If any of you are as into Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series as much as I am, then you may know that ABC Family….ahem….I mean Freeform…premiered the show inspired by the books last night! You may also know that there was an attempt a few years ago to adapt the books into movies which failed spectacularly. Like, it failed so bad that if you didn’t know about the books, there was almost no chance you heard about the movie. Despite a huge effort from the studio to advertise, it was a major flop and they never made it past the first movie. So, to say my expectations are low when it comes to the tv series is an understatement. Really, that’s just because I’ve been burned before. I spent months watching movie trailers and watching interviews online to show up to a theater where my dreams were dashed against the rocks repeatedly for 120 minutes. It was gruesome. Despite the trauma in my past, I’d like to forge ahead by making a reaction post to the first two episodes of the television series. I’m going type my thoughts here as I watch. I’m providing a no spoilers opinion and a reaction section that is FULL of spoilers, so BEWARE! If you read past the “No Spoiler” opinion section, then I cannot be held responsible for ruining the episode for you.
Overall opinion: Meh, buuuutt….. The show feels like it is trying to deal with too much source material too fast. In my opinion, they could have spent an entire episode setting up Clary’s relationships with her mom and Luke and Simon, and had the Shadowhunter world collide with her life at the end of the episode. Then, episode 2 could be devoted to Jace and the Lightwoods, understanding the Institute, and learning about the Shadowhunter world. From there, each episode could be devoted to a particular adventure in the books. The writers just dove head first into the deep end of Clare’s world and that’s not great for anyone watching who didn’t read the books first…buuuutt…I’m finally seeing The Mortal Instruments come to life and I’m so excited!
I know I’m being really harsh, but it’s because I have a serious love for The Mortal Instruments and I don’t want to see it used and abused. One thing the show has going for it that the movie did not, the cast is PERFECT. All of the characters (aside from Hodge...but I talk about this below) look exactly like I pictured them. (Simon is adorable and easily my favorite, but I digress.) Honestly, I have an oddly good feeling about where the show is headed. Like many pilots before, this one didn’t fly (too cheesy? Sorry, I can’t help it), BUT there is some serious heart here. I can tell that this show is being made by people who know the fandom and know what the people want, so we just have to hope they find their footing in the next few episodes. Will it happen? No one knows, but you can bet I’ll be watching to find out.
Now, here we go. Episode 1.
1) First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Freeform? Really, ABCFamily? You changed your name to Freeform? Was “We Are Desperately Trying to Connect With A Youth Culture We Don’t Understand” already taken? Harsh, but true. Moving on.
2) Opening with the Shadowhunters rather than Clary Fray is an interesting, and probably poor choice. The series is about a normal girl who finds out she’s supernatural, so shouldn’t we start with some of her normalness first?
3) Although, Jace is smoking, so it is sort of okay.
4) Simon….is adorable! He is already my favorite character in this show!
5) Random detective lady telling Luke to “marry Jocelyn, already?” Okay, lady. Why don’t you back off and worry about the body drained of blood laying in front of you. Kay, thanks.
6) Her mom gives her a stele? This is DEFINITELY not like the books. (“Thank you for the heirloom.” Perfect response to getting a weird metal stick for your birthday!)
7) The Clary Simon piggy back ride was the most genuine thing I’ve seen so far.
8) The chemistry between Alec, Izzy, and Jace is pretty stale right now. I’m nervous.
9) But then Simon sings AND takes his shirt off and I’m completely sold on this idea again. Who is buying him as a nerd? Because he is 100% hot.
10) Simon’s confused face in the background while Clary is talking to no one is perf.
11) Am I the only one who saw Izzy’s hand make ZERO contact with the demon she was supposed to be fighting? I guess the demon didn’t get the memo, because he went flying backwards.
12) Okay, the conversation between Jocelyn and Valentine’s minions was pretty awk. How was she not more surprised that her evil ex-husband who she thought was dead is actually alive? I mean, that’s a major truth bomb and she barely reacted.
13) Could Valentine’s reveal have been any less interesting? He’s a big enough villain that we could have gone without physically seeing him for a few episodes to build up the tension, but apparently the writers want to show all of their cards.
14) “What are you doing undressed in an abandoned church? Clary, is there a meth problem we have to talk about?” Simon is perfect.
15) Seriously, Valentine is THE least interesting character in this entire episode and he is supposed to be the ultimate villain. ABCFamily better pull some Magnus magic or this supernatural ship is going to sink.
Forging on!! Episode 2 commences!
1) There are an astonishing number of Circle members just wandering around New York. No word yet on whether this is good or bad. Just an observation.
2) How is everyone in this show young and attractive? Hodge should be old and wearing a suit….not young and in a wife beater. Maybe I’ll get used to it eventually, but not yet.
3) Isabelle is being way too nice to Simon. This feels extremely out of character for her.
4) Now Isabelle is being way too nice to Clary! What is this madness?
5) But seriously, how are they getting around town? Do they have a Shadowhunter mobile? No one ever answered Simon’s questions and it was a legitimate one.
6) Why are the Shadowhunters trailing behind Clary in a v-formation like she is the head mean girl in a teen movie? She knows literally nothing about fighting or Shadowhunters. This is all too much too soon.
7) Jace and Clary are…holding hands? What? This show is overloading me with plotlines and tensions. Jace and Clary, Clary and Simon, Jace and Simon, Simon and Izzy, Clary and Alec, Alec and Jace. They should really slow down and make sure we know who the characters are as individuals before they start hitting us with all of these complex relationships. (But also….Awww…Clace.)
8) We can all agree that none of these actors are great at shock faces. They look mildly constipated, at best.
9) Simon was kidnapped by the vampires? That feels a little too contrived, but we’ll have to wait until episode 3 to see how it turns out.
Are you watching Shadowhunters? Let me know what you thought in the comments!