Monday, January 13, 2014

Bitten TV Series: First Impressions




I wasn't going to write a post about Bitten or at least, not yet... not just after one episode. However, I got an email from Brie this morning asking me if I was going to watch the show... Ever since the first press release for Bitten, I knew I was going to give the tv series a try because I love the novel and the book series by Ms Armstrong... And I know I'm not the only one :) So might as well discuss the adaptation all together, right?

Apparently, Bitten premieres tonight in the States on the Syfy channel... but it being a Canadian production, seems like Canada will be getting advance viewing as Bitten's first episode was shown on Saturday on the Space channel :) After watching the episode, here are my first impressions... but please keep in mind that 1) I'm a huge fan of the book, the series and Ms Armstrong (although it's been a while since I last re-read Bitten) and 2) I'm not an avid tv series/movie watcher. This means I can be biased in some aspects and totally ignorant in others ^_^; Anyway, here we go...

Overall, I think the first episode was good. It was mainly about introducing the characters and setting up the story and world building and I think they were successful in both aspects. In addition, the pacing was good and the episode, well balanced. It wasn't about just the characters or the world building, but really both and they even started the storyline about the mutt. I also quite enjoyed how viewers got to meet most of the supporting cast - quick, but efficient.



The feel of the series is also quite good in my opinion. I liked the opening credit, I think it fit the mood the series is trying to convey and is not too revealing of what's to come. Also, I don't know if it was intentional - probably not LOL - but I thought it fit with the covers of the Canadian edition of the books. The location/scenery so far seems to be pretty spot-on, especially Stonehaven :) And while Bitten is a Canadian production and I'm quite happy about it, I wouldn't be able to tell at first glance. What I mean is that Bitten doesn't feel like a low-budget tv series or differently from any other American productions - which is a good thing :) The only thing I would like the production to improve is the werewolf special effect. It's not bad, but there's something about it... I like that the werewolves are the right colors, but they could look a bit more real feel like they belong in the scenes more.



I know, I know, all of the above is good and well, but it's not what matters most right? What you really want to know is the cast right? One of the main draws to Bitten is the actress who plays Elena, Laura Vandervoort, because she portrayed Supergirl in Smallville... and I think she can definitively carry the series on her shoulders. So far, she's doing a good job as Elena. The only complaint I can see people coming up with - and it'd be the readers - is that she's a bit too feminine. Elena doesn't care about make-up, fashion and would never be caught wearing high heels! However, I think that Laura Vandervoort's portrayal of Elena right now is good and her femininity works. I mean, Bitten's cast is predominantly male given the world that Ms Armstrong created... so playing up Elena's femininity is a good visual contrast in the tv series and I think it really drives home the point that she's the only female werewolf and what it means to be surrounded by all those males. As for the rest of the cast, they had pretty limited screen time, but I'm pretty satisfied with what I've seen so far - especially Michael Xavier as Logan, Joel Keller as Peter and Greg Bryk as Jeremy (even though he is not Asian). Yes, of course, Logan and Peter had very small roles in the novel, so their casting wasn't very crucial, but still, it's nice they fit. Furthermore, it seems to me one of the important changes that they've decided to make was not to kill off Logan's character (he's credited for the 13 episodes at IMDB), which means his role was expanded. Hopefully, it's going to keep the essence of the book and Logan will be Elena's good friend and confident which is the way it is shaping up. And so far, I like what I see of Logan and Elena :)

Greyston Holt and Paul Greene

While I'm happy with most of the actors and actresses chosen, there are two miscasts in my opinion. The first and critical one is Greyston Holt as Clayton. Clayton was always going to be the most difficult character of Bitten to cast... and unfortunately, the casting is a questionable choice for me. Clay is supposed to be traffic-stopping-gorgeous, almost angel-like, with a sandpaper personality LOL. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but Greyston Holt isn't handsome enough. Even with that classroom full of girls looking subjugated, I didn't buy it ^_^; In fact, he looks too brutish to be Clay... although the moodiness is there. Personally, I would have swapped Greyston Holt and Paul Greene who plays Philip (Elena's boyfriend) roles. Then again, this is only the first episode and Elena and Clay barely had any interaction, so it's a bit early to tell... who knows, they might have incredible chemistry and that would make his casting all right. Oh and for those who wonder, Clay unfortunately doesn't have his accent in the tv series :( Guess it would have been too hard to explain? Or just too hard for the actor to maintain?... The other flagrant miscast is Paulino Nunes as Antonio. Mr Nunes is just not big enough, doesn't have the immovable presence that Antonio is supposed to have. Antonio might not have a big role, but a miscast is a miscast...

My one big complaint from what I've seen of Bitten so far is the amount of sex/nudity. I was actually concerned about this from the beginning, ever since I read "An erotically charged thriller, Bitten..." in the press release. Erotically charged thriller, really?! And seems like my concern was not for naught :( I know that Bitten not being shown on a mainstream channel, it allows the production to push the limits, I know that sex sells and attracts viewers and most of you probably think I'm a prude... but I just don't want the series to be overtaken by those scenes. Personally, the way the show started and how Elena and Philip were introduced, I could have done without. Then again, I'm probably going to be in the minority...

