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October 9, 2013

Syfy's 'Bitten': Why we need a female-centric werewolf drama series


TV is about to get extra-werewolfy now that Syfy acquired the first season of new Canadian series "Bitten."

Season 1 of "Bitten," consisting of 13 one-hour episodes, will premiere on Syfy in 2014, the network announced on Tuesday (Sept. 17). Based on the New York Times best-selling "Women of the Otherworld" novels by Kelley Armstrong, the new drama is an emotionally charged supernatural thriller.

Before you groan and say, "Not another one!" this new series is one that we as a TV audience desperately need for one fact only: the series revolves around a female werewolf.

"Bitten" stars "Smallville's" Laura Vandervoort as Elena Michaels, the lone female werewolf in existence. Desperate to escape both a world she never wanted to be part of and the man who turned her into a werewolf, Elena has abandoned her Pack and taken refuge in a new city. There, she works as a photographer and hides her werewolf existence from her new boyfriend. When bodies start turning up in her Pack's backyard, Elena finds herself back at Stonehaven, the werewolves' ancestral domain. Torn between two worlds and two loves, she quickly realizes that - when push comes to shove - she'll stop at nothing to defend her Pack.

What may come as a shock is the fact that -- despite supernatural thrillers being all the rage -- this is the first time that a werewolf story revolves around a female character. Described by Syfy as "a strong female lead at its core," "Bitten" is breaking new ground. Sure, other supernatural TV series have female werewolves -- "The Vampire Diaries" and "Teen Wolf" immediately come to mind -- but those characters are on the periphery. Why haven't female werewolves had as much attention as males?

One shallow reason could be that werewolves, when "wolfed out," are pretty hairy and beast-like. That's not exactly a feminine look, having facial fur and the body hair of a waxer's nightmare. Whereas other supernatural beings like vampires can be sexy when "vamped out" -- the word "vamp" literally means when a woman uses her sex appeal to exploit and entrap men -- werewolves are beasts. Overgrown, wild dogs.

Another, less shallow and more psychological reason could be that since the werewolf is all "id," and therefore sexual, and women aren't "allowed" to be that way, it's always been more accepted for a male to be a werewolf. "Bitten" is going to make that argument invalid when it premieres in 2014.

"Bitten" also stars Greg Bryk ("Rookie Blue") as werewolf Pack "Alpha" Jeremy Danvers, Greyston Holt ("Alcatraz") as Elena's werewolf ex-boyfriend Clayton Danvers, and Paul Greene ("The Client List") as Elena's current beau, Philip McAdams.

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