Shadowhunters Season 1 Review!

April 8, 2016 Movie Review 17

shadowhunters_character_1

Title: Shadowhunters
Rating: TV-14
Running Time: 46 minutes
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy
Creator: Ed Decter
Starring: Katherine McNamara, Dominic Sherwood, Alberto Rosende

My Review:

When I first started watching the show, I knew it needed some work.

 

That was my tweet when I saw the first episode of Shadowhunters.

Before even watching the series, I knew that if anything, they had gotten the casting right. And after finishing the season, I can say that they still have. I absolutely loved the portrayals of Alec, Isabelle, Magnus, Simon, and Luke. I think they have been the best portrayals of the characters we’ve ever seen on screen (regardless of whether or not some of them don’t look like the characters in the book)

  

I have some qualms over Jace and Clary’s portrayals. They’re the main characters, plus we obviously know that they’re going to have a romance, but I just didn’t see it. I couldn’t see any chemistry whatsoever from them in the first half of the season. I think they got much better as the season went on, but I was still pretty iffy with them. However, the way this season ended, I think their chemistry is finally shining through.

I was so excited when I heard that Dominic Sherwood was going to be Jace, but so far he hasn’t blown me away by his portrayal. Maybe I have too high of a standard for him? Maybe I just know that he could do SO much better, after seeing his wonderful and sassy portrayal of Christian in the Vampire Academy movie (in fact, I think he was my favorite part of it!). Anyways, yeah, Dom really hasn’t cut it for me in terms of Jace. I think he pulls off dramatic and kickass scenes just fine, but the traditional snark that we’re used to in the books just isn’t there. 

Clary’s portrayal by Katherine McNamara has really gone a long way. If I would have judged her acting based on the first episode only, I would have said that Katherine is a bad actress and left it at that. But the truth is her acting has really improved. At first it was over the top and unbelievable, and while it still needs some work, I’m actually starting to like her. I’m sure that by season 2 this will improve even more. 

  

Everyone’s main complaint of the show is the fact that it’s so vastly different from the books. I’m here, as a hardcore fan of the books, and as a “PLEASE DON’T CHANGE THE BOOKS WHEN ADAPTING THEM” advocate to say: I actually enjoyed the changes.

I think this series is actually very difficult to adapt to screen while at the same time keeping it believable and entertaining. Especially considering the fact that the Shadowhunters world has layers and layers of information (literally dozens of books, and counting) that the show has to condense it in one way or another without sacrificing the pace and also trying to keep the viewer from getting confused. So yes, lots of changes to the books, but I always saw the common core underneath. All the basics are there, trust me. It’s just a different way of interpreting them.

If there’s one good thing about the changes, it’s this: you never know what’s going to happen next. This season is highly based on Book 1 of The Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones, but it also adds bits of books 2 and 3 of the series as well. I honestly like it because it made me curious to see what would happen next episode.

Now, I think all the things I disliked about the show can be attributed to a major thing: the writing. For real guys, the first few episodes were so badly written they made me cringe. I think this can explain the disjointed acting, and lack of chemistry between some characters… because it’s just the writing. Some lines seemed so out of place, like Simon screaming at Jace “COME AT ME, BRO!”, or any time Jace tried to be funny and it just seemed forced…

The Verdict:

I will say this of the show: it seriously got better with each episode. I think each character had time to shine, and I’m glad that the show wasn’t centralized on Jace and Clary only. We got to see Alberto Rosende shine as Simon, Emeraude Toubia perfectly nail the tough and seductress Isabelle, Harry Shum Jr. bring the iconic Magnus to life, Alan Van Sprang totally infuriating us as Valentine, and even Maxim Roy give Jocelyn a whole new and badass side we didn’t expect. The show isn’t perfect. The writing is cheesy at times, and it needs work, but overall it’s quite enjoyable. Think of this as a B-movie… enjoyable, but not entirely the best. I say, go into this show with an open mind. A friend of mine, who has never read the books, saw an episode and told me “I don’t particularly like it, but I can’t look away either. It’s like a drug”. So, I suggest you make your own judgement on the series!

