The year was 2012. At the time, Teen Wolf was not the juggernaut hit that it would become, having just finished it’s first season. In fact, Molly and I were the only ones covering Teen Wolf at the time. First right here for SciFi4Me, and later for Reviews For Humans.
For some reason, the Internet Gods smiled down on us and we were invited out to the Teen Wolf set. A shocking and amazing adventure, that neither of us has really recovered from (you will never feel colder than upon returning to the Midwest from California in December).
One of the best things to come out of that trip, aside from being able to stand in close proximity to Jeff Davis’ beautiful face and torso, was meeting the wonderful and amazing Angela Harvey, writer for Teen Wolf and all around badass. Since the season is coming to a close, and I have been so bad at getting my recaps out, I decided to exploit our friendship for an interview.
But first, I had an errand to run.
Dustin Adair: Sorry about that, my boss had me go out and pick up her daughter, who had lost her car keys, and drive her to school. She’s 22.
Angela Harvey: Wow. Sounds like a Hollywood gig.
DA: HA!! And now she is pestering me to come pick her up form school. Doesn’t she know I have IMPORTANT FACEBOOK CHATS to do?
AH: Right? Also, 22. My boss makes her 14 year old take Uber.
DA: THAT is supes LA.
AH: Ha! So many things about LA are so LA
DA: So let’s get started. Can you tell me what your official job title at Teen Wolf and how long you have been there?
AH: My official title is Executive Story Editor. I started out as an assistant to one of the producers (Joe Genier) for seasons 1 & 2 before getting staffed as a writer in season 3.
DA: And how many episodes have you written?
AH: I’ve written five episodes so far
DA: And those are…? I know you did that super creepy Motel one last year.
AH: I did 305, 405, 407, 504 (I think) and 514. I don’t know them by title because the writer has long since moved on from the episode by the time Jeff gives it a title. The one on the school bus when we pretend Derek died was my first one. Omg I think I’m going to have to IMDb myself to remember the storylines of the rest.
DA: What is that writing room like? Does Jeff walk in and be like “Today we are introducing Were-Lemurs”? Does he outline the whole season for you guys before hand? How much story freedom do you get in the process?
AH: Ha! I’d love a were-meerkat.
The writers room is EXTREMELY collaborative. That’s partly why I can’t remember which episodes actually have my name on them. We all pitch ideas and Jeff signs off on the ones he likes and then we build on them together. Every outline is group-written and then the writer adds the dialogue and transitions.
Then Jeff does a final polish on every script. He usually has a very broad-strokes idea of what he wants the season to be. Primarily who our villains are and what journeys the characters should take. But how we use the villain or get the character arcs accomplished is very much a group effort.
DA: I can’t imagine the amount of research you guys have to do. I was a fairly nerdy kid (and teen… and adult) and I can tell you that its really cool how much real cryptozoology is presented in Teen Wolf. Except for maybe that nearly all of the creatures are fairly hairless hunks.
AH: Ha! We were talking about introducing a new character in 6A and one of the new writers said she thought he should be a little bit schlubby. The old school among us totes LOL’d
Thanks, though, on the research compliment. We do TONS. on mythology, medicine, law enforcement. I mean OBVIOUSLY we twist it all to suit our own ends but the research factors heavily
DA: I would 100% love a… say… schlubby theater geek with a biting sarcastic wit who carries around a book on Norse Mythology and a book of deadly poisons… I’m not saying that’s who I was in high school, I’m just saying…
AH: I feel like the book of deadly poisons would’ve gotten you expelled today.
DA: I can’t tell you how many scrapes knowing exactly how many tomato seeds I needed to make arsnc got me out of…
Anyway back to the interview: What was it like to write one of the more pivotal episodes to the season? 514 basically brought us full circle to the beginning of the season.
AH: I’m suddenly pretty happy this interview is online. Wouldn’t wanna say the wrong thing.
DA: …and I will be editing it heavily to make me look like a real interview type person
AH: I feel like we know each other well enough to know the were meerkat thing was in jest. But just in case…
DA: Oh, it stays. So, 514 brought us full circle; what was it like to have that responsibility?
AH: I expect a photoshopped rendering of the meerkat.
