When announced that Kelley Armstrong’s first book, ‘Bitten’, was headed for the small screen, fans were pretty darned stoked.
Laura Vandervoort’s casting was perfect. Some were initially concerned that the series would feature werewolves only and not the rest of Kelley’s rich universe in the full Women of the Otherworld series. However, most are prepared to put that aside and simply hope for a spin-off featuring Paige Winterbourne.
The show, like the novel, is very adult and certainly not Twilight. With lots of sex and violence a la ‘True Blood’, there is much to delight genre fans. Really, the only big disappointment is with the quality of the special effects. The CGI wolves aren’t quite right.
Being only 5 episodes in of the 13 episode season, comparisons are preliminary and perhaps even premature. However, fans of Elena and Company are on the case. The plot so far follows the book quite closely, with Fang-tastic Fiction noting some key differences:
- Philip, his family and Toronto are very minor features in the book, but feature prominently in the show. Logan isn’t seen in the book where he is an LA lawyer, not a Toronto psychiatrist.
- Elena’s characterization in the show is far more petite and demure than in the book, which has her taller and, for the lack of a better word, more robust.
- Clay’s inner-rage is far more dangerous in the book. On screen, he’s just brooding.
- The pack interaction is less touchy-feely on screen.
- Many of the characters are under-developed with little backstory. Hopefully, this improves.
- Bear Valley citizens are far more hostile to the pack in the show, instead of just distrustful as in the book.
- Antonio is killed instead of Logan. This is a significant deviation from the novels.
Here is Kelley Armstrong, on the differences between the book and the show:
I really didn’t have any influence. And that is what I felt was the correct stance to be taken. I mean a TV show is an adaptation. It is another version for a different medium. And to take a book and translate it directly to screen would make a very boring book. Because I will warn you, in “Bitten,” I spent way too much time in Elena’s head.
And to put that on the screen would have been boring. Somebody else has to take it with fresh eyes and reconstruct it for a different medium. And I personally feel that by getting involved — I’m, of course, so attached to my characters and so attached to my world that I would be objecting to things that I shouldn’t be objecting to.
And I was so thrilled with the early scripts I read. I was so thrilled with the writing and how they got the characters. And yes, there are changes, but there should be. And I was quite happy to leave it in everyone’s capable hands and just step back.
It is [my baby]. And I think that is very difficult. But I think it’s also very, very necessary because this is my work envisioned by other writers and by actors. And I’m thrilled to have that happen. I’m thrilled to have, you know, current readers see it on a screen and new people see it. But it’s not supposed to be my books translated to the small screen.
Even though fans enjoy it, ‘Bitten’ is only getting a 36% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it sketchy as to whether it’ll be picked up for a second season.
***NOTE: This article also appears in Reader’s Carnival.***