Shadowhunters (TV Review)

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I’ve been so excited for Shadowhunters to come out, I’ve been flailing over every single tidbit I could get! Personally, I didn’t hate the movie for the Mortal Instruments, but I also didn’t love it. So, the fact they got a do-over was just amazing! I wasn’t sure about everyone on the cast, but I mainly liked the choices they made. I watched the Sneak Peeks and I thought that they were surely not from the finished pilot. All in all I was hopeful and excited, especially because I love the books so much. Conclusion: I definitely shouldn’t have hyped it up so much in my head!

Shadowhunters revolves around 18-year-old Clary, who has to discover that her mother lied to her her entire life, covering up that there existed a whole other world with demons, warlocks, vampires and the likes. Without the right preparation and her mother getting kidnapped, Clary finds herself in grave danger and only the Shadowhunters, of whom she seems to be one, can help her. 

Cast: Katherine McNamara, Dominic Sherwood, Alberto Rosende, Emeraude Toubia, Matthew Daddario, Maxim Roy, Alan Van Sprang, Harry Shum Jr., Isaiah Mustafa, Jon Cor, …
Episode Order: 13

I don’t know how many of you have read the book or seen the movie, but I think we all know that the books are quite long and that they failed at putting everything necessary into 90 minutes, so I was hoping for a slower approach on Shadowhunters. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. There was so much going on in the Pilot, I am not even sure that non-readers knew what all was going on. The editing was sloppy and the transitions between scenes far from seamless. I am well aware that the show had quite a different budget than the movie did, but the CGI and the props looked terrible to me and that just makes me so sad. If I were rich, I would throw money at them, just so they could invest it in that! Shadowhunters have these specific weapons called seraph blades and in the show they just looked downright plastic, which in turn made the action sequences lacking realism and the punch they needed.

Now, to the casting. I am really happy with some of them! Alberto is hilarious as Simon! I swear he gets all the best lines. Matthew didn’t have much screen time as Alec yet, but I get the moody and angry vibe and am digging it. Alan Van Sprang was a great Valentine, even though I have no idea why on earth he is hanging out in Chernobyl. Dom, Emeraude and Harry were fine in their respective roles as Jace, Izzy and Magnus, but the person that worried me the most could not prove me otherwise. Kat McNamara is surely a great person, but she is definitely no Clary to me. Or maybe is exactly as unlikable and whiny and annoying as Clary was in the books sometimes? I don’t know, but the way she delivered lines made me cringe sometimes and that’s not what you want from a main character. Also, she was way bolder and sexier than in the book. Finally, I do understand that they have to make some changes, but why is Luke a detective now? I don’t really understand how that improves the dramatics of the story.

I should probably mention that I didn’t just watch the first episode, but also the second one. I was hoping for it to get better with time, I am still hoping for that, but so far it didn’t help much. They added an actual intro – yay! They sort of drew runes and didn’t just make them appear, which is also an improvement. The Institute looked strange and all tech-y and there were way too many people there. The Silent Brothers look absolutely awesome but the acting was still meh … So, in conclusion, I did enjoy finally watching it come to live on the screen, but I wish they had executed it a little differently. It was fun and fresh, but it had a very different vibe from the novel. I want to love this show and I am going to keep trying to love it. I will watch every single episode of it! Also, I am not going to stop supporting it, but somehow I have doubts about it being able to become what I wanted it to be. Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe it was truly done the wrong way – too fast, too glossy, the focus on the wrong details. I have no idea what is true, so let me know what you thought of it!

Did you like/love/hate it? Share your opinions in the comments below!

64 thoughts on “Shadowhunters (TV Review)

  1. Oh shit. I have not watched the pilot yet, but damn your review reflects everything I was afraid of. In particular CLARY. I didn’t like Dom as Jace to begin with, and I was hoping that if his chemistry with Kat was great everything would be okay, even if I was never completely convinced with Kat as Clary. Her voice… her girliness… I don’t know what it is exactly.

    I’ll watch the pilot and see for myself but I am positive I’ll agree with you on everything. Damn. I wanted this to be good….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Where is episode 2? It has an opening sequence?? I have to watch it 😀
    I had the same problems as you but I wasn’t expecting a lot from the show and that’s why I’m not as disapointed as you. Simon is so funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s too bad that it wasn’t all you’d hoped for! 😦 I haven’t seen it yet, but I really want to like it as well because the series was so good. Hopefully the rest of the season will get better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope it will find it’s own sort of groove or something, but all in all it could have been better. Low expectations may lead to you liking it more than I did though! Maybe you will think something along the lines of “Oh, I thought it would be worse.” 😉
      You should check back in after the episode and tell me what you think!

