This took some time to getting used to, but I like the prospects so far. And as always, this is a spoiler-free review. If you want an in-depth discussion, maybe when I vlog.
So for those of you who know, I am an avid fan of the Shadowhunter universe from book, to graphic novel, to film adaptation, and now to a TV Series. Produced by what was once ABC Family – now Freeform, ‘Shadowhunters’ is a take on the New York Times’ Bestselling Series by Cassandra Clare called The Mortal Instruments.
So this series is about a girl named Clary Fray who is thrust into a new world where the supernatural and normal coexist with Shadowhunters protecting mortals from demons is a thing she discovers as she turns 18 where in the very same 24 hours, her mom gets kidnapped. Those who’ve read the entire series (i.e. moi) should already know what’s up, but the interesting thing about watching it unfold in a TV series is the different perspectives as to how the plot unfolds. So far, they’ve remarkably stayed faithful to the book, but I felt like they rushed it a bit. The transitions made sense but it felt a little iffy for those who aren’t fans of the series yet. I’ll give points for the sound story tell so far – albeit the newness of the dialogue threw me off at first.
Let’s talk about the effects, because this is a series of the fantasy genre and I know, it’s a big enough production and they did well on the magic part but I was a little uncomfortable at the rune-drawing and the seraph blades. They remind me too much of cheap plastic toys that light up at the touch of a button – but the weapons grew on me over the course of the pilot, I just wish they’d kept the whole naming their blades to light them up (or will that be introduced later in the series, because I’d really like to know). And speaking of weapons – they let Izzy keep her whip, but no bow and arrows for Alec? PLEASE tell me the absence of his signature weapon is temporary, I rather like Archer Alec – not that he’s ever called that but whatever.
And here’s a little downer for those of you avid fans like me, but I have a lot of thoughts on the acting and not all of them is positive – I’ll spare you from all of the details so I’ll focus on the three characters that’s had the most screen time and relevance (which just so happens to be the very same characters in the classic YA love triangle).
First on Clary, played by Kat McNamara. I had my initial reservations on her playing Clary’s role because even if she is a bit easy on the eyes just as Clary would’ve been, I imagined her voice to be a lot less pitchy and her dialogue less dragged out than the way she (Kat) delivered them – also there’s the matter of her general acting which wasn’t the best but it wasn’t that great either (sorry). And I didn’t notice the tendency to wear heels so as to appear taller when we all know Clary’s short and wears sneakers most of the time.
Next up, is Jace played by Dominic Sherwood which by far is up to 75% approval rate. Yes, he has the bod and the skill and the dialogue is accurate so far, but none of the snarky charm that made Jace who he is as a decidedly self-absorbed (although slightly justified) trope for the hero. Maybe I need to review Jace’s character book-wise, or maybe this was the best impression Dom had for our charismatic douchebag of a love interest but I did imagine him to smile more, and to be slightly more dramatic – as he and his ancestors are generally are. Jace gives off the impression that the duties of a Shadowhunter is easy and something he could do in his sleep if he so chooses to show off – which is often, but Dom makes it look like he treats it as a boring chore that he’d almost rather not do.
Last but not the least is Simon, played by Alberto Rosende who does a great job so far in keeping the lovable Simon alive. Right now, he’s the only focal character that is 100% in my good graces because I kind of blame the dialogue for passing up the opportunity to make this a fun series despite the serious undertones. Simon is still neurotic, passive aggressive and a clearly friendzoned puppy and he does well to deliver what very limited humor the series decided to play in this adaptation.
Overall, I wasn’t happy with the pilot but I haven’t given up on the series just yet. I hope the dialogue and the direction improves – pacing and transitions, and please cut the sudden flashbacks and beyond obvious references because you’re making it lame; and same with the acting – I need more chemistry please. My pants and my soul fell upon Clary and Jace’s interactions because of the evident compatibility, none of this seemingly deadpan conversations.
Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars