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Series / Bitten

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Bitten is a 2014 Canadian television series based on The Otherworld series of books by author Kelley Armstrong; the show is named after the first book. The majority of the filming for the series is done in Toronto, Canada. The series premiered on January 11, 2014, and was broadcast on Space Channel in Canada and Syfy in the United States.

The series stars Laura Vandervoort, of Smallville and V (2009) fame, as Elena Michaels, the world's only female werewolf. Elena is living in Toronto, trying to enjoy a "normal" life, only to find herself called back to Bear Valley by her pack. The packs are the ruling power of the werewolves and are being challenged by a rogue member of their species killing people on their doorstep. Elena must decide whether to stay with her family or try to continue living her normal life, all the while dealing with an increasingly difficult situation.

The second season premiered in February of 2015 and was loosely based on Stolen, the second book in the series. The third and final season, which is not based on any of the books, aired from February 12, 2016 to April 15, 2016.

Spoilers for seasons one and two are unmarked.


  • Action Girl: Elena can kick any member of the Pack's ass but Clay. She just won't kill if she can help it.
  • Actual Pacifist: Elena is trying to live like this, but changes her tune after Peter dies.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection:
    • Aleister is linked to Ruth and Paige, being their son and half-brother respectively.
    • Clay was bitten as a child by Malcolm rather than an unnamed werewolf.
    • Victor Olson was Elena's neighbor when she was younger, and she was one of his victims.
    • Werewolves and witches are connected, with the former being created by a witch's curse. The books use a vague "evolution creates supernatural races" handwave.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • Elena and Clay have a more stable onscreen relationship than they do in the novels.
    • Paige and Nick have a brief romance in the series, which did not happen in the novels.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Malcolm appears much earlier than he did in the books, as the true leader of the Mutt uprising. In the novels, he doesn't reappear until long after the events of the first book.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Roman Novikev (spelled Navikev in the series). In the books, he tries to reach out and make connections with other packs. In the series, he has a longstanding blood feud with Sasha Antonov (whom he blames for his daughter Natayla's death) and is more than willing to threaten the Pack for sheltering Sasha and his children.
  • Artistic License Geography:
    • Stonehaven is 100 miles west of Syracuse, in the middle of nowhere, and the closest town, 50 miles away, is "Bear Valley." Apparently Buffalo and Rochester no longer exist.
    • For some reason, a train goes from Toronto to Bear Valley. Especially egregious considering that this was filmed in Toronto, and they should know better.
    • The Pack drove from Rochester to Baton Rouge in the same day, approximately 1400 miles.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Played with. Jeremy isn't the strongest werewolf in the Pack; Clay is generally considered the stronger of the two, but Jeremy has a lifetime of fighting experience, so a fight between them might go either way. However, Clay sees no reason to challenge Jeremy because Jeremy's true strength is being a Reasonable Authority Figure which inspires fierce loyalty in Clay and other members of the Pack. Since the Pack is able to work as a team, they can deliver way more asskicking than any of the individualistic Mutts, and thus they essentially rule werewolf society.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Scott Brandon, the first Mutt that Elena and Clay hunt in the series, believes his powers give him the right to do whatever he wants to "normal" people. This includes a rape and killing spree across Bear Valley.
    • Thomas LeBlanc is also a violent Serial Killer and rapist.
    • The Albino and his twin brother are ruthless, depraved hitmen working for the Russian pack.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Elena rejects Clay's advances with acrimony, but a sexy dream sequence reveals she still fantasizes about him.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Logan and Elena.
  • Blood from Every Orifice: How Aleister's spell kills Dr. Bauer.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Elena, several times.
  • Bonding over Missing Parents: Elena and Savannah bond over having lost their parents at a young age.
  • Canis Major: Because werewolves retain their human mass, they turn into unusually large wolves.
  • Canon Foreigner: Clara, Aleister, and the Antonovs (Sasha, Katia and Alexei).
  • The Chosen One: Sort of. In the entirety of human history, Elena is the only female werewolf ever created.
  • Composite Character: Aleister has shades of multiple characters from the books. His position as the original financier of the scientific program to kidnap and study supernaturals comes from the book's Tyrone Winsloe, while him wanting custody of Savannah is a role taken from Savannah's father Kristof Nast and the half-demon Leah O'Donnell. Finally, him being an Evil Sorcerer leading the experiments in The Institute comes from the books' Isaac Katzen.
  • Compressed Adaptation:
    • Season 2 has whole chunks of the book it's based on cut out to simplify and streamline things. The facility where Elena is held only contains her and Savannah, as opposed to a multitude of different supernaturals. Their purpose is to enable Aleister to kill all witches, as opposed to the book's purpose of studying supernaturals to discover their origins.
    • The show also removes the distinction between sorcerers and witches. The former and their contentious history with witches are cut out, and Aleister being a male magic user is treated as violating a sacred commandment.
