‘I never saw a wild thing feel sorry for itself…’ is a quote from author DH Lawrence that turns up in season 2 of Wolf Like Me, a comedy-drama-horror-teachable moment sitcom from NBC Universal and Peacock that deals with the inner animal inside all of us. Or inside some of us at least; series 1 saw Adelaide widower Gary (Josh Gad) and his daughter Emma fall for the charms of the mysterious Mary (Isla Fisher) who turned out to be a potentially deal-breaking werewolf. But howling at the moon and ripping people apart is no biggie, right? In 2023, we can be open minded about people’s pasts and move on, so what’s Gary’s problem? Series 1 ended with Mary demonstrating her killing ability on two threatening strangers in the outback, and Gary’s courageous decision to continue his relationship with Mary is the jumping off point for this seven-episode cycle, with most entries clocking in about the 20 minute mark.
The last detail is important; in the world of film and tv criticism, it’s generally not the done thing to admit making mistakes. But even through my initial review of the first season of Wolf Like Me was less than glowing, I was unexpectedly first in the queue to continue with Gary and Mary’s adventure; why? Writer/director Abe Forsythe’s odd little show is easy to consume in bite-sized chunks, with personable leads and a unique selling point; you’ll remember where you are with this shaggy-wolf story. And yes, while the tone remains deliberately uncertain and the lurches from parenting moments to full-on body horror still require adjustment, it’s this critic’s duty to up his original verdict, change the original star rating and place both seasons of Wolf Like Me firmly in the plusses column; it’s growing into an addictive show with a wild, entertaining premise.
So Gary is now fully cognisant of Mary’s condition, and they resolve to muddle through together; having moved to a new house, they miss the huge metal door (with viewing hole) that Gary previously used to view her transformations, and are horrified to find that it’s been repurposed as part of a local sex-dungeon. But getting that door back is only one of their problems; an old flame of Mary’s causes jealousy issues for Gary, and the cops are beginning to twig that Gary and Mary might have some connection to the mysterious murders they’re investigating. And with Mary now pregnant, timing the birth of her baby to avoid conflict with her full-moon transformation cycle promises to keep Gary and Mary’s calendar somewhat overstuffed with red-letter days…
If Twilight used Vampires and werewolves as a metaphor for puberty, Wolf Like Me seems to seek to address the animal within; so the thematic issue here is not quite sex, drugs, menstruation or anti-social urges, but all of these wild things together and more. So we return to Lawrence for another useful crib quote; ‘My great religion is a belief in the blood, the flesh, as being wiser than the intellect. We can go wrong in our minds. But what our blood feels and believes and says, is always true. The intellect is only a bit and a bridle.’
Wolf Like Me is a quirky, offbeat show that grows on you; binging an entire series takes roughly the same time as watching a film, and at least you do get plenty of character development for your time invested. There’s a strange emphasis on top-down GTA-style car action for reasons I can’t compute, but Gad throws off his Olaf/Frozen cuteness to make something of Gary’s frustration, while Fisher somehow grounds her character in reality despite the difficulty of portraying a sympathetic werewolf in a suburban situation. In short, Wolf Like Me may not be perfect, but if you like any of the wild and woolly ideas above, it might just be your next favourite show. Ask your doctor and find out if Season 2 of Wolf Like Me might be right for you.
All seven episodes of WOLF LIKE ME premiered on Peacock from October 19, 2023.