Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Weird casting choice is weird

I've been watching Bitten over the past week or so, and to be honest, I'm a little amazed it took me this long because Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld books are one of my favourite series. They have great characters, awesome world-building, and fun stories filled with action and suspense and occasional squeeing. And yet, I was hesitant when it was announced that they were turning Bitten into a series.

Why? Because for starters, they only have the rights to the werewolf books, which basically means that they'll be forced to go non-canon pretty damned quickly. And secondly, because adaptations always come with a certain amount of "Oh. That's not how I pictured [person/place/event]" (see: the entirety of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice) or "Why didn't they include that scene?" (see: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) or "WHO DESTROYED THIS CHARACTER?????" (see: Ginny Weasley) or "Um. This is not how the plot goes at ALL." (see: anything titled The Lost World)

It's inevitable that this happens, and - based on some stuff I've seen floating around the internet - there were a lot of Women of the Otherworld fans who aren't happy with the way the show is going. I'm trying to keep an open mind - I still have two episodes left  - but there are a few things that I can't quite get over, and they mostly relate to characterisation.

1. Elena Michaels
Okay, so Elena is our protagonist. She grew up in the foster system, she fell in love with a guy, he turned her into the only female werewolf of ever. All of this applies to both the book and the series. But. Book!Elena is very jeans, t-shirt and sneakers low key. She ties her hair back with rubber bands, hates make up and perfume because it messes with her sense of smell, and she's a freelance journalist. What does the TV show give us?
A pretty pretty princess. Okay, Laura Vandervoort is pulling off Elena's character better than I thought she would in the pilot. And admittedly, Elena's a bridesmaid in this scene. But that doesn't change the fact that Elena's basically a fashion plate in every episode: multi-layered expensive clothes, heels/heeled boots in every scene, perfect hair. I have yet to see her in an outfit that looks easy to get out of in case of unexpected werewolf-ness. And for some bizarre reason, they've made her a photographer????? But they never show her with a camera or editing photos or even having camera gear lying around the house. It's a little odd.

2. Clayton Danvers
Okay, so both versions of Clay have a PhD in anthropology and teach at universities periodically. Both versions are jeans and t-shirts types. But Book!Clay is basically described as a Greek god, with blue eyes and close cropped curly blond hair and a Southern accent. (Part of me has always suspected that Kelley Armstrong had The Wedding Planner era Matthew McConaghey in her head when she wrote Clay...) Instead?
We get this guy. Who does not have a Southern accent. I'm learning to deal with him as Clay, but OH MY GOD, he looks like a total axe murderer in like half the scenes he's in. Which does kind of work for Clay's character, but DUDE. NO. Also, try washing your hair once in a while.

3. Jeremy Danvers
It's not immediately apparent in the first book, but it's revealed in a later book that Jeremy's mother was Japanese. He's described throughout the series as Eurasian-looking with black hair. This means that he turns into a black wolf (hair colour dictates fur colour). He has dark eyes and a lean build. And the show, in perhaps the most awkward casting choice of ever, gave us this dude:
*headdesk* Don't get me wrong, I think he's doing a pretty decent job of portraying the character. But it's a little bit like casting Bonnie Wright as Cho Chang, and you're just left wondering if they even bothered to read the books.

That said, I'm totally on board with the casting of Nick and Logan. And I really like the additional female characters that they've created!

Weirdly, I'm more accepting of the plot changes that have occurred than I am of the casting and costuming decisions. And the hair department decisions, for that matter. Most of the villains looks like they've been raiding a wig collection from a 1960s church camp, and it's BIZARRE...

Have you seen the show? What do you think?? Are you on Team OMG THAT WAS SO AWKWARD over the scene where Elena and Clay were flirty frolicking through the forest as wolves? Because that scene was terrible.

If you haven't seen it, have you had to live through the trauma of seeing your favourite characters mangled on screen? Any tips for coping with it?! Because I could really use them...

K xx

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