Werewolves on SPACE

Laura Vandervoort as Elena Michaesl

Bitten was my first real introduction to urban fantasy and supernatural books. I fell in love with Kelley Armstrong‘s Women of the Otherworld series. Part of my love comes from national pride: both Armstrong and her main character Elena Michaels are Canadian and it’s always nice to find the familiar in something you’re reading or watching.

The story goes: Elena is the only female to survive a werewolf bite, but she’s not too keen on pack life. A product of the more negative aspects of the foster care system, family doesn’t quite mean the same thing to her as it does to her pack. Since wolves tend to mate for life, her ex, Clay Danvers, is a little upset by this concept. Circumstances draw Elena back to the pack’s home at Stonehaven and murder and mystery ensue.

Greyston Holt as Clay Danvers

Since I learned last year about plans already underway for a TV series, I’ve been patiently excited. After Lost Girl, I’m quite happy to see more Canadian-made supernatural shows getting some attention. This month, SPACE released first looks from the set and fans are, unsurprisingly, already up in arms by what we’re seeing (video). We’ve been waiting for Clay’s blond curls and southern drawl, but we won’t be getting either. Elena’s casting is acceptable, but personally, I would have liked to see a more Asian Jeremy Danvers. That might just be because I have a thing for quietly powerful, broody darkangels with long black hair.

Still, I’m not upset by what I’ve seen so far. I’m far more interested in actors that understand and can bring to life the internal workings of a character than just having someone who looks (and sounds) the part. There have been enough excellent examples of actors (e.g. 50% of the Game of Thrones cast) doing this that I am willing to be cautiously optimistic. More so because Armstrong seemed to feel the same way when I asked her about it. When I visited Fan Expo last summer and learned about the show, I got to chat briefly with her. I was curious about her involvement. I always worry that great stories will be swept away from their creators, like Ursula K. Leguin’s issues with EarthSea, if the creator isn’t involved enough. Armstrong noted that she had seen the some of the pre-production concepts (and didn’t seem bothered by any of it), but she specifically did not want to be part of the casting because she felt her idea of how her characters should look would cause too much bias. I was glad to hear that she was able to let that go, so hopefully, fandom will find it in our hearts to forgive as well, once we see what the show actually has to offer us.

Ignoring Laura Vandervoort’s references to 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight, the on set video snippets and interviews seem to confirm to me that the creative team and the actors have grasped the essence of the story and characters (and are aware of what the fans will be upset about, with actor Greyston Holt already apologizing for Clay’s lack of a southern drawl), which is far more important to me as a fan of the books. I particularly love that the pack’s home, Stonehaven, has been recognized as a character unto itself and given the love and attention it deserves with details including first and foremost, Jeremy Danver’s paintings on the wall.

For now, Bitten is focusing, it seems, on Armstrong’s first book, but I definitely plan to stick around to see if the world of the werewolves will expand to include the other Women of the Otherworld and the respective supernatural races they belong to.

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