Keep Calm and Pray for a better Season 2 😛

My Favorite Episodes, from Lowest to Highest:

  • Raising Hell (episode 4)
  • The Mortal Cup (episode 1)
  • The Descent Into Hell Is Easy (episode 2)
  • Dead Man’s Party (episode 3)
  • Of Men and Angels (episode 6)
  • Moo Shu to Go (episode 5)
  • This World Inverted (episode 10)
  • Bad Blood (episode 8)
  • Major Arcana (episode 7)
  • Rise Up (episode 9)
  • Blood Calls to Blood (episode 11)
  • Morning Star (episode 13)
  • Malec (episode 12)

THE MALEC EPISODE GAVE ME LIFE. I’ve seen it 3 times already… and I don’t think I’ll be stopping any time soon. It was so so good! Every single TMI fan loves the Malec ship, so this episode… it really did justice to that. Not to mention every single character has a different struggle going on by this episode, so seeing them dealing with this was amazing. This was a very layered episode, and very powerful. I’m so glad Freeform did this.

Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
three-stars
Pacing
three-half-stars
Romance
three-stars
Overall: 3.5

Have you seen this show? Are you planning to? Let me know in the comments below!
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I'm Marianne. Professional Fangirl, part-time Blogger. Full-time college student. GIFs are a natural part of my posts, so be warned. I LOVE reading, so definitely feel free to discuss books with me. Opinions are welcome.
  • Karen

    I watched the first few episodes. Wasn’t really a fan of Jace (his snark felt forced but he was a WAY better Jace than the movie version) or Clary.

    I’ll probably catch up with it again at some point.

    Karen @For What It’s Worth

    • He was definitely better than the movie Jace, which is why I kept with the series! haha maybe wait until Season 2 is up so you know if it’s worth watching ;D

  • shootingstarsmag

    I haven’t watched the show, besides a tiny bit of the first episode. I haven’t read the books yet, so I wasn’t really interested. I’m glad you think the season got better as it went along. Hopefully the two main actors will get better too!

    -lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

  • gah. i tried. really, i did. but it’s so awful. Lol.

  • Ooh interesting to hear that the season gets better. I pretty much stopped after episode two because the acting and story was just so awful haha. Not sure that I have enough passion to invest in the rest of the season to be honest. 😛

  • Interesting! I actually had written this one off just because the movie didn’t exactly succeed so I had my doubts about this one. But now I kind of want to check it out. If I do, I know to stick it out!

    • The movie suckedddddddd! I really wanted to leave the theater when I was watching it. Thankfully with this show I didn’t want to give up so fast. It was kind of a guilty pleasure kind of book.

  • I’ve heard that this show gets better as it progresses. I’ve only seen the first few episodes and it was super cheesy. That gif of Clary leaning into Jace’s hand makes me want to cringe. I also feel like Isabelle is super sexualized in the TV show. I haven’t read the book in years so maybe I just forget what her character is like.

    I’ll binge it eventually!

    • Yup that gif is cringeworthy, lol. And I’m rereading the series right now, and I thought Izzy was pretty faithful to the book. She’s super sexualized in the first few episodes but gets better 🙂

  • I’ve heard from quite a few people that this show gets better as it goes on, so I will definitely keep that in mind! I saw the first ten minutes when they did a promo for it, and I was like: omg what have they done – this is terrible. And I think a lot of people felt that way XD

    OMG the actor for Alec is so precious, and I cannot wait to see how he plays the role!

    I have to say that from what I’ve seen of Dominic as Jace, I am not convinced. I really loved him as Christian, too, so I was actually pretty excited for him to be Jace. But he seems to have fallen a bit flat as that character. But I’ll give him time. It is only the first season, after all. (Although maybe I am tainted by the fact that I think JCB was the most perfect Jace ever).

    This is a great review, lovely <3 It's given me a good heads up for what to expect!

    • Hahaha yes! I felt the same. But I was determined to give it a chance ;D

      Matthew Daddario (Alec) is absolutely precious. I have a HUGEEEEE crush on him lol.

      I really disliked JCB as Jace… I found him creepy looking XD

    • Hahaha yes! I felt the same. But I was determined to give it a chance ;D

      Matthew Daddario (Alec) is absolutely precious. I have a HUGEEEEE crush on him lol.

      I really disliked JCB as Jace… I found him creepy looking XD

  • Hmmm your review actually gives me hope about the series because it sounds oh so cheesy. I’ve heard some horrible things about Jace’s portrayal but I’m glad the rest of the casting was done pretty well. Those Jace gifs make me really cringe though! Thanks for the awesome review lovely.

    • The cheese is there, Jeann. Some episodes are SO cheesy lol. To be honest I had a bigger crush on Luke, Simon, and Alec than I did on Jace (in the series I mean).

    • The cheese is there, Jeann. Some episodes are SO cheesy lol. To be honest I had a bigger crush on Luke, Simon, and Alec than I did on Jace (in the series I mean).