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Bitten: TV review

SyFy's new werewolf drama is all angst, no fun.

Photo courtesy of Syfy
Bitten premieres Monday, January 13 at 9pm on SyFy

In SyFy's latest effort to fill out its programming schedule with female-driven genre shows from Canada, the werewolf drama Bitten joins Lost Girl and Continuum. Based on the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong, Bitten is packed with angst and soapy drama, but not a lot of pleasure.

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Elena Michaels (Laura Vandervoort) is a photographer working in Toronto and enjoying a budding relationship with her boyfriend, Philip (Paul Greene). She's come a long way since she left her werewolf family behind to live as a human one year ago. As a younger woman, Elena was in a relationship with Clay Danvers (Greyston Holt), son of the pack leader, Jeremy Danvers (Greg Bryk). When Elena was bitten by Clay, she became a werewolf and joined the Pack, an extended family of wolves that sets the rules for the entire lupine community. When a woman is found dead from a wolf attack, presumably killed by a mutt (a non-Pack werewolf), the Pack is called home to help find the killer. Elena resists returning due to her history with Clay and her desire to have a normal life, but her talents as a tracker are unmatched and, eventually, she gives in and re-joins her adopted family to assist in their efforts.

Bitten casts the werewolf universe and as an all-male environment, with Elena being the only woman the Pack knows to have survived the changes brought on by a wolf bite. This can make Elena's dynamic with the Pack seem a little odd a times. While Jeremy is clearly the father figure and Clay is the source of loads of romantic tension, there's a lot of stripping down naked to transform into a wolf around other guys, and even an instance of one Pack member waking her up crawling into bed next to her. Since Elena isn't a blood relative to any of her fellow wolves, everyone is a potential lover and it can be difficult to interpret whether some actions are that of a playful sibling or a flirtatious boy. Given how heavily Bitten piles on the romantic drama between Clay and Elena, that may be the goal, as the show seems far more interested in the soapy elements of the story rather than exploring new angles of the genre. This gets old quick, as Holt spends all of his screentime sporting the same pained expression, and Elena's refusals are so transparently temporary that there's no real tension. The series would fare better if it focused more on the greater mythology of the Pack and the wolves, which is woefully underdeveloped in the opening episodes.

After the recent glut of shows and movies featuring werewolves, Bitten fails to bring anything new to the table by placing far too much importance on its uninteresting gesture at a love triangle.