“Bitten” looks like it sucks worse than a bad joke about vampires

A. Quinton — Nov. 8th 2013

I tried reading Bitten back when there were rumours that it was going to be adapted into a feature film starring Angelina Jolie. I stopped after the first dozen pages or so. I don’t remember why, although I think I remember being irritated by something happening in an orchard or forest. My point is, I don’t know enough about Kelley Armstrong‘s writing to have a defensible opinion about Bitten the book, or the other 12 books in the series. My point is that Syfy’s upcoming TV series based on Bitten looks bad.

It looks really, really bad. Execrable.

This is terrible on two levels. First, as a fan of werewolves and horror, I don’t care about the following werewolf tropes, which are present in abundance:

  • Werewolves that are just big wolves
  • People transforming for the first time in a cage while an aloof mastermind watches and narrates
  • Quick close-ups of CG wolves cut to pitch-dropped audio of a lion snarling
  • Supernatural predjuice against humans manifesting as catty scorn
  • Low phlegmy breathing presented as animalistic and primal
  • Wolf pack dynamics forced onto a group of humans who are clearly all selfish assholes (bonus garbage-points for making “Pack” a proper noun)
  • Male werewolves in human form asserting their alpha dominance

Secondly, as an alive person who watches TV, I absolutely don’t give a shit about:

  • Plots wherein two secret underground societies wage a secret war against each other while keeping their secrets safe from the world at large, a world that could never understand their secrets
  • Plots wherein the second act ends with someone saying the words “we need to strike back”
  • Dramatic exposition dumps between two stone-faced characters wearing coats while standing in a cemetery or park
  • Sex scenes on a rug in front of a fire
  • Female actors making sexy-sex faces (but not TOO sexy) for the sake of audience titillation
  • Male actors removing their too-tight shirts for the sake of audience titillation
  • Paper-thin portrayals of female empowerment
  • Any show where the line “someone is turning psychotic murders into werewolves” is delivered with all the seriousness of a guest star detective on an episode of Law & Order: SVU

I try to stay positive on Werewolf News, but this trailer (and its poster, below) have made it clear that Bitten is going to be a terrible show on all levels, and everyone involved with it should feel ashamed of what they’ve done. It’s possible to make a funscary, loveably cheeseball TV series about supernatural topics – Syfy’s even done it – but I have no expectations that Bitten will be any of those things. It has all the markings of a bad TV series that celebrates boring werewolf mythos, and I don’t know which offence bums me out more.

The show airs on Syfy and Space sometime next year. If you still want to watch it after reading this, go ahead and Google for more details, because I can’t help you.

Bitten poster

  • Mike Wolf

    The books weren’t bad, but I kinda lost interest because there are a million instalments and a new one seems to come out every 3 months.

    Show still looks better than Hemlock Grove, though. Dear lord that was terrible.

  • Rob

    I read the first book and wished I hadn’t. The characters were unsympathetic, uninteresting and annoying (“selfish assholes” is true but misses out the self-pity and ineptness that I’m sure was meant to make the characters likeable) and what plot there was felt like a TV Tropes entry. Not the worst werewolf story I’ve ever read, but one of the more pointless.

  • Lew

    Well, I’ve got to admit I won’t complain about actors removing their shirts (but why are they all so hairless?). Heh.
    But seriously, this looks like every other werewolf paranormal romance plot, plus those are some damn shaky video game wolfies.

  • Inkshooter

    Does indeed look pretty bad, but I’ll be watching anyway. I don’t mind it when werewolves turn into normal-looking wolves per se (that is, after all, what happened in the original folklore), so long as they at least make them look big and scary, not ‘majestic’.

    The whole “Pack with a capital P” trope does piss me off to no end, though. Fuck that noise.

    (On a Syfy-related note, have you given the American Being Human a shot? It starts off on a mediocre note, but the subsequent seasons are incredible. The wolves are CG most of the time, but it’s badass-looking enough that it doesn’t really make a difference, and they said they’d be using more practical effects for it in the upcoming season.)

  • Doruk

    We gotta remember that Bitten was one of the first paranormal werewolf romances back in the day, though. We could say that it is everybody else that copied it :P

  • Lew

    Was it? I thought Cheri Scotch’s stuff was much older.

