Two of summer’s hottest shows are back this month with more excitement than ever. ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars began airing its fifth season on June 10, while MTV’s Teen Wolf comes back tonight, and the return of both shows will kick off another summer of fun, sexy teen TV. While the girls of Rosewood bring the suspense and mystery, the denizens of Beacon Hills bring the supernatural with a healthy bit of horror… and, of course, both shows bring a boatload of fans along with them.
But which show has the most passionate fan base? We’ve broken it down into key categories to help decide once and for all.
Tough round to call! Both shows are swimming in romantic relationships that leave the fans desperate for more. Pretty Little Liars fans swoon for Aria (Lucy Hale) and Ezra, Emily (Shay Mitchell) and Maya, and Emily and Alison, with “Emison” ending up as a trending topic on Twitter almost daily during the last PLL hiatus. Still, not to be outdone, Teen Wolf‘s Allison (Crystal Reed) and Scott (Tyler Posey) saw a tragic end to their love story at the end of Season 3, balanced out by Danny (Keahu Kahuanui) and Ethan, and, of course, the-not-exactly-on-screen-but-the-fans-keep-hoping-for-it fantasy pairing of Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) and Derek (Tyler Hoechlin).
While the Twitter trend is pretty impressive, Hoechlin and O’Brien clinch the win in this category for Teen Wolf with this video, breaking the fourth wall to play up their characters’ affections in order to solicit votes for the Teen Choice Awards.
Point: Teen Wolf
Pretty Little Liars and Teen Wolf have both been nominated for a slew of awards over the last few years, primarily the kind of awards where fans get to decide the winners. The shows have never gone head-to-head at the Teen Choice Awards, with Teen Wolf eligible in the Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi category, while Pretty Little Liars tends to stay in the Best Drama category. While both fandoms have done a great job of mustering up the vote, thus far, Teen Wolf has only scraped up two victories in 2012, going home with Choice Summer Star for Tyler Posey and Choice Summer Show. Pretty Little Liars, on the other hand, has swept the TV categories with wins in Choice TV Actress, Actor, Villain and Show in 2011, 2012 and 2013 — not to mention their victory at the People’s Choice Awards in 2012 over notable heavy-hitters Game of Thrones, Dexter and True Blood. Their fans rally to make their passion heard when it comes to audience award shows.
Point: Pretty Little Liars
However, we can’t overlook the lengths fans will go to in order to create opportunities to hang with their favorite cast members. While Pretty Little Liars has organized a handful of fan conventions and meet-and-greets overseas, the Teen Wolf cast is kept positively hopping with appearances at San Diego Comic Con, not to mention the fan-run BITEcon, Days of the Wolf, Wolf’s Bane, and AlphaCon. Fans from all over the world descend on various cities and pay for all-access passes, opportunities for pictures and to watch panels where the actors discuss everything from characters’ motivations to their taste in music to their opinions on fan fiction. Teen Wolf fans have shelled out some serious cash over the last three seasons and the actor appearances don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon!
Point: Teen Wolf
This is an easy victory for the girls from Rosewood. While the fans made last season’s summer finale the most-tweeted episode of television ever, the show’s entire cast — not to mention, the creator and multiple writers — are constantly active on their Twitter accounts, with live-tweets, question and answer sessions, and plenty of interaction with their fans. By contrast, Teen Wolf‘s social media is a little more subdued. The current cast members tend to get more active when the show returns from hiatus, but there are long dry spells in between, and after some harsh words from fans in 2012, creator Jeff Davis decided to delete his Twitter account entirely.
Point: Pretty Little Liars
Nothing mobilizes fans faster than a desire to make sure the cast and crew of their favorite show feel appreciated. After Maya (Bianca Lawson, who also appears on Teen Wolf as guidance counselor, Ms. Morrell) was killed off on Pretty Little Liars, the writers’ office received thousands of personalized pens, pleading to “write Maya back into the script.” The Teen Wolf fan group, Sterek Campaign, mobilized to send dozens of cookies with cast members’ faces frosted onto them as a thank you for all their hard work. While cookies may be more delicious than pens, both groups got impressively creative with this one. We can’t see a clear winner.
So, there you have it. Our very scientific analysis of fan activity has yielded a tie. Each show’s fans might show their love strongest in different arenas and come out swinging in their own unique ways, but it’s a comparable outpouring of love.