There are some shows that were cancelled well before they had a decent shot. In an era of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Wolf Lake was the little “werewolf”show that was abandoned by CBS for poor ratings. After being cancelled by CBS, the show briefly aired it’s final episodes on UPN but was quickly forgotten. Officer John Kanin (Lou Diamond Phillips) comes to Wolf Lake, WA after the disappearance of his girlfriend Ruby (Mia Kirschner). With no leads and no where to go, Kanin discovers a few clues that indicate Ruby might be closer than he thinks. He abandons his job and plans to stay in town searching for her indefinitely. The town keeps their mouths shut, leading Kanin to believe that the town is run by a cult. What he doesn’t realize is that Wolf Lake is almost entirely populated by Skinwalkers. Pack matters go a bit crazy when it is discovered that the old pack leader, Willard Cates (Bruce McGill) is dying of cancer. A rival packmate, Tyler Creed (Scott Bairstow) is already sleeping with Cates wife, Vivian (Sharon Lawrence) while trying all the while to convince Cates’ daughter Ruby to marry him. Kept locked up by the Cates family, Ruby is desperate to escape and find John Kanin before he finds out too much and becomes a liability to be removed.
One of my favorite side plots in the show involves a very young and adorable Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the bookish Sophia Donner. Not sure whether she will take after her father and become a skinwalker or her mother and be a regular human, she falls under the spell of Luke Cates, played by a super young Paul Wesley. He offers to help her with her first changes, offering to involve sex to pick it up. Sophia is headed to Florence, Italy for a study abroad program if she doesn’t shift and her father is insistent on keeping them apart. Think what Twilight might have been. Rather than let hi push her around Sophia makes sure to take her life into her own hands.
Graham Greene is possibly the funniest character on the show. Centuries older than the other residents, he doesn’t take flack and spends most of his time trying to make other people laugh. He has a wondering eye and a sarcastic nature, not to mention the tendency to embellish most of his stories.
The show covers all sorts of modern topics, including the concept of rape and reputation. To the show’s credit, rather than ignore the testimony of the woman in question, the pack leader seeks out the rapist and deals with him according to pack law. Suffice it to say, the rapist doesn’t get away with it. This show was done in 2001, far before our modern fights to encourage rape prevention and victims’ rights.
Wolf Lake is not a perfect show, but with a few edits the show could have been a fan favorite. With only one season, the show is easy to powerwatch in a weekend and fairly inexpensive to pick up. Sadly, the show will leave you with more questions than answers due to its premature death and that leaves certain characters appearing to be villains, just when they may have shifted into heroes.
Wolf Lake is available on Amazon.