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.
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