      Like

  4. Omg, I completely agree! I could not with the acting. I don’t like Kat as Clary at all. My expectations weren’t that high but I was hoping to get proved wrong. I’m so sad :(…but I’m still going to watch it because I loved the book series.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. About to watch it, and even though this review was fairly negative I’m still excited? I loved the books so much, but I don’t mind them changing the story line as long as they get the main points down. I really want to get into it! Thanks for the review, I love you and your blog ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I love you too for stopping by and commenting and sharing your thoughts!
      You should be excited! And I definitely want to hear your thoughts afterwards!! Maybe now that I’ve lowered your expectations, you will be able to enjoy it more than I did. And just for the record, I know that I was a little harsh in parts of my review, but I still sort of liked it and I am going to watch the entire show, so they couldn’t have done everything wrong 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just finished it. Overall I really liked the show. I thought the characters of Alec and Simon were portrayed well, Jace’s character was okay, a little dramatic but that’s Jace I guess. I found Luke over dramatic and Izzy too nice at first. I thought the atmosphere was pretty cool and I thought the show looked good visually. Although I felt like it moved on too quickly, like ‘valentines dead’ ‘here’s a stele’ ‘you’re a shadowhunter’ ‘all the legends are real’ all this I think was unrealistic in the way that people just went with it. Also sometimes the script was really embarrassing. But still, I enjoyed watching it and I’m excited to watch next week’s episode

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t read the books, but I agree with a lot of your criticisms of the acting, the scene transitions and the special effects. I will probably watch another episode or two before I make my final decision. Hopefully they will work out some of the kinks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you agree with some of my points! I’ve watched the second episode and it didn’t really do it for me either, but because I love the books so much, I am going to watch the whole thing. I hoping that maybe, if everything goes well, that they’ll get more funding for the next season or so …

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t watched the pilot yet, but judging from the trailer, the show looks kinda sloppy. I really hope that the show will be better than the movie. Kat somehow doesn’t seem to be Clary. But that’s maybe because us fans are too hard to please.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your comment! I am afraid the sloppy thing is true and that it doesn’t go away much in the next episodes, but we will see.
      As for Kat … I actually think that Lily Collins was a better Clary than Kat is in terms of character. But that could just be my opinion. I will definitely continue to watch the show and hopefully I will like it better with time.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ok Kat, mission accomplished: expectations completely lowered! Kat as Clary, just her voice, makes me cringe :S, I do hope they improve and you like it better with time. I’ll probably watch it tomorrow, though, to be honest, I’m almost scared to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. After watching the episode last night I can honestly say that for me, I don’t think it really mattered that I hadn’t read the books because I agree with everything you’ve said here. Obviously there’s the lack of expectations for me and you mention the differences from the books that I wouldn’t know but yes, some of Kat’s lines made me cringe too, the CGI needed some serious cash and the weapons looked like toys. I knew what was going on but the character roles weren’t really explained. On the positive side, I liked the side characters a lot too, it was for sure entertaining and kept me interested and I get a good feeling that the show will improve. On to the second episode for me! This was really great to read, thanks for doing this review (and for talking with me last night) 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so glad you agree with my review! There were a lot of people who loved it, but also quite a few who had a similar experience to mine.
      Thank you so much for commenting 🙂 and it is always a pleasure to talk to you!! I had loads of fun!

      Like

  10. So, I watched the episode…And here I am!! 😀
    I agree with you that there was an AWFUL LOT going on in that first episode!! I didn’t watch the second, yet, but I will. I really liked Simon, though, he was really, really good! And I liked the other actors as well. I think we have the same opinion on everything, actually. Clary was okay, but she annoyed me a little bit. She had that effect on me very early in the book, too, though, so I guess that’s normal…? Haha. I’m looking forward to watch the second episode. I’m not completely sold on that show, yet, and I hope it gets better and better. This episode was good, entertaining, but kind of confusing at times, I bet, for people who don’t know the books at all ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you checked back after watching! Simon was my favourite in the 2 episodes I’ve seen so far and of course, I am majorly crushing on Alec. I am so torn with Clary, because I think her delivery is really off sometimes or her chemistry with Jace is just weird. I hope it develops over time, but I have no idea if they shot it chronologically or not.
      I have no idea if the people who haven’t read the books understood half of what was going on. Nothing was explained in a way that newbies really could understand it. At least that’s how I felt. You should tweet me your impression of the second episode once you’ve seen it. I am a little disappointed of what they’ve done with my beloved Magnus.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alec seemed kind of great in the first episode, yay, I really liked what they did with his character, even if we didn’t see much of him -and that’s TOO bad…! I felt the same way, I don’t know if I would have understood a lot about what was going on if I didn’t know the story beforehand. It seemed kind of confusing to me. I hope it’ll get better though!
        Oh no, really? I really liked Magnus! I will definitely tweet you as soon as I watch the second episode, probably later this weekend! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love Alec to bits. He wasn’t the most likable at the beginning of the books, but the more involved he got with Magnus, the more I loved and understood him too and he grew on me so much. Movie-Alec was the worst! So, I am super happy they nailed him this time and it sure as heck doesn’t hurt that Matthew Daddario is such a goregous human being.
        Yeah, I don’t want to spoil you, but I just think that some of Magnus’ actions are off. Looking forward to your thoughts 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  11. This series is one of my favorite and I was really disappointed in the movie. I was hoping that the show would be better but the second I saw the trailer I couldn’t help but cringe. You’re so right about the blades. I pictured them more like long daggers not plastic swords. I’m so sad that the show couldn’t do justice to such amazing books!

    Liked by 1 person

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