  • TheScarletPompernickle

    So the soul-killingly awful Wolfcop gets praised, but this you hate? You are a strange, strange man. This does not look even half-bad. It looks mainstream. Which, if you’re the hipster too-cool-to-like-what-others-like type, must indeed look pretty bad. But no, this simply looks like an attempt to broaden the appeal of Werewolves. Which is a very good thing. I hope Bitten takes off like a rocket.

  • PackMuleRevolution

    Wolfcop at least looks entertaining, the only thing the Bitten trailer made me want to do was slit my own wrists. I also do love how “Hipster” is the new de facto insult used whenever someone calls poorly made mass produced crap out on being poorly made mass produced crap.

    I think you’re on the wrong site. Werewolves.com or The Pack’s Den seem to be more your speed. The former will keep you up to date on all the droll Paranormal Romance dreck you could ever possibly want and on the latter you’re sure to find no shortage of passive aggressive jerks who look down on the rest of the werewolf fandom.

  • If you think it’s strange that *I* of all people would prefer WolfCop to Bitten, I can’t help you.

  • Adam Gulledge

    Neither is out yet, but we’ve seen plenty of behind the scenes of WolfCop to get an idea of what it is. This we’ve barely seen any of aside from that trailer.

    So, what’s the real problem? Someone’s perceptions, or how this ‘mainstream’ series is toeing the current line and taking no risks?

  • Adam Gulledge

    It’s funny you mention that about Werewolves.com, because the new mod/contributor is awful at keeping the mood of the site going.

    It’s moving towards a Paranormal Romance slant and focusing on Vampire Diaries of all things.

  • LunarCarnivore

    I gotta say, I disagree with you on this one. The books were some of the best I’ve read when it comes to “modern” werewolves living among humans. That trailer doesn’t look as bad as you make it out to be. Is it going to be the best werewolf series ever? No. Will it be better than Teen Wolf? Probably.

  • Inkshooter

    Teen Wolf is a pretty low bar to aim for, to be honest. I mean, their idea of becoming a werewolf is basically growing sideburns.

  • Sam

    Doubt it will be better than Teen Wolf, which falls more into the Mystery/suspense genre than the ParaRomance genre. Teen Wolf actually has a lot going for it, enough to make up for the side burns and teeth transformation. Bitten on the other hand has arguably worse transformations (seriously, fuck CGI) and on top of that it will likely have a shitty lowest common plot.

    Oh well.

  • TheScarletPompernickle

    Yeah. We have seen enough of Wolfcop to know precisely what it is. A violation of the soul. A sexual assault upon my eyeballs. If a movie could be Jeffrey Dahmer, Wolfcop would be that movie. I’m joking obviously, but Wolfcop is just…bleh. It could just as easily be another installment in Toxic Avenger series. If you’re one of the ten people on earth(and five people on Saturn) that this appeals to, good for you. Bitten at least looks like it’s trying to draw in a broader audience. Which is as much a good thing for the self-professed “hardcore” Werewolf fans as it is for the Twihards. The only way that something like 30 Days of Night happens is by piggybacking on the mainstream appeal of Twilight, Vampire Diaries, etc, etc. If werewolves are ever going to be anything but crappy CGI in Direct-To-Video movies, or Second Bananas on some Vampire-centric show, then we need shows like Bitten and Teen Wolf to catch on with people. Actual people, who don’t measure their worth or the worth of others by their ability to look down their nose(snouts?) at that which appeals to others.

  • Adam Gulledge

    You know what broader audience means in media, no? It means slush, homogenization, and playing it safe.

    And that’s what Bitten is. A homogenized, safe, slushy TV series.

  • SuperJ

    Everything you just said was right THE SHOW SUCKS

  • Miko Satou

    I gave it a try. I got annoyed and stopped watching.
    Honestly, I am not sure if the main actress really is whispering a good amount of her lines or if it was just bad audio but – – it got annoying.
    The ex – boyfriend seems rather pushy to be with his ex-girlfriend again even though she was a boyfriend… And that actor seems to whisper alot too…

  • blairwalshmyballs

    i cant even give the book away for free the show isnt the only thing bad the book is too……..