Category Archives: Film/Television

Bitten – The TV Series, Episode 7

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GUEST REVIEWER – teachergirl73

This episode is definitely a turning point for the TV series Bitten. The writers for the show have completely changed the framework of the story as they eliminated another Pack member this week, one who in the book survives far beyond the first novel. For the die-hard fans of the novel, I think that the divergence from the original story that takes place in this episode might be just too much for them to handle.

DSIn this episode, the Pack are contacted by Daniel Santos again, requesting a meet in neutral territory to discuss territorial rights. As the Pack prepares to meet, Clay and Elena go to the agreed upon meeting site to check it out. While there, they realize that they aren’t the only werewolves there, as Zachary Cain tries to ambush them. This is all a ploy to keep Clay and Elena away from the real threat. Jeremy and Antonio are ambushed on the road by Cain’s girlfriend, Thomas LeBlanc and Daniel Santos. Santos uses Cain’s girlfriend as bait to lure Jeremy and Antonio out of the car at the scene of an accident.  Suddenly, Jeremy and Antonio find themselves in the middle of a knife fight with two mutts. Both men are badly injured, however, Antonio’s injuries prove fatal. This is just one example from this episode of how the show has completely deviated from the book.

bitten-episode-1x06-loganAnother significant change to the storyline is that Logan’s girlfriend is pregnant, and they are forced to start to deal with all the implications that go along with it. Logan begins to make promises that he knows he won’t be able to keep, like that he will never leave her. When Elena calls Logan to tell him about the death of Antonio, Logan ignores the call. Eventually, Jeremy gets through to Logan, but he makes no mention of the baby to Jeremy. Logan cannot avoid the Pack forever, so it will be interesting to see how long he can manage to stay put in Toronto with his pregnant girlfriend before someone comes looking for him.

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The final example of how the show’s writers are striking out on their own, is back in Toronto, Philip seeks out help from a techy ex-girlfriend. He asks her to help him locate video footage of two wolves running and hunting in a downtown Toronto park. He wants to track down the person who shot the film so that he can purchase the rights for an ad campaign that he is working on. It is clear that Philip’s ex-girlfriend wants him back, but he rejects her advances as he tries to explain that he in a relationship with Elena.  What Philip doesn’t realize is that the film footage is of Elena and Logan running.  He has unknowingly put himself in danger by pursuing the video and ironically, it would be Elena’s job in the Pack to deal with Philip. If you recall, back in Episode 1, the event that caused Elena to leave the Pack was her personal decision to kill a man trying to “out” the werewolves to the human world. Her decision to kill was based on the fact that it was her responsibility to ensure that information never became public. How will Elena and the Pack deal with this new development?

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Bitten – The TV Series, Episodes 5-6

GUEST POST – teachergirl73

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We finally get to see how Clay and Elena first met and fell in love in Episode 5. The writers stayed fairly close to Kelley Armstrong’s original story, with just a few minor discrepancies.  I thought that they did a good job of setting the scene that shows Clay’s desperate plan to keep Elena. Upon Elena and Clay’s arrival at Stonehaven to meet Clay’s family for the first time, Jeremy makes it very clear to Clay that he can’t possibly continue his relationship with Elena. Jeremy’s directive seems very cold and harsh, but this is how the Pack has survived over the centuries. The Pack rules state women are not allowed to have lasting relationships with any members of the Pack, for fear of revealing the existence of werewolves to the human world. This was just too big of a secret to try to hide from humans on a day-to-day basis, as already demonstrated by Elena’s struggle to live in Toronto with Philip. All male children were taken from their mothers at a very young age so that no one could discover the truth. Prior to Elena being bitten, no female werewolf had ever survived the change, so when Clay makes the reckless and desperate choice to change and appear in Jeremy’s study in his wolf form, Elena just thinks he’s a very large dog. She had no idea that her life was about to change forever.

In the book, Clay is banished from Stonehaven for more than a year, while Elena learned how to deal with her new circumstances. The show deviates from the original story again, instead of having Jeremy nurse Elena through the early days of her transition, Clay is also present. In the episode, Clay continually restated that Elena was a survivor and that she will survive this.

The novel does an excellent job of explaining how difficult this process was for Elena, and how Clay’s actions are never really forgiven. This is part of the back story between the two characters that I think the show is going to have a difficult time communicating. In the first few episodes, it is made very clear that Elena has no time for Clay, but what is unfortunately not really shown yet to viewers is that when Elena returns to Stonehaven, she is very conflicted by her feelings for Clay. As mentioned in my early post, we discover her struggle mostly through her inner monologue which is missing.

One character that was introduced in earlier episode, Daniel Santos, makes an interesting return. We first met Daniel when he paid  a visit to Logan in Toronto, to say that he wanted to reach out to the Pack. Daniel’s family once belonged to the Pack but after a failed attempt to oust Jeremy as alpha years before, they were kicked out of the family. In the book, there is more back story on Daniel which better explains his obsession with defeating Clay and making Elena his “mate”. At this point in the show, Daniel is offering to work with the Pack to help bring an end to the mutt problem in Bear Valley. In exchange, Daniel wants to return to the Pack.

Another new character in this episode is Victor Olsen, who is a convicted pedophile who has been released back into the community. One of the first people he encounters on the outside is Zachary Cain, who we know to be one of the mutts threatening the Pack. He offers Olsen a chance to seek revenge on his victims by going after Elena Michaels. I have to admit when I first saw this scene, I didn’t really understand where they were going with it.  In the novel, the first time the Pack meet the “new” mutts are through the various attacks in Bear Valley.  It isn’t until Episode 6, that it becomes clear that there is another connection between the Pack and Olsen.

