“Shadowhunter” fans disappointed everywhere


A poster of the Shadowhunters TV series, taken from creative commons search.

Niha Kaushik, Staff Writer

The premiere for the Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments TV series, titled “The Mortal Cup”, aired on January 12th, 2016.

This TV series originally stemmed from the “Mortal Instruments” fantasy book series by Cassandra Clare, and despite Clare’s popular novels, the show did not follow the same splendor that the books did.

The Shadowhunters TV Series produced by Ed Decter, features a young woman, Clary Fray (played by actress Katherine McNamara) who, on the day of her eighteenth birthday, discovers that she comes from a lineage of shadowhunters, who are half-human, half-angel hybrids, and protect humans from the demons who inhabit the world.

However, when her mother is kidnapped by an evil man named Valentine, Clary must confront her true identity and unlock the secrets of her past in order to rescue her mother and fight an evil force. This entails siding with other fellow Shadowhunters, including Jace Wayland (Dominic Sherwood), Isabelle (Emeraude Toubia) and Alec (Matthew Daddario) as well as her best friend, Simon (Alberto Rosende), and plunge into the fantasy world that exists around her.

The show seems initially promising, with the slogan being “All the legends are true” giving the false hope that this show will follow the fast-paced, rich novel, however, despite the seemingly promising opening scene, the show seems to go downhill.

In the very first scene, the viewers get a taste for the mysterious and dark world with which the Shadowhunters are exposed to, and in which they fight evil forces that lurk in the shadows. However, all promises of a good TV series stop here.

Soon after, the show follows an oblivious, weak Clary Fray who does not align with the strong, audacious character that Clare depicted. The show almost seems as if it is intended for younger viewers, despite the relatively dark themes and young-adult appropriate scenes in the book series. The humor in this series is far too immature and modernized, as characters use words like “hashtag” and use immature humor. Also, though Simon (played by Alberto Rosende), Clary’s best friend, is supposed to be “geeky” and adorable, Simon is so clearly oblivious and weak.

Clary is instead shown as a weak character, constantly relying on the Shadowhunters to save the day as she waits in the corner, so obviously out of place. Her chippy, happy-go-lucky attitude does not mimic, in any way, the strong, fearless Clary Fray in Clare’s series. Instead, the show shows Clary to be so out of place, because she does not fit in with the serious Shadowhunters. Rather, Clary lives inside an oblivious bubble of illusion. The show plunges her, in a manner that is too fast, into a world that she is not ready for, and her lack of character development adds to this issue.

Also, several characters in the series do not have the same hobbies/interests. Simon is depicted as a singer, instead of being a bassist, to cater to the young viewers who may view Simon as “cute” instead of the adventurous character that he is in the book series.

Also, Jace Wayland, the mysterious to-be love interest, is far too dark and always seems to save the day at the right moments. He is not well-introduced at all, saying some scripted, short lines that are supposed to demonstrate how deep and mysterious he is, but instead just keep viewers confused. Instead of following up this character with an emotional background as to why his personality is so unpredictable, viewers cannot align themselves with Jace Wayland.

The entire show circles around so many dramatic scenes which lack adequate background information, and instead rely on a series of confusing flashbacks to explain scenes. Through all of this, Clary remains a confused character, and all the fast-paced action around her does not contribute to her cause.

However, one positive aspect of the show may be how it was fast-paced, with a lot of action (namely just fighting). However, this seems out of place because with so much action, the viewers can barely keep up, let alone sympathize with any characters from an emotional standpoint. The action was too dramatic, with an utter lack in purposeful action and fighting, but more waving around the weapons used for killing demons in the show.

The acting was mediocre and distasteful, with barely enough emotion and depth of the characters. For example, Alec Lightwood barely uttered any lines, and had the same bland disinterested look on his face throughout the show.

This show was not as impressive of an adaption of the book series. It lacked the strength and development of Clare’s bestselling novels, despite the fast-paced action.

Overall, I’d rate this TV series 1 out of 10 possible stars.