SLIDER

Shadowhunters, Season One: Episodes 1 - 2 (2016)


Book-to-screen adaptations are a popular trend in today’s pop culture. Just because they might have been tried once (going down in epic failure), doesn’t mean following the adage “try, try again” is off the table. The just-launched Freeform (formerly ABC Family) series, Shadowhunters is out to prove its better than its predecessor big-screen counterpart and perhaps find a place on our TV for a handful of seasons.  


Turning eighteen is a normal teenage milestone for Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara). But for her mother (Maxim Roy), it’s the beginning of a dangerous world Clary knows nothing of yet has little choice in embracing. On her 18th birthday, a series of events lead up to her entire world upending. Not long after the exciting news that she’s been accepted to art school, Clary’s birthday night out along with best friend, Simon (Alberto Rosende), is interrupted when she serendipitously meets Jace Waylen (Dominic Sherwood). A boy she isn’t supposed to see, Jace is on the trail of dangerous prey, and doesn’t have time to wonder at the fact that a human can see him – a daemon hunter known as a Shadowhunter.  

When Clary follows Jace into a club to get some answers (answers to why her friend couldn’t see Jace and why the stranger’s tattoos are showing up in her sketchbook), she is witness to a murder. Confessed, angry and feeling like she’s going crazy, Clary turns to her mother. It’s then that she learns her mother has been lying to her; there is such a thing as a Shadowhunter… and Clary is one of them. When their home comes under attack, before more questions can be asked, Jocelyn sends Clary to the only person she can trust, Luke (Isaiah Mustafa), hoping that by protecting Clary, she can protect the one thing the evil Valentine (Alan Van Sprang) really seeks.  

TV SHOW REVIEW | The Shannara Chronicles (2016)
 

In 2012, this young adult novel was adapted into a big-screen film. Based on the best-selling novels by Cassandra Clare, the story isn’t exactly my ideal cup of tea however I did see the film and liked it more than anticipated. At the same time, it wasn’t enough to tempt me to read the novels and following some cursory reading of reviews for the novel, I decided it wasn’t a book suited for me. Feeling justified in this (plus I’ve been told Clare’s “Infernal Devices” series is superior anyway), I watched ‘The Mortal Instruments’ without strings and promptly forgot about it. Then news of a new series was born, and as I watched the first two episodes of it, I was again brought back to the film. 

Much as I try not to do so, comparisons inevitably happen in any re-tooling. Such is the lot with this new hour-long drama. Though I don’t remember the film all that well (it’s one I’d now like to rent again - and since this writing have bought), I can say with 99% certainty there is one important thing about it that was superior to this show. This is the character of Clary Fray. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m not convinced by her character in this. I’m leaning more towards the actress (who, don’t misunderstand, isn’t bad as an actress, I just don’t think this role suits her) Katherine, who plays her. It stands to reason this is more the reason as I do like the character, but whatever the reason, I cannot put my finger on it. The rest of the cast is fantastic including the much buzzed about Dominic Sherwood, and Alberto as Simon seems perfectly ideal for the role. 

FILM REVIEW | The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)
 

In the end, I did enjoy this in a “guilty pleasure” show kind of way. There’s lots of flashy appeal which is amped up to pull in a trendy, young audience. All of this is jumpstarted by the "hook" opening sequence that, I will admit, drew me in from the moment the series opens. If nothing else did, I’d have to admit the filming of that opening intrigued me. As a “show to watch,” this certainly has potential. I’m not convinced everything it chose to do worked though it must have done something right enough. It’s got me hooked enough to tune in for a third episode, and no matter the show, that’s always the end game.  

(Content: aside from the magical elements – daemons, murders and other mythical themes, there is really no content to mention. Isabel dresses immodestly. The show has a deserved TV14 rating.)

4 comments

  1. This was another show that peaked my interest but I wasn't sure if I wanted to use my "tv time" on. ;) I haven't seen it yet, but I always thought the main actress was a weird pick too. Anyways, this was super helpful - thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

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    1. I hear ya', Bekah! When we have as many shows as we do (least I think you're in the same place I am :D), we have to pick and chose. I haven't gone back and watched more of this however I do have an episode in iTunes. Perhaps I'll get to it this weekend. Given how many books I'm in need to reading, I'm trying to limit the TV shows I watch. For now. ;)

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  2. Yeah. I have to agree with you about the actress for Clary. She felt too superficial and not down-to-earth enough. I like the Clary from the movie better. I do, however, like the Jace in this one better than the movie Jace. I haven't watched episode two, just one. I'm thinking that it'll just fall flat for me, but we'll see.

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    1. YES! I've not even read the book so I don't know about the book-to-TV transition, but something about Katherine as Clary just doesn't jive. I did think Movie Clary was LOTS better, but then that could partially be because I really like Lily Collins.

      Either way, Jace is great! I definitely agree, and I though the opening was great - the story "hook" intrigued right away. :)

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