TV Show Reviews

Event Recap + TV Show Review: Shadowhunters

Okay, this was supposed to go up weeks ago but I got sick on-and-off a couple times and things just got really busy. So sorry for the lateness!

TV Show: Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments

Based on The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Network: Freeform (formerly ABC Family)

Premiere Date: January 12, 2016

Summary:

After her mother is kidnapped, Clary must venture into the dark world of demon hunting in order to find clues that can help her find her mother. (via IMDB)

Cast:

Katherine McNamara – Clary Fray
Dominic Sherwood – Jace Wayland
Alberto Rosende – Simon Lewis
Matthew Daddario – Alec Lightwood
Emeraude Toubia – Isabelle Lightwood
Isaiah Mustafa – Luke Garroway
Harry Shum, Jr. – Magnus Bane
Maxim Roy – Jocelyn Fray
Alan van Sprang – Valentine Morgenstern
Jon Cor – Hodge Starkweather

Official Website | IMDB | Facebook


Thoughts:

Let me start off by saying that I’m one of the few who actually enjoyed the movie and adored the cast. I loved all the actors of the main cast (especially Jamie, Lily, and Robbie), the special effects were fantastic, and they stayed true to the book for 70% of the movie. The heart of the series was there. The only things I didn’t really like were some of the cheesy scenes, Valentine being some crazy dude with dreadlocks, and Clary cleaning up her apartment using a rune (seriously WTF?). Other than that, the movie was really enjoyable. I was also lucky enough to meet the cast twice and can personally say that they are awesome people. Fantastic actors that were victims of bad writing. That’s part of the reason why I was wary from the moment they announced that we were getting a do-over in the form of an ABC Family TV show.

I had very low expectations for Shadowhunters. I gave up hope that they would stick close to the book when Cassie said so herself that, in comparison, the movie was closer to the book than the TV show is going to be. And I’m glad I had low expectations and was wary about the show because then I wasn’t as disappointed when I saw the first two episodes the night it premiered. I didn’t absolutely hate the show, but I didn’t really like it either.

Event Recap:

My friends Stephanie and Carmen hosted a Shadowhunters premiere party at their place on January 12, 2016, and there were about eleven or twelve of us there watching the show together. It was really fun and, to be honest, I was more excited about the party and hanging out with my friends and other fans, than watching the actual show.

First fan party I attended was at the L.A. Institute 😉
They made lovely Rune cupcakes – one batch chocolate with cream cheese and, the other, rainbow (Magnus inspired, of course) which were my favorite, Simon’s blue drink, and Carmen even made her own Mortal Cup.

Carmen and Steph’s gorgeous set-up at their Shadowhunters premiere party.

Rune cupcakes!!

Group photo before watching the show!

We had lots of fun while watching the show, occasionally laughing, making comments, and just enjoying ourselves. After finishing episode 1, we discovered that the next episode was already available on Freeform’s website so we just had to watch it, too. After some setting up we managed to stream the second episode on the TV. Afterwards, we just had fun with the photo booth area.


The following are my reviews for each episode aired so far, so that makes it 4. Each episode is sectioned off so feel free to scroll down to other episodes.

Episode Review:

Episode 1.01 – The Mortal Cup

Pros:

– Clary and Simon friendship: That piggyback ride in the begging was so adorable, and I loved their interaction at the Institute when Simon saw what she was wearing and gave her his hoodie to cover up. Haha

– Clary talking to air: I love how they had more scenes like this in the show. In the movie they only showed it once and it was funny. With the show, we got two in the first episode and it was much more hilarious because it involved more people and was more interactive. There was actually other people there to tell Clary straight-out that, from their perspective, she was going crazy and talking to air. I especially loved the scene in front of the Institute when she runs over to Jace after he killed the Circle member who attacked them, points at the guy and says, “Is he dead?” Just seeing her say that and point at nothing was so, so funny I couldn’t help but agree that she did look crazy.

