Television shows are a dime a dozen these days, which makes it hard to figure out which ones are worthy of your time and which ones deserve a shallow grave. And while there was once a time when just having a 'supernatural' element was enough to make a show unique, now it seems like every time you change the channel, a new vampire or werewolf is brandishing its teeth on your TV screen. Syfy's latest entry into the supernatural monster genre is Bitten, but is it worth watching or should you call the vet to have it put down? Read on and I'll tell ya!
Bitten? This sounds dangerous/possibly infectious. Is it infectious?
Bitten isn't dangerous, but it might be infectious—just not in a Helix sort of way. The series isn't about zombies, as you may've guessed from the title, but werewolves. "Not another one," you groan. Yes, sorry, another one. Bitten is a Canadian import that stars Smallville's Laura Vandervoort as Elena Michaels, the lone female werewolf in existence as she fights to live a normal life away from her pack while hiding her lycanthropic status from her new boyfriend. But when a dead body—the victim of a mutt (a rogue werewolf)—is discovered near Stonehaven, the ancestral home of the pack she left behind, Elena reluctantly returns to aid them in the search for who's responsible.
Who's in the pack, and who's the Alpha behind all of this?
Bitten is based on the first of Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld novels, and it's executive-produced by Grant Rosenberg (Lost Girl), Patrick Banister (Whistler), and John Barbisan (Whistler). In addition to Vandervoort, the series stars Greg Bryk (XIII: The Series, Nikita) as werewolf pack Alpha Jeremy Danvers, Greyston Holt (Alcatraz) as Elena's werewolf ex-boyfriend Clay Danvers, and Paul Greene (The Newsroom, Harry's Law) as her current human (as far as I know) boyfriend Philip McAdams. Steve Lund, Michael Xavier, Natalie Brown, and Paulino Nunes fill out the rest of the primary cast.
When does Bitten wolf out on our TV sets?
Bitten premieres tonight (January 11) in Canada before officially baring its teeth in the U.S. on Monday, January 13 at 10pm on Syfy. That puts it up against MTV's own supernatural drama Teen Wolf, which just pulled in record ratings for its mid-season premiere. The show will also air opposite Intelligence on CBS, Castle on ABC, The Blacklist on NBC, and the season premiere of Archer on FX.
Who might enjoy being Bitten?
Fans of supernatural genre shows are probably the most obvious answer here, but unlike many of the other supernatural series out there, Bitten isn't set in a high school, and there aren't any vampires in sight. That means the series forgoes the customary hormonal angst that often accompanies these kinds of dramas, in favor of a more adult feel. I can't promise there won't be a love triangle down the road, but this is definitely a series that's less concerned with raging teenage hormones than much of its competition. If you like the monsters but can't stand the googly-eyes, you might take a bite out of this one.
What's tates good about Bitten?
Believe it or not, there's a lot to like about Bitten, despite its silly name. When the series begins, Vandervoort's Elena is a fully functioning adult who's been a werewolf for several years, so the show doesn't have to bother with letting her figure out how to live with the "affliction." There's no real need to discuss the dramas and perils of what it all means, except for in sessions with her therapist, Logan, who also happens to be a member of Elena's pack. Instead, Bitten can jump right in and let Elena transform within the first few minutes of the pilot, then let viewers follow along from there.
And the lack of teenage angst is definitely a relief, to say the least. The story isn't driven by a love triangle or a forbidden romance, it's driven by an actual plot. And I know this might sound crazy, but it's kind of nice to see a genre show that doesn't also look like its actors were plucked from the pages of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog. The more adult feel, which is especially obvious in Bitten's sex scenes (which aren't as numerous or as graphic as True Blood's, but also not as shy as the ones you'll see on broadcast), definitely makes the series stand out among its plentiful competition.
What about Bitten bites it in the ass?
Heh. There's also a lot of stuff that'll make you roll your eyes, including the full-on CGI wolves seen when Elena and transform, not to mention the fact that common sense doesn't really apply in the show's universe. You're probably thinking to yourself, "It's a supernatural series, logic can be more lax in those!" But the logic isn't just lax, it's nearly non-existent sometimes. In the opening scene, Elena strips down until she's naked and leaves her clothing and her purse in an alley while she goes for an unexpected run in the city in the middle of the night. Um, hello, open invitation for homeless people to steal your stuff! I appreciate that Bitten takes the time to show us that she doesn't just wolf out with her clothes on and then miraculously retain her outfit once she turns back into a human, but come on! (Spoiler alert: No one stole her stuff! And even though it was raining, everything was all completely dry!) Also, apparently no one pays any attention when a WOLF runs down the street, but whatever, I've never been to Toronto, maybe that's commonplace.
Unfortunately, a lack of basic logic isn't the series' biggest issue. For all intents and purposes, it's just another generic supernatural drama with a relatively mediocre storyline. It has a plot that's not rooted in romance, but it IS fairly cliched, and therefore it isn't the most compelling thing I've ever seen on TV. Of course, since the pilot is pretty heavy on set-up, it's possible that Bitten will improve as it progresses, but for now, it's fairly one-note. A little more complexity certainly wouldn't hurt.
Give it to me straight: Should I watch Bitten?
I'll pretty much give any show that falls within the realm of supernatural/science-fiction/fantasy a chance, so I'm going to go ahead and recommend it to all you genre fans out there. But if monsters aren't typically your thing, Bitten isn't so groundbreaking that you'll need to carve time out of your regular TV viewing schedule to check it out. And if you're trying to decide between Bitten and its time-slot competition Teen Wolf, the latter wins paws down. Sorry, I'll show myself to the doggy door. OMG I AM DONE, I SWEAR.
Okay, well I'm stil not convinced. Can I see a trailer?
Here you go! (It's the official Canadian trailer, because Syfy apparently doesn't care enough to release it on YouTube!)
Bitten premieres Monday, January 13 at 10pm on Syfy.