The series has generated a generally positive response from professional critics, with some praising it as better quality when compared to other shows by MTV. According to Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the show holds an average score of 61 out of 100, which indicates “Generally favorable reviews”, based on fourteen reviews. Metacritic also lists the show as the second-highest rated MTV series by professional critics behind Awkward. Linda Stasi, a writer from the New York Post, awarded the series’ premiere a perfect score, stating, “Not only is it really well thought out, but the good-looking kids in the show can actually act.” Verne Gay from Newsday also reserved high praise for the show, calling it a “winner and best of all, fun.” David Hinckley of New York Daily News commented favorably on the series, ending his review with “Werewolves, pretty girls, dumb bullies and lacrosse. What more, really, could you ask of high school?”
Some critics had a less positive reaction toward the first episode. Troy Patterson from Slate gave it a mixed review, referring to it as “light and passably witty supernatural drama.” James Poniewozik from Time magazine also had mixed feelings towards the show, saying, “The pilot isn’t bad, exactly—it’s well-paced if a little dour in spots and there’s some decent CW-esque banter—but it’s pretty much entirely what I would have expected from any supernatural teen drama”.
Following the first season finale in August 2011, Ian Grey of indieWire gave the series a positive review and Angel Cohn of Television Without Pity named it the third best new show of the summer. BuddyTV ranked Teen Wolf #4 on its list of 2011’s best new TV shows.
The series’ premiere attracted a total of 2.17 million viewers. After airing its third episode, Teen Wolf was reported to be heading into its fourth week with tremendous momentum following a 23% increase among persons 12–34, with a 1.6 in the demo. With double digit percentage gains among total viewers and key demos, Teen Wolf was the #1 show in its timeslot with women 12–34. The first season finale attained a series high in persons 12–34 (1.9) and 2.1 million viewers overall, as well as being first in its timeslot among teens and females 12–34.