    • Similarly, Karl's plotline in the later books (focusing on his partnership and eventual romance with Hope Adams) is cut out from the series entirely, with Hope herself being Adapted Out. His decision to join the Pack happens towards the end of season three, about a year or so after the first season; it took him an in-universe six years to come to the same decision in the books.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Approximately thirty years ago, Ruth gave birth to a male child, Aleister, and blackmailed Clara into killing him by threatening to expose her use of black magic to the coven. Clara could not go through with it and spared his life instead, leaving him in front of a church. After Ruth became coven leader, she destroyed Clara's talisman after she was found trading spells for money, making her powerless as a witch. Clara hunted Aleister down and told him who and what he was in revenge for Ruth's actions.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Lycanthropy comes with super-strength, speed, and a lengthened lifespan. The only downside is the need to change once every week or so, which Elena does not enjoy.
  • Death by Adaptation: Antonio, Phillip and Karl.
    • Malcolm is a special case, since in the books they Never Found the Body and he is later revealed to be alive. In the series, he dies on-screen.
  • Demoted to Extra: Karl only appears once in season 2. He's a recurring character again in season 3.
  • The Dragon: Clay serves as this to Jeremy, handling most of the Pack's enforcement.
  • The Dreaded: The Albino. Karl puts it best in "Rule of Anger":
    Karl: I traveled to Russia. Heard tales of the Albino: the werewolf with one red eye. Appeared and disappeared like a ghost. Even the most stout-hearted crossed themselves and spat. I thought it was a convenient fable. A boogeyman for Roman's men.
    The Albino: (turns to fully face Karl, revealing his red eye) Do you believe in the boogeyman?
  • Dysfunction Junction: Pete was a drug addict whose loss of control caused a girl's death, Clay was changed as a child and abandoned in a swamp, and Elena was the victim of a pedophile. Fortunately, There Are No Therapists is averted with Logan.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Nick is introduced cheerily answering the phone in the middle of a threesome with a woman and a man.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The relationship between Aleister and Dr. Bauer is...unconventional, to say the least. It initially looks as though he is mostly using her for her intellect, but when she turns herself into a werewolf and is driven insane as a result, he seems genuinely distressed and upset. As heartless as he is, he does appear to care about her.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Notably Nick and Elena, albeit not with each other.
  • Family of Choice: The Pack is like this to each other, albeit with a fair bit of dysfunction. During Elena's speech after she becomes Alpha and chooses to do away with the position altogether, she refers to them as a "found family."
  • Fanservice: Pretty much the entire point of the show. The men and Elena are constantly getting undressed on-camera. Justified as they're werewolves.
  • Female Gaze: The author of the books that the series is based on and the show's creator are both women, and the series is largely told from Elena's perspective, focusing on her experiences and interpersonal relationships.
    • The sex scenes tend to reflect this as well. While they are blatant Fanservice, they do emphasize the female characters' enjoyment without going overboard into anything too porn-tastic.
    • The usual Double Standard is subverted multiple times. Notably there are two separate scenes of Nick very happily performing oral sex on a woman. The very first introduction of his character even shows him in the middle of a threesome. While A Threesome Is Hot, in the series it's a guy-girl-guy threesome rather than the much more common two-girls-and-a-guy version that's usually shown.
  • For Science!: Dr. Sondra Bauer is clearly not without empathy, but it's totally subsumed by her hunger to understand the supernatural people she's studying.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Relatively speaking. The rebel Mutts' strategy in the beginning of the first season was to break Serial Killers like Scott Brandon and Thomas LeBlanc out of prison, turn them into werewolves and drop them on the Pack's territory. Downplayed in that they were already scary, but being bitten made them exponentially scarier.
  • Genius Bruiser: Clay is introduced giving a lecture at a college, yet it's easy to forget considering he's perhaps the strongest individual werewolf in the Pack.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: After becoming unexpectedly pregnant, Rachel is excited to be a mother. That changes in season 2 when she gets kidnapped, experimented upon, and tortured because Logan (and by extension the baby boy she's pregnant with) are werewolves. She has an abortion off-screen, largely because she cannot deal with all these new aspects in her life...except it was a lie to get Logan out of her life, as she was afraid of what he was.
  • Heroic BSoD: Elena has two: the first after her first kill, the second after Peter's death.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All of the Season One episodes have one-word titles, all of the Season Two episodes have two-word titles, and all of the Season Three episodes have three-word titles.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Elena hates being a werewolf. Given that Clay forced her into their world by biting her against her will, it's not hard to see why.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Used by Clay on various Mutts.
  • Killed Off for Real: Peter at the end of episode three, Antonio in episode seven, and Phillip in the season 1 finale.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: A common response of the Pack to humans who find out their secret.
