Shadowhunters is an upcoming fantasy TV drama airing January 2016 on Freeform (currently ABC Family). It is based on a series of best selling novels–The Mortal Instruments–written by Cassandra Clare and is therefore a highly anticipated show for all Cassie Clare fans (myself included).
I try my best to keep an open mind when I hear of a book-to-film or book-to-tv-series adaptation. Let’s face it bookworms: movies or TV shows will never come close to making us feel the way the books did–no matter how beautiful or how talented the actors and actresses are, they can never truly do justice to the characters we fell in love with. No matter how much the creators spend on makeup and special effects they won’t ever be able to portray what we saw in our heads when reading our favorite parts. But that’s just the magic of reading books.
So when it comes to watching a movie or a TV show based on my favorite book, I always try to judge the adaptation as being separate from the book. So what if it is “based on the best-selling novels written by the incredibly talented XXXX”–the movie/show needs to stand on its own.
And let me tell you something: the movie City Of Bones, based on Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series, was one epic failure.
It wasn’t merely because the movie was in many ways different from the books, but simply because it was not executed well. If I pretend the books never existed, then I’d say the movie had a great plot but a very poor way of showing it despite having a powerful cast of actors and actresses. Not to mention, there was a giant loophole in the movie, where the MC Clary goes to a nightclub to celebrate her birthday and three days later Jace, another MC, takes her to a magical greenhouse because it’s still her birthday.
Confusing, isn’t it?
Luckily, because the movie was such a disappointment, the producers Constantin Film decided to bring back The Mortal Instruments as a television series with Ed Decter as showrunner. According to Constantin Film and TV Head Martin Moszkowicz:
“It actually makes sense to do (the novels) as a TV series. There was so much from the book that we had to leave out of the Mortal Instruments film. In the series we’ll be able to go deeper and explore this world in greater detail and depth.”
The Mortal Instruments is a series of six books that follows the story of a seemingly ordinary teenager Clary Fray who discovers a world of demons and nephilim after witnessing a murder at an underage club. It is a book series that slowly develops a complex, intricate plot–the kind of plot that cannot be executed in an hour and thirty minutes long movie. Does that mean I am happy that my favorite book series of all time is being turned into a show?
Shadowhunters is set to premiere on January 12, 2016 and so far we’ve had quite a lot of videos on Youtube (trailers, teasers, sneak peeks, promos, character spots) to keep us intrigued. The trailer alone gives me some hope that this show may have potential.
What I do have issues with are the cast members, mainly Katherine McNamara, who plays Clary. I can’t pretend to have watched a lot of tv shows, but the entire cast except Dominic Sherwood and Alan van Sprang are unfamiliar to me. I have never heard of any of them, never seen any of their movies/shows, and while I do believe in giving new actors and actresses a chance I probably will quit watching the Shadowhunters if the acting is not average at the very least. Case in point: Katherine McNamara managed to irritate me every time she opened her mouth during the trailer. If she can give me a headache in under one minute and thirty seconds, I honestly do not know how I am going to tolerate her for a 42 minute long episode
Another question that has been bothering me for a while are the special effects and visual effects. I do understand that it’s harder to bring in great quality CGI in tv shows than it is in movies, but when watching a fantasy show I do want the world to feel real. Truth be told, when it comes to the Shadowhunters tv series, I cannot help but feel a little apprehensive: will the visual effects be good enough for me or will it disappoint?
I’ve also heard through the proverbial grapevine that the creators of the movie that was an epic failure would be the creators of the show. Just another reason why I cannot make myself too eager for this series.
The two things that do make me excited for this show are: a) Alan van Sprang and b) The first 7 minutes of the pilot. Whether it’s a book or a movie or a tv series, I always need to have a complex antagonist to keep me interested. Valentine Morgenstern was certainly one hell of an antagonist in The Mortal Instruments book series, and Alan van Sprang is just the right man to play him. I’ve seen his acting on CW’s Reign–a historically inaccurate show based on the life of Mary, Queen of Scotts–as King Henry II of France. If there’s anyone who can play a vengeful, narcissist psychopath, it’s him.
As for the sneak peek of the pilot episode, I have to say it made me a lot more excited than the trailer did. This is definitely a plus for the show–most tv series have an awful pilot episode and then slowly build up to become a good series. Shadowhunters may just be one of the few shows to have a good pilot episode.
To put it simply, the only reasons why I plan on watching this is because of Alan van Sprang, the 7 minute long sneak peek and because it is based on my favorite book. We’ll just have to wait to see if Shadowhunters is really worth the buzz it’s getting.