My verdict? I'm a purist when it comes to tv/movie adaptations. I want them to be as faithful as possible and I take the fact that I didn't spend the first episode of Bitten rolling my eyes, fuming or screaming at the screen as a good sign LOL. In all seriousness, the first episode showed promise and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. So far, the changes done to the story have really been minimal and I hope it continues that way. I mean, if they keep to the original storyline as much as possible, combined with good acting, I don't see why Bitten wouldn't be the next big TV hit :) The biggest question mark for me is going to be Greyston Holt as Clayton... guess we're going to find out soon.

What about you? Any plan of watching it? And if you did already, what did you think?

***

Extra: My book review of Bitten

10 comments:

  1. Hmm, I hadn't heard about this show but thanks for the heads up. I'll definitely check it out since it's a nod to our books. And since I didn't read the books, I wonder if I'll like it more. Either way, I'm up for it. I'll give it a go.

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  2. Sounds promising! I'll be back tomorrow after I watch the show, but I totally agree that the guy who plays Clay isn't as hot as I had pictured him (and you're right, Phillip looks better!) But if he's a good actor, I'm sure I'll be able to forget about my superficial complains ;-)

    As for the erotic part, I guess sex sells, but those books are not graphic at all (the sex, I mean). I don't know how I feel about that.

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  3. I'm watching it now. Its interesting so far. Jeremy isn't at all how I pictured him. Nick and Antonio are but I agree, Antonio should be bigger, more Italian. Expected Clay to be prettier, not so scruffy. Elena is gorgeous.

    I wonder if they'll stick with the werewolves or eventually bring in the witches.

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  4. I totally could have wrote your post. I thought Elena was too feminine, but understood it was because she was the main female cast member, thought there was way too much sex, and wasn't crazy about the person playing Clay. I forgot about Antonio. He hasn't played a main role in the latest Underworld books, so I couldn't really remember what he looked like. And, yeah, the werewolf scenes were a bit strange. Overall I wasn't really disappointed, though, and plan to watch the next episode. I am deplorable at keeping up with television, but I will do my best. :)

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  5. Wena - I'm not surprised you haven't heard about it, Wena, given it's a Canadian production and playing on Syfy. I think you would enjoy the TV series more than the book, but I hope it's going to make you want to give the series a try :)

    Brie - It was promising. I hope the series does good :) I wouldn't mind them adapting Stolen!

    I do think Philip is better looking :) But if Clay's actor turns out to be good, I could overlook his look LOL.

    The books are definitively not graphic! That's why I was worried about the "erotically charged thriller" bits... especially after what the amount of sex HBO has injected in their tv series. Sigh. I'm definitively not in favor... hopefully, it won't be too overdone.

    Leslie - How did you imagine Jeremy, Leslie? Also, in your mind, is Jeremy Caucasian or half-Asian looking? I have no problem with Nick... as for Antonio, it's a small complaint, but he's a rock you know... After all, he's the one who seconded Jeremy for decades... and he turns out to be one of the smallest guy in the series ^_^;

    I think they're going to stick with the werewolves for Bitten. Hopefully, there'll be more than a season and then, they'll bring on the witches!

    Kailana - I'm so glad Kailana that you agree!! Phew, I'm not the only one feeling this way!

    I guess watching it on TV is best for the ratings... but if you miss it, there's always the internet :)

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  6. Oh no - have they given BITTEN the True Blood (i.e. sexed up) treatment??!! Regardless, your take is interesting and I hope we get the show in the UK at some point!

    I remember Kelley Armstrong talking about the Jeremy casting decision - hmm here you go:
    http://kelleyarmstrong.tumblr.com/post/56055184842/my-response-to-jeremys-casting-in-bitten-tv-series

    Li

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  7. Li - I didn't watch True Blood, but I heard of it. Bitten has definitively been sexed up... as much as True Blood, I wouldn't be able to tell... but it's unfortunate :(

    Hey Li, do you remember Jeremy being described as half-Asian? I went through a few books looking for a description of him and it's always the same: tall, dark eyes, dark hair that's a bit too long and fall in his eyes. Eyes are slanted a bit, suggesting Asian blood. I know that we later find out about his Kitsune heritage which is Japanese folklore... but I don't think it was eve mentioned that Jeremy actually looked Asian!

    Anyway, just curious if it's just me...

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  8. I honestly can't remember! I'll dig up one of my books later and have a look - you're right about his Japanese heritage being mentioned later on...

    Li

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  9. I picture Jeremy as half-Asian. I don't think it's just his Kitsune heritage that gave me the impression. I would think Jaime might have described Jeremy's looks at some point.

    That's funny you mention Antonio being a rock because when I saw him I thought, "If he only had the body of The Rock he'd look like Antonio from the books." lol

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  10. Li - In my head, Jeremy was Caucasian... Oh well.

    Leslie - I tried looking for a description of Jeremy, even in No Humans Involved and there't not much...

    LOL. I actually imagined Antonio like Gimli's actor (standing of course).

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