– Clary’s reaction when she got home: Kat’s performance in this scene was fantastic. I could really feel that Clary was in anguish over losing her mom, but then she takes charge, and manages to find the resolve and courage to investigate the apartment.

– Simon: Alberto rocks as Simon. I didn’t think I’d like anyone else portraying Simon other than Robbie Sheehan but Alberto does an amazing job, too. His scenes were probably my favorite throughout the entire episode, well, except for the band performance… Not feeling the whole acoustic thing with an aged-up Maureen.

– Alec: Matthew Daddario is absolutely PERFECT as Alec. I wish we had him in the movie because he would’ve fit perfectly with the cast, especially with Godfrey portraying Magnus. Oh, and not to mention Matt is ridiculously gorgeous.

– Isabelle: I love how TV Isabelle has more character and is a closer portrayal of the book character. Emeraude is beautiful and portrays Isabelle almost perfectly. The only thing that I find strange is how friendly and carefree she is.

– Runes: In some parts I thought they looked weird, especially how they can be “de/activated” but after seeing it for two episodes I quickly got accustomed to it. I liked how the Glamour had its down rune, too, because from what I remember in the books, it’s not specified that a Glamour is created by drawing a Rune. I always wondered about it.

Cons:

– The Circle: Look absolutely ridiculous wearing suits like the Men in Black and sunglasses inside a night club. Yeah, that totally doesn’t look conspicuous at all.

– Dot: She’s supposed to be Dorothea, but they made her younger to act as an older sister figure to Clary. Uh… why? One of the factors that makes Clary’s friendship with Simon so special is that, before meeting the Shadowhunters, she doesn’t have any other friends besides him. I just didn’t see the point in aging her down closer to Clary’s age.

– Jocelyn: I really, really miss Lena Headey. She was an amazing Jocelyn and I absolutely adored her in the movie. TV Jocelyn is really bland and forgettable. Plus, she fainted ridiculously quick after taking just one SMALL sip of the potion. Why’d she have so much of it then if it only took a very small amount to knock her out?

– Stele gift: It doesn’t make sense to me why Jocelyn would give Clary a stele as a birthday gift. All these years she’s been hiding the Shadowhunter world from her and just because she’s turning 18 and the memory spell is wearing off – again – she decides to suddenly give her a stele?

– Cheesy/Awkward lines: I cringed when Clary said she was “turning 18, not going on an epic journey.” Who even says something like that? That line was so awkward and just felt like the writers were trying too hard to either be ironic or funny. That line failed at both. Also, not to mention the scene where Clary (she says a lot of the worst lines) wakes up in the Institute and says, “So, what? I’m miraculously healed and all of you… stunning people have magical powers?” She just called Jace stunning out of the blue… Just blurted that out. Just, ugh. No.

– Jace: I absolutely adore Dom. Seriously. And I know he can do sassy and sarcastic because he did a fantastic portrayal of Christian Ozera in Vampire Academy, so I have no idea why he can’t do the same with Jace. There were several lines that could have – should have – been hilarious if he had only delivered the line properly. Every time he said an egotistical line, I expected to find it funny like I did with the book or the movie, but it… wasn’t. He just sounded, well, full of himself. Then there were lines that he said awkwardly, like when he first bumped into Clary he suddenly burst out saying, “YOU have the Sight!” Now that line I actually burst out laughing (and cringed, too), but I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be funny. Also, I’m not feeling this overly touchy-feely Jace. He’s barely met Clary and already he’s caressing her jaw and unnecessarily touching her, then when she faints he picks her up and says softly, “I got you.” Uh, that’s SO not Jace in the beginning of the series.

– Hi-tech Institute: Never mind the fact that the Institute was empty save for Hodge and the Lightwoods, but why in the world are they so hi-tech now? Touchscreens, hybrid lightsaber/seraph blades… No. Just, no. It just exacerbates the cheesiness.

