In case you missed it, there’s this series of books called The Mortal Instruments, written by Cassandra Clare. They made a movie based on the first book, City of Bones, in 2013 – and it sucked. in 2015, they announced that they were making a TV-show based on the books, called Shadowhunters – it premiered yesterday, and since it is one of the many TV-shows we are looking forward to this year, I watched it as soon as I could, and now I’m going to tell you whether it sucked or was awesome.
Spoiler-free, of course! That’s right, no spoilers in this review. I’m just going to write down my opinion. No recap, no anything spoiler-y.
I hope everyone reading this has an idea on what the books and the show are about, because if I start telling you even the gist of the story, I’ll find myself writing a 5 page recap with details and bore everyone to death. And break that spoiler-free promise I made up there.
And because I’m lazy, and it’s late, I’m just going to do a kind of list of the things I liked and didn’t like. And give you a rating. Cause it’s not fun if there’s no rating.
I’m trying to be as positive as possible, so I’ll start with the things I enjoyed:
They included Jace’s humor (as far as I could tell. After all, this was just the first 2 episodes, and they were mostly character introduction and the beginning of the story. But it was there).
The Silent Brothers are f*cking creepy, as they should be. They look like what I imagined while reading the book, and that’s always a good sign.
Isabelle’s wardrobe is the way it should be: lots of skin, very high heels – just like Cassandra Clare described it in the books.
The weapons are cool. The seraph blades are they way they should have been in the movie, and look a lot less like plastic. The steles as well. The effects in general are good. And the demons – the ones we’ve been shown thus far – are really ugly, but look real. Someone in the art department is very good at their job.
The fight scenes are worth mentioning too, because they’re kinda awesome.
And, with a couple of exceptions, the acting was as good as possible (explanation to follow in the not-so-positive-part).
Now, the not-so-positive-parts:
Clary’s wardrobe is just wrong. Book-Clary doesn’t even own anything with heels, and prefers comfortable over sexy. But, okay, that’s something I can deal with. After all, it’s a TV-show, not the book.
They made many, many changes. Some of them are fine, some of them, not so much. I’m not going to go into too much detail, because that would be spoilers, but it has to be addressed anyway. I’m not talking about the fact that the characters are a couple of years older than in the book, because that’s okay and I get why they did that; I’m more concerned with the fact that they seem to have changed a couple of character traits that are important later in the story. But I’m sure they had their reasons for what they’re doing, and again, as long as it all makes sense in the end, I’m fine with whatever changes they make. It just has to add up in the end.
The writing, on the other hand, is not something I can overlook that easily. It’s bad. I mean, really bad. Episode 1 has one too many cringe-worthy scenes, that not even the best of actors could have saved, and although it gets better in episode 2, they still have a lot – and I mean A LOT – of work to do to get that anywhere near good. It was lazy, and awkward, and just plain bad at times. And, I mean, forget comparing book and TV-show, because that has nothing to do with it. This show is its own thing, and is simply based on the books, so no one should be expecting a show that’s 100% the same as the books – but it can’t just rely on fans of the books to stick around because of their love for the books. The show has to do a lot better if it wants to even get any fans.
And Katherine McNamara’s acting has yet to convince me that she was the right choice for this role. She over-acts, and it feels like she’s trying way too hard, which sucks, because she’s one of the main characters. And, for now, she does not have much chemistry with Dominic Sherwood, AKA Jace, AKA (spoiler?) the guy she’s madly in love with and who’s madly in love with her, which might prove to be a problem at some point if things don’t change…
BUT I have not given up hope. Sometimes, TV-shows have bumpy starts, and that’s okay. I have faith that this show will get better over the course of its season; mostly because I was really looking forward to this show. I loved the books. And they could make an awesome TV-show.
Long story short, I was disappointed in the first episode, and the second one didn’t exactly convince me not to be either. But I’m still going to stay positive, and I’m looking forward to see where they’re going with what they’re doing. I’m sure Katherine McNamara will show us what she’s capable of and prove me wrong, and I reeaally hope the writing gets better, because it was hard to watch at times.
Rating? Mmh… This is unexpectedly hard. I don’t want to give it too negative a rating, because I think people who don’t know the books are going to think very diffrently of this, and I don’t want to be too, well, negative. But on the other hand, I have read the books, and I can’t help but compare the two…
So, I’m going to give it 2 ratings. For those who’ve read the books and have high hopes for the show: tone it down. It’s not terrible, but I tend toward Poor, which sucks because I really want to like this show. For those who haven’t read the books, and are looking for something fun to watch: Acceptable. It could have been a lot better, but if you don’t know the books, then there’s not too much disappointment involved. On the other hand, if you’re not super patient and want to watch something that’s great from start to finish, Shadowhunters is not for you.
That being said, give it a chance. I know I will, in the hope of it getting better. We’ll see about that, I guess.
How about you? Has anyone watched the premiere of Shadowhunters and feels like sharing their opinion? I’m curious to see if I’m just being a pessimist…