This post contains spoilers.
Hello lovely people! I’ve been in a complete fangirl mode these past few weeks with Shadowhunters and I thought I’d share my thoughts on the first season; I’ve done movie reviews in the past – okay maybe just once – but I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time! For those of you unaware, Shadowhunters is the TV show based on Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series, on Freeform. TMI is by far a favorite fantasy book series of mine and it has a lot of spin offs and other books.
The Mortal Instruments’ attempt at the big screen 3 years ago was warmly embraced by the fans at a time where YA books were all over Hollywood. TMI was just another franchise waiting to happen but with a lot more action and fantasy than most, and then the movie did the classic mistake to not only not follow the book but also to spoil a huge plot twist intentionally to keep the audience from rejecting future movies. Back then, everyone was talking about those few minutes in the book that book fans waited years for. There are somethings that you don’t ruin, and one of those things is a book twist.
That was the one and only movie made.
A few years later a TV show was announced and judging by the reaction, it was the right move. Shadowhunters found a home at Freeform and got renewed for Season 2!
Admittedly early reviews were lukewarm, personally I was so looking forward to finally have a visual of my favorite book characters that I paid little attention to the mediocre acting and flashy visual effects. But each episode was an improvement and soon I was hooked.
The characters have been adapted to fit an older version of themselves, like most book-to-movie plots, but the world remains the same rich and well build, beautiful crafted world we’ve known from the books.
All the stories are true.
Beyond what normal people aka mundanes can see, there’s a whole hidden world. Vampires, demons, werewolves, faeries and warlocks are all real and the Shadowhunters are human born with angelic blood who protect humans from demons. And look hot in leather while doing it. Clary Fray aka Fairchild, is one of them but unaware of it because of her mother trying not so successfully in the end to protect her from her destiny. YA material right there.
Clary Fray — The classic YA heroine to be honest, her mother has kept her whole life a secret from her, including her father among other things, but the book does a good job explaining how: Magic.
Jace Wayland/Morgenstern/Lightwood/Herondale — Possibly the one character with the ultimate identity crisis happening throughout the entire series since his identity plays a huge part in the story. Also, hot. And he’ll tell you all about it, because unlike other YA heroes Jace isn’t the shy type. He’s hot, he knows it, he flaunts it. Deal with it.
Alec Lightwood — Disclaimer: Alec is my favorite character of the series, and I will be a bit biased. Alec is the usual YA friend who is in love with the heroine but in reverse, he’s in love with Jace, who happens to be his parabatai – fighters bound for life, like brothers – and it’s pretty obvious in the books but not in the cheesy way. Alec is a sold character, he’s a fighter and in the TV show he’s basically the only one that will call all the over the top drama. One of the reasons I love him.
Isabelle Lightwood — Alec’s sister, the hotter heroine in the series, but also badass at the same time. For once the other female in a YA is not a mean girl – well not in a bad way anyway – she’s smart and hot and kickass, and again, she, too, knows it. The TMI characters are very outspoken when it comes to their appearance.
Simon Lewis — The friendzoned friend of the heroine. The friendzone is so strong with this one, it’s the classic YA type but with a lot of twists that made this character stand out from all the friendzoned friends.
Magnus Bane — The warlock. Also, Alec’s boyfriend. Magnus is the best, he’s the High Warlock of Brooklyn and he’s a billion years old – but not aged because magic – and he is the one that brings a fresh air to this series, along with Alec of course.
Luke Garroway — Werewolf. Clary’s to-be-adopted father and Alpha. His story is beautiful and him and Jocelyn (Clary’s mother) have a good subplot happening, also she’s kind of in a coma a lot, so yeah, poor Luke.
Jocelyn Fray — The mother. Her backstory is pretty impressive but during the first season she’s pretty much in a self-induced coma to keep the bad guy aka her (ex?) husband from using her. Not helpful to just leave her daughter to deal with a lifetime of secrets and an entire hidden world she’s supposed to be a part of, but what can you do?
Not sleep the entire season.
Valentine Morgenstern — The bad guy from above. He has a different view of how the world is supposed to be, doesn’t care much for mundanes aka people and let’s say plot wise, he makes things interesting.
As I mentioned before, the TV was the second attempt to bring this story to life and the start was weaker than I
expected. The movie had a darker edge but also wasn’t afraid to address the hilarity of the situation, and be genuinely funny while doing it just like the book. The TV takes itself way too seriously which would be acceptable if there weren’t so many plot flaws especially during the first half of the season that the readers especially can’t help but notice.
The technology for once, to me at least, seemed unnecessary. For fighters that have angel blood and runes for everything, having CSI-like equipment seemed out of place. Shadowhunters have been around for centuries, they didn’t need that stuff back then and they don’t need them now, trying to make the world a little more 2016-ish was not needed.
All the people! During the entire season we see people in the New York Institute (sort of like a Shadowhunters HQ) going back and forth with tablets on their hands and just pacing to fill the scene or occasionally do some training… but when it comes to the actual fighting there’s only the trio, Jace/Izzy/Alec and their new sidekick Clary. Why have all the extras if you’re not going to use them as actual Shadowhunters?
Those are a few things that have bothered me in comparison to the book. But the show is trying to differentiate from the book so as to give the readers an extra element of surprise and it paid off.
Twist wise, the show is very loyal to the book, no spoilers and no accidental or on purpose reveals. And they are taking another way to get the different couples to get together, frankly their main couple, Jace and Clary did have a poor chemistry and they did the whole insta thing; but then things changed and another couple became a favorite which also showed a huge character development.
Magnus and Alec.
Alec goes from being the silent broody type to a little bit more outspoken and kind of sassy. He gets shocked when he finds out his parents have been in some shady business in the past and that turns his world upside down. He’s the only one that has a sold character development and also it seems like a smooth process, not forced to fit the plot. Him and Magnus share a magnificent scene on episode 12 just before the season finale episode and it was a game changer.
He’s my favorite, what can I say?
I’m hooked. What started as a maybe I’ll watch an episode or two became a weekly obsession with book differences that ultimately made even book fans feel anxious in a good way and that is not easy to do. The second season will air sometime early 2017, so you’ve got plenty of time to binge watch and read the books, trust me this is a world that will hook you in!
Have you read the books or seen the TV show yet?