– Pointless wig: I really felt the need to mention this because it was bothering me SO much. According to Isabelle (and Jace) “demons dig blondes” so her role was to be a “distraction” at the club. She wore the “platinum” blonde wig as they were making their way through the place, but the moment she had to distract the demons, she just took it off anyway? Um, what was the point of it then?

– Clary’s necklace: By the Angel I hate it. A necklace that gives her visions of whomever she’s thinking about? It’s so ridiculous because it’s just too convenient.

– Special effects: The Portal was the worst. It just looked like blobs of purple behind Clary, and when she was supposedly getting sucked into it, it looked more like she was being abducted by aliens. They could have at least yanked her backwards or have Kat act as if there was a force dragging her in rather than just standing there and suddenly looking up into the ceiling. Then there also was the cheesy-looking shape-shifting Ravener “demon”. I really hope the special effects improve overtime because this thing looked as if it came out of the Power Rangers.

– Love triangle: Wow, thanks for emphasizing that in the last scene with Jace and Simon on either side of Clary, both asking for her to take their hand. Ugh. Again, so unnecessarily cheesy!

– Chernobyl: How typical. What was wrong with the abandoned mental facility Valentine used as his secret HQ in the book? There are so many other stories that use Chernobyl as the “bad guy’s” base too, that it’s predictable now. Someone is using Chernobyl as a hideout? Oh, it’s likely the bad guy.

– Valentine not knowing Clary existed: So, if Valentine had no idea that Jocelyn even had a daughter these past 18 years, does that mean he didn’t experiment with Angel blood and slip some into Jocelyn’s food that eventually created Clary’s special rune powers to begin with? I have no idea how this is going to work out… Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Episode 1.02 – The Descent Into Hell is Easy

Pros:

– Runes: YES, they actually showed Runes being drawn and burned into their skin. I love it. I was worried that they were just going to constantly “activate” and “deactivate” them throughout the entire season. That being said, I also really liked the following scene where Jace drew that Rune onto his arm then grabbed Simon’s hand so that he would be able to see behind the Institute’s glamour. Not only is that such an interesting way to show how someone without the Sight can see the Shadow World, but Simon’s reaction to Jace suddenly grabbing his hand was so funny. Nice job, Alberto.

– Simon: Again, fantastic portrayal, Alberto. He understands Simon’s character so well.

– Isabelle cooking: I’m SO happy they included this scene where Isabelle cooks and Jace comments on how terrible it is. Anything that’s directly from the book and is portrayed how I pictured it in my mind is awesome to see.

– Hodge: I actually had forgotten that TV Hodge is ridiculously hot, so that was a nice surprise. Haha Not really sure how I feel about him being “cursed” differently though. Yeah, he still can’t leave the Institute but he also gets burned by his “Circle Rune” if he speaks about anything related to Valentine and the Circle. It’s… interesting, I guess.

– Alec: I love that they included the “little girl” dialogue. Again, directly from the book and Matthew delivers Alec’s sassy lines so perfectly.

Cons:

– Magnus: Why is he running away? Magnus doesn’t run. He may live in seclusion every once in a while when he’s not in the mood to party, but Magnus does not run and hide.

– Clary/Jace: There is SO MUCH UNNECESSARY touching when there hasn’t even been that much character/relationship development between them. Not to mention the fact that I’m not feeling any chemistry between Dom and Kat as my favorite TMI OTP, unfortunately. TV Clace has got to step it up.

– Witchlight: When Jace says “We carry it to remind us that light can be found even in the darkest of places.” OMG why are you quoting Dumbledore? Is that supposed to be cool? It just came off as lame… Especially since Jace does not understand any references…

– Vampires: Why in the world do they want the Mortal Cup? Did the writers for the TV show not read the book and just watch the movie then based the show off the movie? The vamps aren’t supposed to want it…

– BIG REVEAL: I absolutely HATED how they revealed who Clary’s real father is in a short flashback. And not just any flashback, but one where Clary just overhears Jocelyn say that Valentine is her father. Talk about an anticlimactic reveal.

