Werewolves. You’ve seen one you’ve seen them all right? Wrong. I’ve seen and read about my fair share of these lycanthropes, some considerably better than others I will admit, but just like the pull of the moon for a werewolf I am constantly intrigued by their adaptation to the screen. Where mistakes have been made in previous series or films is glorifying the curse as one to be desired, being able to shift into a powerful creature with painless ease and have complete control over said creature. Who wouldn’t fancy being able to sprout fluff and have a pleasant run the forest? What I like to see in a proper werewolf representation is: pain, raw animal instinct and a lack of control to a certain degree. These are hungry, blood thirsty, dangerous beasts after all right?
Bitten, a Canadian series on Space is based off of the popular Women of the Otherworld series written by Kelley Armstrong and has in my view a perfectly balanced werewolf image that is suited to the television series format. The all important transformation isn’t just a sudden burst of fluffiness but a painful, bone cracking experience that isn’t backed with shoddy CGI. The change isn’t dictated by the full moon but why limit the wolf action to only once a month when there’s the creative opportunity to do more? I’d say that the transformation success lies high up on the scale between the brilliant Being Human (UK) and the not so convincing Twilight Saga, and I’m not even sure how to rate Teen Wolf’s leaning toward the use of some hairy half transformations…I understand that all are free to express their own creative adaptation of the mythical curse but where the success lies I believe is a more adult target audience. Werewolves won’t arguably mass appeal to teenagers if the affected are screeching in pain and so I commend Bitten and shows alike to not shy too far away from the werewolf curse’s brutality.
Introducing Elena Michaels as played by Laura Vandervoot and pictured above, is the protagonist of the series which is already a fresh and welcomed change from this overly male dominated field. Granted, Elena is the first female to have survived being bitten so we have little other female presence during the first season but Bitten follows her story with the rest of the male and brooding Stonehaven pack being the surrounding support in her life. Elena is the predominant focus and there is less belittlement surrounding her gender and more empowering as she possesses finer tuned tracking abilities than the other werewolves.
For personal reasons Elena hoped that when she left the pack headquarters at Stonehaven she wouldn’t need to return and could start a new life in Toronto. As we all know, that can never happen in a supernatural series and after a year into her fresh start, trouble comes knocking in Stonehaven and pack Alpha Jeremy Danvers as played by Greg Bryk calls Elena “home”. What I found particularly interesting is that within the secretive werewolf community there is not only a historical lineage but there are rules, regulations and a hierarchy that grounds the characters in an actual world rather than these creatures popping up with no known background.
Fun Fact: Genelle Williams who plays Logan’s girlfriend Rachel stars as Leena in Warehouse 13.
Bitten’s plot is addictive, just when you believe you’ve guessed where the narrative is heading the series u-turns and takes you down a path you wouldn’t expect; good paths might I add. Thankfully, I can happily report that the use of the love triangle plot device (which is my pet hate) makes only a brief occurrence. Phew! Although, the romantic and relationship side of this series does lean toward being predictive at times and the promotional material takes advantage of the plentiful male abs among the cast but seeing as Rom-Coms get away with producing the same story-lines countless times I don’t have a personal problem with that.
The fight scenes I found particularly intense and impressive which highlights the ferocity of these werewolves, and Elena in the thick of these bloody and brutal skirmishes entertains all the more. I was worried of what direction the show may take going into its second season and a third is soon to be hitting screens but I actually found the second season as intriguing as the first. I have faith in its future! There is no clear comic relief and I don’t think that the show is lacking because of it, the supernatural concept withstands to keep audience interest. I’ve been Bitten! And, I eagerly await the third season.
You can watch Bitten, on SyFy in the UK, Space, I believe it is also on the US and Canadian Netflix, and the First Season DVD is available for US Import on Amazon.
Who do you believe is the best werewolf to ever grace the screen? Do you agree with how they are represented on television? What makes the perfect werewolf? Should I be watching any other supernatural shows like this? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading and if you want live updates and links to my reviews check out my twitter @bingebox.