I haven't really talked much about The Mortal Instruments being adapted into the TV show Shadowhunters for ABC Family since the cast was announced, but I've been following a lot of what's been going on through Twitter. We got our first looks a little more than a week ago now, and immediately, I knew I needed to talk about it. Unfortunately, because of school and whatnot, I'm writing this a lot later than I would have hoped. This can't really be considered my immediate reaction anymore, since I've had plenty of time to digest everything, but here's my thoughts.
I'm going to separate it all by the separate trailers and clips we saw just as a way to make sure I cover everything I want to. I'm also going to try and discuss them in the order they were released, but since it was all within the same day and was now a week ago, I may be a bit off.
This teaser trailer was the first, I believe. I know it was the first one I watched, so I was nervous going into it. I desperately want this show to be good, and I've had such mixed feelings so far that I don't know what to expect from it. Going into the trailer, I really wanted to see something reassuring.
The effects in the beginning of the teaser were cheesy to me and not my absolute favorite, but they weren't so bad that I was giving up all hope. I feel like the main strategy there was to show off the effects that are going to be on the show, but I didn't see much that I'd consider impressive within this trailer. The coolest part for me as the room Alec was doing archery in. I thought it looked cool. However, Alec is also my favorite character, so maybe I'm just biased.
There's a small moment with Simon in the trailer that hints heavily that he'll be a vampire. They've talked multiple times about how the show isn't going to be "here's what happened in book one" followed by "here's what happened in book two." They're combining things and reworking them apparently. I don't think that's a bad thing as long as they do it well, which we'll have to wait and see on. From this teaser though, I suspect one of the things they'll be changing is when Simon becomes a vampire. If they're already teasing it in the first trailer, I'd suspect it happens pretty early on. I think that could work well since I helps strengthen Simon's role in everything without him being just a human who's tagging along with all these half angel shadowhunters.
There's only one other thing in that teaser that I'm really wondering about. Clary's voice over starts mentioning destiny, and there are flashes of Clary/Jace and Magnus/Alec standing together. Obviously that's a reference to the two couples. It's interesting to me that they've done that with Clary and Jace though as there is supposed to be the love triangle with Simon at first. I wonder how much of Clary and Jace's relationship will stay the same as in the book, if it'll be established early on or dragged out even though everyone knows they'll end up together.
The other thing about that short sequence that got me thinking is the lack of Simon/Isabelle. I can't decide why they're not there. Their relationship comes after the others of course, so if they follow the books at all, it would make sense to only develop them later. If they are going to stick with the Simon/Clary/Jace triangle at all, it would also probably benefit them to not advertise Simon/Izzy much as that gives away how that will end, but if everyone already knows it's ultimately Clary/Jace anyway, then I'm not sure if that's the motivation for the decision. I'm thinking this may mean that it will take longer for us to get much Simon/Izzy at all on the show.
Of course, this entire teaser had a voice over by Kat, who's playing Clary, so I kind of have to talk about that. Did her performance in the teaser blow me away? No. I didn't particularly like the voice over, but it also could have been worse. I think a voice over in a teaser isn't a fair judgment of someone's acting ability either, so I'm trying not to focus on it all that much and instead only judge her on her performance within the actual show.
Then we got a second trailer really soon after the first. This one starts off with Jocelyn taking a kid Clary to Magnus to have her memories altered/taken away. I quite like opening the trailer with that as it teases some background information that's important. I also like that they follow it up with Clary running into Magnus at the club.
Then we got clips of the scene where Clary sees Jace, Alec, and Izzy fighting demons. Since we got this entire clip afterwards, I'll wait to talk about specifics then, but I do appreciate it being in the trailer. As far as I can tell, most of this trailer seems to be from the first episode, which is good. It doesn't give too much away.
There's a scene between Clary and Jocelyn. Now, this is a piece of Kat's acting that I feel better judging, and I'm still not all that impressed. I didn't like it much at all really, but I still don't want to be too harsh on her without having the entire episode. And I don't think she's any worse here than some of the other bits with the other actors. This scene just stands out to me as particularly bad because of what it is, I think.
We get Jace killing what I think is a demon? I don't remember any demons described as looking like that exactly in the books, but since demons can be in all sorts of forms, I'd have to assume it's what that thing is. It's creepy enough to look like a demon, and I'm actually impressed with it. Of all the effects they've shown, I think I'm happiest with that one of anything. It's only a brief glimpse, but I'd say that was a pretty good demon. Not something I'd want to come face to face with.
There's a brief flash of a Silent Brother that looked cool too, but it was so quick that I don't want to say much about them in the show yet. Another brief glimpse seemed to be Luke turning into a wolf, and it didn't look like anything I could have expected, but it was intriguing.
Kat's and Dominic's acting in their scene together struck me as better than a lot of the other acting in what we've seen. I don't know why that is, but it does make me a bit more hopeful. I'm not asking for them to blow me away here, but I'd like to not be cringing every five seconds while watching the show.
The last thing we got as a clip from the first episode that covers what happens in the club, including Clary meeting Jace, Alec, and Izzy for the first time and getting caught up in them killing demons. I can't go into all the different parts of it in detail because I can't find it online anymore, and I only watched it once. Instead, I'm going to stick to generalities for the most part.
One thing I wanted to mention that has stuck around in my mind (because I have excellent priorities in what I remember) is that Magnus apparently owns the Pandemonium club. That's interesting. I don't think we'd been told of that change. Unless I missed something. I think it's a good change. I can see Magnus owning a club, truthfully, and I see that change as meaning that more of the story of the TV show will be focused around the club than it was in the books. That should be interesting.
Let's see. What can I remember other than that? The effects looked cool to me. For a TV show, I'd say they were impressive, but I'm drawing that mostly off the trailers and what I have managed to remember from the clips. I don't remember any of the effects making me cringe other than the crazy jumping Alec, Izzy, and Jace that felt kind of odd.
I don't remember any of the actors doing anything that really made me cringe either. The only thing is that I'm not sure how I feel about Isabelle luring in the demons like they did, but I'm going to wait and see how the demon hunting unfolds in the rest of the series before have a strong opinion on that.
Overall, I'd say all of these looks did manage to keep me hopeful that this show will be entertaining, if not the greatest thing ever on television. I have some questions about the show in a good way. The trailers and clip have made me want to know what's going to happen even though I've read the books, which I assume was a huge goal (and part of the motivation for changing what they have from the books). I really do hope I'm not let down and that this show ends up being good in at least some capacity.