It was actually VERY fitting that it was my episode because the flash forward thing made me totally neurotic. All the other writers kept joking about how stressed out I was about bringing Malia’s Desert Wolf story full circle in time. I love that her experience was the only one shown through the eyes of another character. I loved that the moment joined who she was in the woods with who she is now.
I also LOVED the Lydia/Meredith storyline. The main characters of that episode were Lydia and Malia. I wrote. And a first time female director hit it out of the park. Our script supervisor Kate Eastridge.
DA: That is great, I have always thought that Teen Wolf had a real strength when it cam to creating complicated, interesting female characters. I mean, Allison, obviously, but Lydia has always been a favorite of mine, especially after she was brought into the main storyline. I used to joke that Lydia thought she was on Pretty Little Liars for the first 3 seasons.
AH:I remember! I saw those tweets. Haha
DA: And when Meredith was introduced was a real win. I find it very interesting the while all the other supernaturals have some sort of mentor to help them, banshees don’t because they tend to go insane while learning to use their powers.
AH: Such a terrifying prospect. But then the very nature of their powers is terrifying.
DA: Yes, it is. It reminds me of the first 5 minutes of Every Law & Order Ever when some poor schmoe stumbles upon a body. Was the fact that Lydia seemed to be that character in season 1 & 2 what lead to her becoming a Banshee, or was that always the plan?
AH: I think “plan” is a strong word. I believe Jeff knew he wanted her to be immune to the bite. Why she was immune was a different question. But Holland’s amazing performances in those scenes really helped shape her character into who she is today.
DA: I can not wait for Ninja Banshee Lydia!! Can you give me a little taste of what is in store?
AH: Much as I LOVE kickass Lydia (and I do) I think her greatest power is still her intellect. That’s all I say on that for now.
DA: I love the way all the characters have evolved over the course of the show. One of my favorite examples has to be the Styles/Lydia relationship. When Teen Wolf started, Styles had a stupid crush on her (he said love, but whateves) and Lydia barely tolerated him. As the show has gone on, that relationship has become very deep. Would you say Styles is still “in love” with Lydia, or is it something more akin to a sibling relationship now?
AH: That depends which writer you ask and when you ask them. Also, are you trying to get me online killed?!
There is literally no right answer to that question.
DA: Yeah, I have tumblr, I know the war has shifted away from Sterek to Stydia v Myles. I was hoping to get a little controversy.
AH: Ha! I can’t. I so can’t with controversy. But there’s probably enough to stir the pot in what I’ve already said.
Going into a meeting. Next response will be a while.
DA: OK, I only have a few more questions. This is the first season to break away from the 12 episode arc; was it hard to get into the 24 episode mindset?
AH: It wasn’t. We knew we wanted to break the pack apart and put it back together again. With the show being so firmly about friendship and the characters having such tight bonds, we knew we needed a lot of episode real estate to make that happen.
DA: My last few questions are quick fire “spoiler” questions. I am going to say a name, and you tell me what you think would be a great thing to happen to them. It doesn’t have to be real, just what you think would be fun. Okay?
AH: K. But remember when I joked about doing a season on Mars and replacing the Jeep with a VW van? I mean… You may get your controversy after all.
DA: Yes i do … Liam & Hayden.
AH: Next season on Teen Mom…
DA: Lydia & her mom.
AH: Mom marries a Greek billionaire. Lydia spends her days on a yacht telecommuting to Stanford Online and solving all remaining Millennium Prize Problems.
DA: Melissa McCall
AH: I just almost typed something that might happen in S6. Oops. Instead I’ll go with medical school (which let’s face it is a step down for her). And finding love again… I won’t say with whom.
DA: The Argents
AH: Death match in a cage. Chris is younger and smarter but Gerard will play dirty. Placing bets…
DA: F—ing Theo. Who I hate.
AH: Calvin Klein ads.
DA: The Dread Doctors
DA: And finally Scotty and Styles.
AH: The Vision
DA: Yokay. Thanks so much, Angela this was really fun.
AH: It was fun! Can’t wait to see how crazy I sound when it all comes together.
DA: Me too! I bet you sound NUTS.
AH: Per usual.