SF/PARANORMAL Obscure: BITTEN

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BITTEN ran for three seasons 2014-2016 and is fairly new. It is based on the OTHERWORLD series by Kelley Armstrong. The series uses a variety of narrators, and this one is based on Elena, the female werewolf. (The witches plot line picks up in Season Two). I am a fan of the series and Armstrong’s writing in general. I was not able to watch the series in its initial run, but now had a chance to watch it on Netflix. Like many book to TV adaptions there are some differences, but on the whole, I felt like BITTEN captured the spirit of the series and didn’t stray to far from the basics of Elena’s character.

In brief: BITTEN follows the story of Elena Michaels, the only female werewolf known to have survived the change. There are born werewolves and turned werewolves and the survival rate is low. Elena lives a ‘regular’ life after leaving her werewolf family/clan in Stonehaven. A series of murders in the local town means the pack alpha, Jeremy, asks Elena to return as she is the best tracker. It also means she returns to Clay, Jeremy’s son and Elena’s former lover. Like most urban fantasy there is a heavy dose of relationship talk, sexual tension, as well as mystery. We get familiar with some of the other werewolves in the pack as well as rogue werewolves and the politics of the hidden world. And, of course, Elena’s two worlds begin to collide.

I enjoyed BITTEN. It started out a bit slow, but I think the pacing evened out as the series progressed. It does have a lot of the standard love/sex plot lines of most urban fantasy and no real surprises on that end (the hottest people always get to be the couple; 99% of the woman in town are young super model looking) but it’s not overboard. I think what makes it stand out from many of the urban fantasy TV shows-it did an effective job on the dark paranormal elements. The bad guys are truly disturbing. I say this because often in urban fantasy, it seems as it the bad guys are less frightening and more  just complicated and brooding. BITTEN, though, has truly violent and dangerous criminals; as well as the conflict within the ‘good guy’ wolves. In the end, all werewolves are killers to some degree and this show doesn’t shy away from their inherently violent world.

I think it’s worth a watch. I found it to be better than expected. I can get defensive when a book I like has a TV or movie adaptation falls flat- this one didn’t for me. It has some episodes that don’t quite grab you-but the characters are well defined and grow deeper. I liked the actor’s portrayal of Jeremy, the Alpha. In many ways he dominates the show. But hey, he is pack Alpha.

 

SF Obscure: First Wave

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 First Wave was a Canadian action/Adventure SF series that ran from 1998-2001. It ran for three seasons on the Space Channel in Canada. Yay Canada!

The plot centers around Cade Foster who’s framed for his wife’s murder and is on the run to uncover a vast alien conspiracy. From what I gathered-it took a bit to put the pieces together-the aliens kidnapped him and made him part of an experiment to test emotions or responses or something. Anyway, Foster doesn’t become their pawn and goes on the run. He is helped along by Eddie, a guy who ran a paranormal magazine and does all the computer nerd stuff. They are later joined in their quest to stop the aliens by an alien assassin turned ally named Joshua.

The aliens are called the Gua, who eventually intend to take over Earth. The Gua come from a star system via wormhole travel by putting their souls into little silver orbs and inhabiting human husk bodies. (This saves on the make-up budget, I am sure.) Also, salt is a highly addictive drug to the Gua. (If the Gua are inhabiting human bodies why would salt have adverse affects? Nevermind.) Apparently, Nostrodamus was a Gua and his predictions of three waves leading to the destruction of mankind are part of the alien plot. Most of the episodes involve Cade and Eddie following strange, paranormal stories and then investigating them for the true alien link. Every once and a while, law enforcement tracks Cade or aliens try to kill him.

The lead actor Sebastian Spence was later on Battlestar Galactica. I didn’t recognize him from that, but I realized that I did recognize him from the infamous X-files episode Home. Roger Cross, who plays the alien Joshua is apparently in Dark Matter (which I haven’t seen) but was also in the very fine Canadian SF show Continuum. And Traci Lords who was quite famous/infamous in the 1980’s for her porn career and the whole debate about it; but later became mainstream actress.

 First Wave is a decent show. It’s formulaic and loses steam as the episodes go on. But it’s not a bad show and it was an interesting trip down nostalgia lane.