According to Daegan Fryklind, Season 2 of Bitten is horrific. But in a good way. The fantasy series’ showrunner, alongside fellow executive producer J.B. Sugar, warned fans of Space’s No. 1 original drama are in for one heck of a ride as the sophomore season hits the ground running this Saturday and doesn’t let up.
Based on the best-selling novels by Kelley Armstrong, the pair divulge this season’s go-round of 10 instalments more action-packed, funnier and bloodier than the rookie season. It’s also one of change, as a trio of witches led by Ruth Winterbourne (Tammy Isbell, Paradise Falls) aligns with Elena (Laura Vandervoort), Clay (Greyson Holt), Jeremy (Greg Bryk), Nick (Steve Lund), Logan (Michael Xavier) and Rachel (Genella Williams).
We spoke to Fryklind and Sugar about what’s in store.
How does it feel to be the No. 1 original series on Space?
J.B. Sugar: To get a show made is a huge coup. But then to actually do well and be embraced by fans … that’s the most amazing thing.
Daegan Fryklind: You’re kind of in the bubble of making the show in the first season and not entirely sure. We had a gut feeling we were doing something special but you never know until it goes out, to the fans, how it’s going to land. We had the added bonus of having the built-in fan base through the pre-existing material, but we had also changed some stuff too, so there was a fear of losing that fan base.
JBS: It’s definitely a double-edged sword having the existing fan base and the expectations that come along with an adaptation living up to the minds-eye of the reader. There were a few naysayers who said, ‘That looks nothing like in the book!’ which is really, ‘That looks nothing like what’s in my head!’
What’s it like attending conventions and meeting these fans face-to-face or interacting on Twitter? Do you read the tweets and listen to fans’ concerns and ideas?
JBS: Didn’t one of our fans write the season finale script for Season 2?
DF: [Laughs.] I’m a bit masochistic with the feedback, especially in Season 1. Not so much lately because we feel we know what the show is by now with regard to the writing and the directing and what the fans and network expect. We’re all on the same page. When Season 1 came out and we were in that interim between making the show and airing the show, I was masochistic about the reaction and there is little you can do about it. It’s already shot and in the can and all you can do is ride the wave.
JBS: The masochism comes in because you read 15 awesome, glowing reviews and there is just that one naysayer …
DF: And that’s the one you hang on to! You say, ‘I’m going to win you over!!’
Was the introduction of the coven a milestone you were ready to cross in Season 2? Did you already know that was going to happen in the midst of Season 1?
DF: It was in the discussions and there were two paths that we could have gone. We went the coven path. And once that decision was made, we had to figure out a way to bring that in in a way that both honours the source material but honours the show that we have built, the tone that we’ve built and the world that we’ve built.
JBS: Supernatural credulity. That’s something that we always think about a lot here, both tongue-in-cheek and seriously. The show we’ve strived to make is grounded in a real world and we just happen to have supernatural things going on. In translating the show and adapting it to introduce the coven, we’ve been very mindful of tempering how much magic we incorporate and what that magic looks and feels like and how it resonates in the world we created.
The other challenge is bringing in a new set of characters to interact with characters fans love from Season 1.
DF: We pick up sort of what we consider to be Episode 114. We are blending in this new world while being responsible to where we left off in Season 1 so that it’s not a blindside when it happens.
We’re going for a more horror tone in Season 2 than what we were playing last year.
JBS: That’s what bringing the whole witch element is all about. It’s given us lots of entry points for horror tropes and we’re kind of replacing the push and pull triangle of Season 1—that storyline has run its course—and it’s been replaced by this coven of witches. It’s made for a start to the season, and an overall pace, that is much more action-packed and has more gags. A lot of blood.
DF: A lot of blood!
Is it a goal that Greyston must have his shirt off in every episode?
DF: It’s not a box that we tick.
JBS: If he’s not shirtless in one episode he has to be shirtless twice in the next one.
What can you tell me about this season?
DF: One of the advantages of going in this direction in Season 2 is that can go off-book if we need to and readers of the books won’t have an preconceived notions. We use parts of the second book and then we just go to town.
Greyston was telling me there was a scene he shot earlier in the season where everyone acted very differently from what they usually do on this show.
JBS: Yes. Episode 7 is kind of an island in the middle of turmoil and that’s the first time that Clay and Elena really get to take a breath and smile.
DF: It’s an intense season. As J.B. mentioned, we don’t step off the gas pedal at all. We have this little breather in 207 but there are elements in 207 that are still putting our characters through the grinder. My boyfriend and I joke sometimes and wonder what it would be like to go out on a date with Clay and Elena? They are an intense couple! That would be a very serious dinner! There would be a lot of meat.
JBS: You’d have to eat quick. Distract Clay and grab a chicken leg.
Bitten airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT on Space.