  • Magical Seventh Son: Clay claims in "Rabbit Hole" that the first werewolf was the seventh son of a seventh son.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Elena is a gorgeous blonde female werewolf who is constantly forced to be undressed, perpetually horny, and an Action Girl. Clay is a Mr. Fanservice, since he has all of the werewolf points (nudity, sexual drive) and is a broody anthropology professor.
  • No Name Given: Scott Brandon, the killer Mutt that Elena and Clay are tracking in the first three episodes, isn't actually named onscreen until they find his prison record in the fourth, an episode after he was run over and died.
  • No Nudity Taboo: The Pack have this due to their constant shifting.
  • One-Gender Race: Two examples so far:
    • Hereditary werewolves are always male, with lycanthropy passed from father to son. Subverted in that while Elena is a female werewolf, she was bitten and survived the Change rather than being born that way.
    • Witches only have female children. They are able to have male children, but this is forbidden since it violates a commandment. The only exception is Aleister.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: They can be either bitten or hereditary, aren't affected by the phases of the moon, can become wolves at any time so long as they don't hold off on it, and can be killed by normal methods. They only become actual wolves, not hybrid wolfmen, but are larger than most normal wolves because they retain the same mass as their human forms.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The story behind Elena's issues with Clay is dramatically altered, since in the books he panicked and bit her after taking her home to introduce her to Jeremy. In the series, however, they arrived at Stonehaven just as Jeremy was Changing after a run and there was a real risk of Elena having seen him. Jeremy had planned to kill her to avoid risking exposure, so in-series Clay actually saved her life. This also serves to simplify/avoid having to explain the complicated 10-year on-and-off relationship Elena and Clay had in the books before getting together again for good and makes their on-screen relationship more stable.
  • Psycho for Hire: The Albino and his twin are hitmen working for the Russian Alpha.
  • Puberty Superpower: Witches appear to manifest their powers around the onset of puberty.
  • Rape as Backstory: Elena was sexually abused as a child by Victor Olsen. The trope is less exploitative than usual, as the scene where she reveals it to her boyfriend is handled quite tastefully with a discussion about how men sometimes react. Similarly, Clay bit her without her even knowing that he was a werewolf, and the change nearly killed her. Regardless of how justified it was, it created a rift between them.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Victor Olsen is a pedophile and now a werewolf.
  • Shirtless Scene: So many. Some occur before the Change into werewolf form, and some don't. Every male character in the main cast has at least one, even Jeremy, although his is very brief and more implied than anything else.
  • Shipper on Deck: Jeremy's plans for the crew is always along the lines of "everyone split up, Elena and Clay go somewhere secluded together."
  • The Smurfette Principle: Two in-universe examples.
    • Elena is the only woman to ever survive being turned into a werewolf. Averted in the sense that Rachel Sutton is also a member of the main cast.
    • Inverted with Aleister, who is the only known male witch.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Dating a supernatural creature without knowing about their true nature often won't work out well. Both Phillip and Rachel have bad reactions once they learn about Logan and Elena, especially since they found out in the worst ways possible. Phillip's relationship with Elena also leads to his death, while Rachel ends things with Logan after being kidnapped. Rachel does come around to the supernatural in the end, but Logan is killed, meaning she loses any chance of fully reconciling with him.
    • Elena's fight with Aleister went only one way. This is what happens when someone who depends solely on their powers to fight loses them before facing a martial artist.
    • Similarly, before she is able to finally kill him, Elena's fight against Malcolm is mostly her being wailed on. It's a realistic version of what happens when a woman goes up against someone much bigger and stronger than she is, even accounting for werewolves' supernatural strength, and who isn't holding back in a fight.
    • The wolves have a hard time trusting the witches, and are often rude to them. Usually a side effect of having people break into their houses several times, use magic to literally blind them, and repeatedly lift them up in the air as an intimidation tactic.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Elena and Rachel are a textbook example.
  • Tsundere: Clay is a rare male example.
  • The Unmasqued World: In the final episode of the series, Elena makes the decision to blow The Masquerade wide open, having Sasha transform into a wolf in front of a room full of reporters. The final moments of the series consist of broadcasts from all over the world showing how humanity is dealing with the knowledge that werewolves exist.
  • Verbed Title: Besides the show itself, the Season One episode "Caged" is titled this way.
  • Wall Bang Her: Nick and Paige in season 2, although technically it's against a tree rather than a wall.
  • Werewolf Works: Elena is the star of the series, which is about werewolves.
  • Woman Were-Woes: The whole premise of the show is that the protagonist, Elena Michaels, is the world's only female werewolf. Thus, she is inherently weaker than most any other werewolf. Also, given that the werewolves have no taboo against nudity and she is the only female...
  • Working with the Ex: How Elena views her relationship with Clay.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Scott Brandon kills an eleven-year-old without qualms.
    • Victor Olsen is a pedophile so, obviously, this trope applies.

Alternative Title(s): The Otherworld