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Bitten TV Review

Laura Vandervoort, Paul Greene and Greyston Holt in Bitten. Photo: SyFy
Laura Vandervoort, Paul Greene and Greyston Holt in Bitten.
Photo: SyFy

The Show: Bitten

Where: SyFy Channel

When: Monday Nights

BITTEN TV REVIEW

Part Being Human and part Blood and Chocolate, Bitten is a real treat for fans of urban fantasy (though I’m not sure anyone outside of this genre will feel compelled enough to tune in). I went into the show not knowing exactly what to expect (aiming to keep it separate from the book series) but I was pleasantly surprised by how engrossing the pilot actually turned out to be in spite of its flaws.

Bitten tells the story of Elena who has chosen to live away from her werewolf pack but gets called back to her home when a girl ends up murdered by an unknown wolf. They need her to be the tracker so she can help find the killer. Thing is, Elena doesn’t want to go back. First off, she clearly doesn’t want to see her ex-boyfriend and second of all, she has made a normal life with a nice boyfriend that includes a nice family (excepting the judgmental mother) all wrapped up in a neat little bow (boyfriend’s sister is even her best friend). What is great about this setup, much like Being Human, is that there is no origin story. Elena is already a werewolf, a werewolf who hates what she is. And who can blame her? The transformations she makes into a wolf look horrible and painful. Not to mention, that when she avoids turning, the wolf controls her more than she controls it. I like that the story can just focus on characterization rather than on her slowly turning into a monster. She already is a monster and dealing with it in her romantic and family life.

The premise itself is intriguing, including the mysterious killer and the question behind his motives and connections to the werewolf pack. Does this story need more development? Yes but I think that will come in the later episodes. Characterization, outside of Elena, also needs more focus. I don’t understand the male wolves very much just yet although I think they were cast perfectly. Nevertheless, the biggest issue for me was the boyfriend Philip. He was about as exciting as cardboard. The opening sequence of them having sex was just eye rolling and unnecessary (a scene just to prove they could rather than because the story needed it). Also, I HATE when a couple starts out together in a show 90% of the time because I like build up. Only time will tell if this relationship (outside of Elena’s desire for normalcy) becomes more interesting. Right now, he bores me. Hopefully, her ex turns out to be more compelling than “the boyfriend.”

The characterization that worked best was Elena and since she is the protagonist, I understand why at this point, she is the only character we really got to know on a deeper level. Laura Vandervoort plays the part with likeability and believability. She makes for a strong lead and I am intrigued to see where the character goes next now that she has returned home. I’m looking forward to how this new dynamic will develop in the next episode.

The writing, while a little lacking in some of the development of the characters, was well done for the most part. The dialogue didn’t feel clunky and contrived which has been a sort of issue I’ve noticed lately (Intelligence being one example). The story was also entertaining despite a particular need for some humor. A little wit would go a long way in improving this promising open. For example, part of the reason both Being Human (UK especially) and Lost Girl stand out in the crowd is not only for their excellent work with characters but because the writing also knows when to have a little fun.

Overall Impression

While nothing new is achieved in Bitten, fans of urban fantasy will likely get swept away and be intrigued enough to keep tuning in (I know I certainly am). Yes, the male characters need some work and it would also be nice if the show had more of a female presence outside of Elena; still, I enjoyed the show from beginning to end and look forward to how the story will continue to unfold.

NOTE: This show is TV MA with adult material. Also, there is more nudity in the Canadian version as opposed to the American version on the SyFy channel.

Overall Rating

Four Star Rating border

 “Hello Gorgeous.”

Romance Rating

Three heart rating border

“Happiness in marriage is entirely a

matter of chance.”

 

What did everyone else think of Bitten? Will you be tuning in? Sound off below…

 


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By on January 15th, 2014

About Autumn Topping

In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely blog and works as a YA Librarian.

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12 thoughts on “Bitten TV Review”

  1. There were a few little things that bothered me about this (the not quite natural looking wolves for one thing, especially when they’re running). However, I think the overall arc of the story could be really good and I loved the book Bitten so I’m curious and eager to see where they go with it.
    I also wish for more of a female presence but then I wished for that in the books too. Overall it certainly wasn’t bad for a pilot.

    Reply
    • The wolves thing I expected because it was low budget but yeah that definitely could have been better. Definitely not bad for a pilot. I personally hope the writers stray from the books and bring in some much needed female characters. Make it their own.

      Reply
  2. So I just had to watch this again (what a hardship) and I liked it even more the second time around, particularly the Clayton/Elena relationship. Even though we really didn’t see that much of it I thought it was very well thought out and played. For viewers who haven’t read the books they can wonder what it’s all about and for those of us who have we anticipate where it might be headed.
    I agree that it might be nice to see them stray from the books a bit, particularly in regards to female characters. Sometimes I have a hard time separating book and tv and appreciating them separately but I don’t think I’ll have a problem here.
    One last side note, did the actor who plays Phillip remind anyone else of Josh Dallas from Once Upon A Time (Charming). Especially in some of his facial expressions I thought “Wow they must be related”. Doesn’t look like they are (according to imdb anyway) but to me the resemblance sometimes is eerie.
    I know we had to spend a lot of time with Elena in the premiere but I’m looking forward to seeing some of the other characters get fleshed out as the series continues.

    Reply
    • I should watch it a second time! In regards to the books, I like it when TV series stay true to the spirit while making it their own (like adding in some original characters). The problem is when the show goes off on weird tangents like True Blood did, particularly after season 4. And I didn’t notice the Charming resemblance but I will pay attention next time I watch the show.

      Reply
      • True Blood was exactly what I was thinking of when I posted that about my ability to keep shows and books separate. It just got too nutty for me to continue watching after a while. And I don’t think I really ever got over a seemingly small change (to most) from the books in season 1.

        Reply
        • What was the change? I really had a major problem with all the annoying subplots and focus on nudity/sex than on actual stories and mysteries considering the show was based on a mystery series of books. I stayed awhile for Eric though until the show became too unbearable. I don’t mind when shows change if they are being true to the spirit (which I think True Blood lost early on). A good example for me is Road to Avonlea which created some of the best characters on television ever that weren’t in the books, including Hetty King.

          Reply
          • Bill killing the bartender instead of Eric in the first season. It was such a small thing but I thought it had a great deal to do with, for lack of a better term, humanizing Eric and making him someone to root for.

            And I wasn’t at all thrilled with the Bill becomes King thing either. But then I was always an Eric girl. LOL

            I agree with you. I don’t mind shows going away from the books as long as they true to the spirit of the series and True Blood definitely did not stay true.

          • I agree about that Bill choice. I do like that the show made Bill more romantic (until they completely ruined his character) but I also thought that particular choice was a mistake. It seems to me that Eric kept getting the short end of the stick unfortunately, a trend that has continued with the new showrunner going off about how the final season will be about Bill, Sookie, and Alcide. Just ridiculous.

            Yes, True Blood definitely lost any sense of the books’ true spirit. A pity. I think that show would have improved immensely if they got more female writers.

  3. Since it’s Elena’s story, you find out more about the other characters from her perspective and how they relate to her. I’m glad the first episode wasn’t an info dump about all the characters. Elena isolated herself from the rest of the characters, so with this format it would make sense for them not to be a focus so early on.

    Reply

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