Episode 1.03 – Dead Man’s Party

Pros:

– Parabatai: YES, they mentioned being parabatai!! One of the things I seriously wished they explained in the movie.

– Isabelle/Alec: It was awesome seeing them fight side-by-side. I always loved reading those scenes in the book and it was great seeing it on-screen. My only gripe is that I wish the special effects weren’t so lame and that Matthew moved around a bit more. He seemed a bit stiff.

– Clary kicking ass: Always love it when the heroine can hold her own and kick some ass. I still thought it was a little too early in the story for her to even be able to hold her own, but yay for showing some of Clary’s strength and resilience. I would’ve hated it more if she just cowered in the corner somewhere, or worse, call Jace for help.

– Camille: She looks great! I was not expecting her to appear already. I love that she seems creepier than how I pictured her in the book. Only thing I didn’t really like was her weird power to stop time?

Cons:

– Cliche: That two minute lesson Jace gives Clary on how to use a seraph blade just so he’ll have an excuse to put his arms around her… ugh. It was meant to be sweet and I was supposed to fangirl, I guess, but that scene is so common and stereotypical I saw it coming from a mile away. It didn’t make sense that Clary already grasped the basics of using a seraph blade after that short lesson. Also, her line about she didn’t know if she could do it without Jace just rubbed me the wrong way. Clary never depends on anyone, she’s just stubborn like that and wouldn’t say something like that. It was just, ugh. C’mon, TV show. You’re killing my OTP.

– Speaking of the short lesson in the graveyard, I cringe with how awkward they wield swords. Didn’t they have lessons before filming? They hold and swing seraph blades so awkwardly sometimes, or do unnecessary twirls that it makes me question where did the sword training go, if there was even any at all.

– Hotel Du Mort: Part of what makes the Hotel du Mort extra creepy is the old-school-run-down look. Making it look more modern and simply an unfinished hotel building really diminished the creepy-factor that the movie did a wonderful job displaying.

– Clary’s lines: Oh my gosh… where do I even begin? She had some of the worse and most awkward lines in this episode.

– Simon throwing the dagger: WTF? He was just magically able to throw that dagger (probably the first he’s ever even held in his hand) accurately. How???

– Isabelle/Meliorn scene: I’m glad they wanted to convey that Isabelle uses her… feminine charms to her advantage, but I feel like that sex scene was a little too much.

– Alec’s inferiority complex: Uh, no.

– Vampire bar scene: Why in the world did Jace tell Clary to flirt with a vampire just to take his motorcycle? It seemed so unnecessary, not to mention the fact that Clary and Jace were acting so out of character. Jace wouldn’t risk Clary like that, even if he was watching nearby.

– Raphael: He wasn’t that memorable. He just looked like the typical creepy vampire and that’s not how Raphael is. So disappointing.

– Jace/Alec Drama: That was some of the most awkward and terribly forced arguments I have ever seen on TV. Jace would raise his voice and tell Alec to calm down or whatever, when Alec was speaking in a fairly even tone to begin with. I feel like Dom and Matt should’ve rehearsed that scene a bit more and gotten a better feel for how the emotions were flowing with the dialogue and the scene.

– Clary/Simon Reunion: Wow, talk about over dramatic and not to mention awkward timing. Even after they were already out of Hotel du Mort, it took Clary a good few seconds to register that they were out and Simon was there and okay. She was acting as if they were running out for their lives with the way she clung to the railing. Then, to make the scene worse, they went on with overly dramatic and cheesy dialogue that didn’t fit the flow of the scene at all.

Episode 1.04 – Raising Hell

Pros:

– Simon: I’m actually really enjoying how they’re slowly developing the vampire!Simon arc. It was so creepy suddenly seeing the blood on his lips then Camille come into view in the mirror, but when he turns around she’s not even there. Then later on when he goes home and Maureen accidentally cuts herself, he just stares at the blood she left behind all creepily mesmerized, then licks the blood off. Eugh.

