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.
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.
“Happiness in marriage is entirely a
matter of chance.”
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