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New “Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments” TV show fails to deliver

On Tuesday, the new reboot TV show “Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments,” premiered on Freeform, the new name for the ABC Family channel. The show is based off the worldwide bestselling “The Mortal Instruments” series. Despite the effort to appeal to fans and viewers, the show fails to capture the essence of the book series.

Still of Emeraude Toubia, Katherine McNamara, Dominic Sherwood, Matthew Daddario and Alberto Rosende in Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments (2016). Photo Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC Family - © © 2015 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

On Jan. 26, the new reboot TV show “Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments,” premiered on Freeform, the new name for the ABC Family channel. The show is based on the worldwide bestselling “The Mortal Instruments” series. Despite the effort to appeal to fans and viewers, the show fails to capture the essence of the book series.

Ever since the 2013 movie, “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” was released, critics and fans deemed it as a content and box-office flop. This may be due to the fact that the attempt of the adaptation barely stayed true to the complex yet engaging storyline of the first novel.

Though fans still wanted a sequel to be filmed, the first installment did not profit enough to go through with “The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes.” Disappointed, fans had no hope for the series to continue.

However, on March 30, 2015, The Hollywood Reporter announced that the series will be brought to ABC Family as a “drama” television show.

Fans worldwide thought that this new reboot would stay closer to the books and be more successful, since its predecessor was not so. But in reality, the pilot episode fell short of everyone’s expectations.

Starring Katherine McNamara who plays the female protagonist, Clary Fray is brought into the world of demon hunting where “all the legends are true,” including vampires, werewolves, Nephilim, fairies and warlocks. Once her mother is captured by a dark force called “the Circle” in search of the Mortal Cup, Clary must join a group of Shadowhunters and follow clues to find her mother.

The TV show attempts to appeal to teenage audiences by filling it with drama and more action, but overall fails. But compared to the movie installment, the show is much more satisfying.

One thing that damages the potential of the show is the acting displayed by main characters. McNamara, though appears like the perfect “Clary” based off her book description, does not fully empower the character with her talent. Full of cheesy expressions and reactions, McNamara makes the first two episodes painful to watch in certain “action” scenes.

“Shadowhunters” is also too fast-paced for the complex storyline, with barely any transitions and frequent cut-off scenes. There are also too many “flashbacks” that are used as an attempt to reveal the background of the story.

Fan favorite scenes and characters are also changed drastically from what they are in the book. One character, Hodge, is displayed as a young man versus his middle age description in the series, which is another effort to appeal to teenagers.

The actual “shadowhunter” group is shown more like a police force or special criminal investigation service rather than a group who protects humans from creatures with origins of another dimension, (demons) while remaining peaceful with Downworlders (vampires, werewolves, fairies, etc).

Plot is also lacking in the show, not to mention how main points in the book are rearranged and filled with more drama.

Special effects are another flaw, making the TV-14 rated show seem more like Disney movie with obviously fake and unappealing creatures.

Humor and sarcasm laced throughout the dialogue somewhat balances the rough areas and almost makes up for some of the bad acting. The short, yet intense and frightening action scenes also help make the show more entertaining and engaging.

So far, the pilot episodes fail to meet the expectations set by the books, but despite changes, cheesy effects and flawed acting, some fans enjoyed the first two episodes.

New “Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments” episodes, directed by McG, premiere every Tuesday at 8 p.m. on Freeform.

–Joshua Modglin

Background Photo Credit: ABC Family/Disney Enterprises, Inc.

5 Comments

  • Reply Jasmine June 11, 2016 at 5:15 am

    I quite like the movie and feel sad that there is no sequel. Then I heard about the TV series. Thank you for the review, I guess I have many other TV series to watch.

    Like

  • Reply ellenmona July 29, 2016 at 12:22 am

    I like this movie not much but it’s littel intresting. Thx for it.

    Like

  • Reply Young Adult Fantasy Novels That Were Made Into Movies November 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    […] Via LA Times High School […]

    Like

  • Reply meeghanw March 26, 2017 at 2:41 am

    I watched the first season and found it ok. The second season is painful. I keep trying to watch it, but it’s really bad. The only real redeeming part of the show is the guy who plays Jace, and Harry Shum Jr, who plays Magnus. However, I did really liked the guy who played Magnus in the film as well.

    Like

  • Reply icypink July 4, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    I have watched season 1 and the ongoing season 2. It is actually fun to watch. However, I really do not like much the acting for Clary Fray. The actors/actress who play as Jace, Izzy, and Magnus somehow makes up for it and keeps the show interesting. These actors just show much more personality that makes the show entertaining.

    Like

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