– Jace: Okay, Dom was ridiculously hot in this episode. When he smirked and winked my heart skipped a beat. When he wasn’t wearing anything underneath his hoodie I stopped breathing for a good moment or two. Damn, Dom. Do that more often, please. Haha

– I just about lost my mind when Magnus mentioned Tessa. Tessa in the Spiral Labyrinth. Eeeep! Fangirling so much.

– Tracking rune: That’s the same technique Jace uses in City of Glass to track Sebastian, right? So cool that they incorporated it into the show already. I had completely forgotten that runes can do that.

MALEC: (Yes, it deserves all caps and bold font.) The moment Alec and Magnus first laid eyes on each other I was totally fangirling. It was the reaction I wanted to have with my OTP Clace, but sadly, never happened and hasn’t happened so far. Thank the Angel it happened with one of my other OTPs at least. I absolutely LOVED their interactions throughout the entire episode.

Cons:

– Timing: It’s a minor thing I guess, but it really bothered me when Clary just burst out and interrupted Jace as he was saying “I’m not saving his ass a second time.” It was such an awkward time to interrupt Jace while he was in the middle of his sentence. I feel like it would’ve felt more natural if she had burst out with her exclamation just as he was finishing his sentence, or even just has he finished.

– Izzy’s necklace: I love that they added Izzy’s necklace in (she should’ve had it right from the start, but that’s a whole other rant) but the amount of importance they placed on it in this episode was weird. Magnus isn’t the type of person who puts such sentimental value on objects, especially not on a necklace from a relationship with Camille that didn’t exactly end on the best of terms.

– Greater Demon: Clary has hardly received any formal training and she was able to kill a Greater Demon with one blow and and awkward twirl? Unbelievable.


Final Thoughts:

I don’t hate the show and will likely continue to watch and review it, but I don’t love it either. Right now there’s probably more aspects of it that I have problems with than things I really love about it, but I do see potential in it. Hopefully they continue to improve, and at a more accelerated rate because with the show as it is now, I’m doubtful we’ll get a second season. Once the actors (and I really hope they all get there soon) learn more about their characters and get more accustomed to portraying them, I’m hoping for a major improvement in their acting. The writers also need to learn to develop the characters and their interpersonal relationships more. Throwing all this lore and story lines reduce the amount of time we get for more character development, and that is only hurting the show. Valiant attempt, but, please, get your act together guys.


SURPRISE GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate the premiere of Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments and in anticipation of the next Shadowhunters book, Lady Midnight (#1, The Dark Artifices) to be released on March 8, 2016 (the day after my birthday 😉 and only ONE MONTH AWAY!), I’m doing my first ever giveaway!

Prizes:

3 Lady Midnight chapter samplers for 3 lucky people!

Rules:

  • Giveaway begins Feb. 8, 2016 and will end on Feb. 21, 2016 at 11:59pm PST. Winners will be contacted shortly after the giveaway ends.
  • Winners will be contacted through e-mail and will have 24 hours to respond. If the winners do not respond within that time frame, their prizes will be forfeited and new winners shall be selected.
  • Winners will be required to provide a valid mailing address in order to receive their prize. Personal information given will not be used in any other way, except for sending prizes. (So, if you’re below 16 years old please obtain parental consent before sending any personal information. Have your parent/guardian e-mail me at myfangirlchronicles(at)gmail(dot)com.)
  • All entries will be checked for validity.
  • My Fangirl Chronicles is not responsible for any lost, damaged, or stolen prizes.
  • This giveaway is not endorsed by Cassandra Clare, Simon & Schuster Publishing, or any other affiliates.
  • Open to US and International!

ENTER THROUGH RAFFLECOPTER BELOW!

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2 thoughts on “Event Recap + TV Show Review: Shadowhunters

  1. I totally agree with you. i dont like thats its not faithful to the books and i dont know why, but im loving it so far. I used to love the movie but now its like all the love is gone and that place in my heart has been covered by the tv show. We will see how it goes tho…

    Liked by 1 person

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