After the 2013 film adaption, The Mortal Instruments, failed to captivate audiences any plans for sequels were cancelled, but now three years have passed and ABC are given Shadowhunters another chance. This time with a live action TV series, but will it’s fate be any different from its predecessor?
Pilots are hard. Some shows that go on to be brilliant must see pieces of television history start out really poorly and hopefully that’s what’s happened here. The set up is really interesting, a girl turns 18 and finds out that she’s actually from a family of demon hunters, sorta like Buffy except there’s no chosen one. The execution of this idea is pretty poor though and it’s probably because they tried to introduce all of the characters in one episode.
The cast is pretty big, but by making them overlap so much it just made the world seem really small. Magnus, the warlock who erased Clary’s memories when she was a child, is also the owner of the nightclub that she goes to on her 18th birthday and that place just happens to be where the demon that Jace and his gang are chasing goes to sell human blood.
Visual effects on the show are pretty poor, the light up swords that the shadowhunters use resembling toys. The rune tattoos are pretty cool and give the hunters a very tough appearance, but for some reason the actor playing Jace just can’t pull off tough very well and comes off weirdly stiff. Each of the hunters was given a single characteristic to sum up their character. Jace’s one trait was that he loves himself, which is supposed to make Clary amazingly special to be getting his attention but it actually just feels like he’s acting out of character and considering this is episode one that’s a new record.
Isabelle is comfortable with her body, which is great if not impractical for someone who’s power comes from magic tattoos that would surely give away her identity as a hunter. Alec is the stick in the mud and Jace doesn’t seem to like him that much. Aren’t they supposed to be best friends? Even though he seems the most serious, he is way behind Jace and his sister in terms of killing demons, at least according to Jace and the fact that he’s the only one who doesn’t know that demons like blondes. His love for Jace seemed shoehorned into the crowded pilot.
Clary’s mother being the driving force behind the story is pretty clever considering it gets the only parent in the show out of the picture right from the start. Now they’re free to hangout, fight demons and party without anyone watching over them. Clary’s going to have a lot of tattoos by the time her mother gets back. Oh and the funniest line in the episode was when Clary told Jace not to tattoo her neck next time she passes out or she’ll think he’s creepy. One neck tattoo is probably enough for most people to think that person is creepy, but hey she’s not “mundane”. At least half the script had to be just the word mundane, pretty much everyone said it at least twice.
Off to a pretty rocky start, Shadowhunters tried to do too much too fast, but pilots are difficult to do right so don’t give up hope if you’re a fan of the series.