am not interested in showing any more best friends. The gay characters on this show will have romances every bit as important as the straight characters. So I am very happy to be able to do that on streaming, tell a little bit racier stories—but, of course, under the auspices of an intimacy coordinator.” 

Wolf PackParamount+Although Davis did not think he would be producing a show about teenage werewolves so soon after his previous series, the showrunner is very enthusiastic about the opportunities presented by his latest Wolf Pack. “I have to tell you, it is a joy to be working with both new actors and veteran actors like Sarah and Rodrigo,” he says. “One of my fears about working with established actors is that you get not just the actor but the celebrity. I worry that I am not going to be working with good people or working with people who are difficult. Rodrigo and Sarah are amazing. It is almost ridiculous how much fun we are having.”  

New episodes of Wolf Pack stream Thursdays on Paramount+