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In Episode 6, the show deviates completely from the original. For die-hard fans of the novel, this episode might be too much to handle because the show’s storyline has truly become its own. If, however, I hadn’t read the book, this episode would certainly fill in some missing blanks.

Elena has returned to Toronto and her human life. She feels that her commitment to the Pack is complete, and as a result, she asked Jeremy not to call her back to Stonehaven.  All seems to be going swimmingly well, except for the fact that Daniel Santos makes another appearance, this time at the wedding of Philip’s sister. We get to see more clearly in this episode Elena’s distaste for Daniel, and we also get to see a little more of his darker side.  The show did a good job of casting, as I find Daniel to be very creepy, but it’s hard to say how much of that feeling is based on the actor’s performance or because I have prior knowledge of the character.

Another big departure from the original story is the connection between Olsen and Elena. In a conversation with Philip, Elena reveals that she was abused as a child at the hands of Olsen, who was a neighbour of one of her foster families. Elena’s testimony helped to get Olsen convicted. So now, it becomes a little bit clearer as to how Olsen will be a new threat in episodes to come.  In the book, Elena is a survivor of sexual abuse, but not from Olsen, the abuse came from her foster families and was mostly insinuated rather than told explicitly. Eventually, Elena learns to defend herself, and works very hard to leave her experiences in the foster system behind. Elena’s awful childhood is one of the reasons that Clay recognizes her as a fellow survivor.

The most shocking new development in the show is the discovery that Logan’s girlfriend is pregnant. Given that in the book, Logan is long gone by this point, it is going to be very interesting to see where the show goes with this new development. Will Logan be faced with the heartbreaking choice to tear his new-born child from the arms of the woman he loves, never to see her again? Or will he try to live in the human world? What will Jeremy have to say about this new development?

I guess that I’ll have to keep watching to find out!

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Bitten – The TV Series

GUEST POST – teachergirl73

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When I read that Bitten, the novel by New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong, was coming to television, I was super-excited. This is one of my all time favourite books, and when I thought about how the story unfolds, I thought that there was definitely enough plot-line to carry a season. Now that we are into the first four episodes of the show, I’m still holding out hope that the show will continue to grow and develop into something really good. For the most part, the show’s creators have done a good job with the casting and setting, although I think in my own mind, Antonio and Jeremy were older and it is difficult to get around Clay’s lack of a southern accent, but that’s just me nit-picking.

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As for the plot, my verdict is still out. There are some places where they have almost taken the story and dialogue word for word from the novel and then in other places completely changed it. I know that this is inevitable, so I’m trying to keep an open mind about those changes. One of these changes is having Logan living in the same city as Elena. In the book, Elena is on her own in Toronto and you get a real sense of her isolation and loneliness being separated from her pack. I suspect that this story change was made to demonstrate the closeness between Logan and Elena, which is really told through Elena’s reflections in the novel.

bitten-tv-showElena is living in Toronto to escape her guilt over killing a human who was threatening to expose the existence of werewolves to the world. She’s forced to make a split second decision and blames the “animal” side of her for decision to kill. Elena’s struggle to be human rather than wolf colours every choice that she makes from that point on in her life, including her attempt to leave her pack family behind for good. For the most part, this is all conveyed over the course of the first two episodes. In the first episode, you get to see the life that Elena has tried to build for herself during her self-imposed exile. She has a job, an apartment, and a live-in boyfriend, while she increasingly struggles to hide the wolf side of her.  In the second episode, you learn the history of the pack, and who is in it and the different relationship dynamics that Elena has with each of her pack brothers. By episodes three and four, the danger to the pack has escalated quite dramatically and I certainly hope that the show’s creators can build on this momentum.

Recently I read a review by Kaitlin Thomas for www.tv.com, which I thinks does an excellent job of summing up what isn’t quite right with the story-line: Kaitlin Thomas www.tv.com  Jan. 14, 2014, “there’s nothing inherently bad about Bitten. Fans of genre shows will probably enjoy the series and its mysteries just fine, especially if the story picks up as the show progresses, but overall, Bitten isn’t adding anything new to a television slate that’s slowly becoming overrun with supernatural and fantasy shows. If the series wants to make a name for itself (especially in the U.S.), it’s going to need to step up its game by developing its characters, adding more action, and giving the pack members some distinguishing characteristics and personalities. ” http://www.tv.com/m/shows/bitten-2013/community/post/bitten-series-premiere-review-summons-season-1-episode-1-138946732922/

What I think is the missing piece to the show is Elena’s narration. In the book, most of the story is from her “inside voice”, and it is that personal recount that creates context for how the other characters interact with her, as well as the fills in the story-line more fully. Although somewhat unrelated, an example of a recent excellent film adaptation of a story where the majority of the inner dialogue of the protagonist plays an important part of the movie was Warm Bodies. In this depiction R’s narration was so skillfully incorporated that the film in my opinion was better than the book.

I will stick with the show until the end of the season, for better or for worse, but I’m hoping that it lives up to its potential. Bitten is the first book in Armstrong’s “Otherworld” series, where each subsequent book focuses on different characters and their stories. As a fan of Clay and Elena’s story, I’ve always wanted more of it.