You Can’t Go Home Again
Or can you? Last night’s premiere of the television adaptation of Bitten by Kelley Armstrong was the perfect opportunity to do something I have wanted to since the blog’s inception last May, review a television adaptation. The opportunity just hadn’t presented itself, Under the Dome was just too big an undertaking even for my gluttonous “eyes that are pretty much always bigger than my belly” literally and figuratively. Though I enjoy television and films a great deal I typically give any adaptation of a favorite of mine an extremely wide berth. I have a low tolerance for tom foolery particularly when it comes to my favorite stories, case in point True Blood which has deviated so far from the Southern Vampire series on which it is based by Charlaine Harris as to be laughable.
Elena Michaels is a werewolf. She tries to be human, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must reconsider who and what she is.
I was struck immediately at how perfectly Laura Vandervoot embodied my vision of Elena which was enough to override my inherent skepticism and give this adaptation of one of my all time favorite books a try. As for some of the other casting I cannot say that I was reassured. While I didn’t question for a moment that Greyston Holt could be a werewolf, but as Clayton Danvers, he couldn’t be more miscast (and I am not just bemoaning the loss of his Southern accent). I will try not to fall into a diatribe about what I consider some of the biggest casting fails in history but will sum up with the peroxide horror show that was Twilight. No such hair crimes were committed in Bitten, their transgressions were much more subtle.
While the essence of the novel was preserved at least for the duration of the pilot episode, that of Elena’s struggle to live as a werewolf in the human world, they did take a number of liberties with the plot that left me perplexed and concerned about the future. The opening scene portrays Elena in flagrante delicto which she must break off to avoid changing in front of her human boyfriend. Barely escaping the apartment in time she is forced to change in an alleyway. Laura Vandervoot is very attractive as is her costar Paul Greene, however the opening sex scene felt gratuitous. Not exclusive to the opening scene and throughout the liberties that were taken with the plot were somewhat baffling including but not exclusive to relocating Logan to Toronto and changing his profession to a therapist from a lawyer, making Elena a photographer rather than a writer and last but not least having Elena and Phillip’s relationship originate from a fix up rather than a chance meeting.
I believe that the intention is to create a sexy series in the vein of True Blood and Vampire Diaries, which are both unquestionable financial successes but content wise fall short of the potential Bitten holds. I hope that they do not waste the opportunities provided by such a fascinating intelligent series.