Do you like sex and/or werewolves? Then you're still going to be hard-pressed to like Syfy's Bitten, at least from its painfully slow first episode. Sure, it's chock full of naked Laura Vandervoort and mediocre CG wolves, but somehow it forgot to have things happen.
I can describe all the meaningful details of the hour-long episode in 100 words. Somebody spot me:
Elena Danvers is a werewolf living in Vancouver with a boyfriend who doesn't know her real nature. She's estranged from her family/pack for unknown reasons, but a "wolf attack" caused by a rogue, unknown werewolf near the family's home causes the head, Jeremy, to call everyone together to deal with the situation. Elena has some undisclosed issues with her family, particularly a member named Clay, so she waits until the end of the episode to arrive at the mansion. Also, Elena is generally trying to not turn into a wolf, which means the transformations can happen randomly.
That's 96 words. Note, there were a lot of scenes with Elena's boyfriend's family, particularly his mom disliking her for no apparent reason, I'm pretty sure this stuff is never going to turn into an engaging storyline, and will just be a conflict Elena will occasionally indulge in to pad out the episode.
Now, two things before you all scorn me for pre-hating this show: First, I absolutely don't hate Bitten, if only because not enough happened to hate. Seriously, it's like we got the first half of a pilot that was supposed to be a two-hour premiere. I just don't have enough material to judge it yet.
Second, and here's what I find so weird, is that I know the show is going some interesting places, because the "This Season on Bitten!" preview had some genuinely interesting stuff in it! (Spoiler warning for the two people who think me describing the preview video which aired directly following the episode to be spoilers). The "mutt" who killed the lady is actually only one of many werewolves who are murdering people, because it turns out that someone is turning serial killers into werewolves to make them better at serial killing, which is breaking one of those Pact thingies monsters hiding amongst use to agree not to get themselves noticed (thank, White Wolf!). That's interesting to me! That, my friends, is what I'd call a hook, and I think might have been better served in last night's episode that's all about family drama, except the main character basically doesn't even go home until the last two minutes.
So one or more of these serial killwolves is out to bring attention to the Danvers family, and that's bad news. And the "next time on" video gave just enough detail about Elena's issues with Clay to pique my interest — they got a little kissin' cousin' than going on, apparently, and either it's forbidden by werewolf law or they just know it's a little gross. All of this is interesting, and I don't know why they refused to put any of it in the first episode — just so we had something beyond "sexually active werewolf with family issues returns home but does not have chance to enter house."
- I should mention that these "werewolves" just turn into wolves — no one's running around as an anthropomorphic wolf man. This is a little disappointing, mostly because it removes one major potential conflict — it's a lot easier to explain away a wolf than it is a werewolf.
- The boyfriend's family stuff was a complete drag. We barely get to know anything about Elena's guy, and then we get shoved with his mom and two sisters, whose sole plot contribution is finding Elena a pretty dress.
- Another thing that is interesting that the show completely fails to even acknowledge: Elena is the only female werewolf on the planet. I had completely forgotten that detail until I saw it on the Wikipedia page to look up character names. YOU HAVE INTERESTING QUALITIES, BITTEN, PLEASE DO NOT FEEL THE NEED TO HIDE THEM FROM US
- I know pilots by their very nature have to deal with a lot of establishing relationships and exposition, but man, was Bitten clunky. "Hello, older brother!"
- The first female victim decides to leave a bar by walking home through the woods. What is she, a French peasant girl?
- George and Josh from the Being Human shows would scoff at Elena's shoddy transformation night preparation. At least put your clothes in a bag, woman!