The first episode of Shadowhunters premiered on Tuesday, January 12, and since I don’t have cable I wasn’t able to watch it until tonight (mostly because I forgot episodes can play online, derp). It’s a whole new revamp for Cassandra Clare‘s The Mortal Instruments series and I was highly anticipating it, as were many other people. I did see the seven minute preview when it first came out, and now that I watched the episode I wanted to talk a little bit about it.
So here are my thoughts and feels on season one episode one of the series:
The episode starts off with a little bit of a teaser as to the demons and the Shaowhunters, specifically Jace, Isabelle, and Alec. They’re hunting a demon that can change its appearance when it runs into another being and even though it changes its form about three times before entering Club Pandemonium, the Shadowhunters are still able to track it.
We get flashback scenes from eight hours before the time Jace runs into Clary, as well as ten years prior before everything started to become real in Clary’s world. I think that these parts were important to include because not only do we get a little bit of background into the characters, but we also get to see more about what is going on and why things are happening the way they are.
Now Clary just turned eighteen and so she wants to celebrate with her best friend, Simon, but her mom, Jocelyn, wants to talk to her about the Shadow World and the Downworlders and so much more, but Clary just wants to go have fun with her friend.
We get thrown around a bit as Jocelyn struggles to tell Clary what’s happening, about the fight with the demon and how Clary witnesses it, and how her mom sends her through a portal to Luke’s location and how Jocelyn is going to fight with some Circle members.
Confused yet? If you’re not a reader of the series, you probably have no idea what some of the terms I stated even mean. And I think that’s part of the reason why this first episode was a little bit of an info dump. They wanted you to understand the significance of the Mortal Cup, who the Shadowhunters are, why Clary can see them and others can’t, etc.
And I also think that was partially a downfall for the first episode. I honestly thought that the acting could have gone a little smoother, but it wasn’t that it was bad; it was cheesy during some parts, but also very witty in others.
I think that Dominic Sherwood, who plays Jace, did a good job of embodying Jace’s personality: strong, defensive, and a bit egotistical. He does ask a few questions in a way that Jace from the book would have asked them, which made me laugh out loud, literally. So while I appreciated his humor during those parts, other parts I felt that he was just trying too hard. Like dude, loosen up a little! Use some more emotion and stuff.
Katherine McNamara, who plays Clary, was actually my favorite person of the episode. I think that she’s doing a wonderful job playing Clary and that she really showed who she was: smart, loyal, and free. Of course, she was confused a lot of the episode given what was going on, but it was understandable.
Emeraude Toubia, who plays Isabelle, was also a convincing Isabelle: sexy, playful, sarcastic, a little pushy. She didn’t talk much in the episode, but I could see that she will do well to play this kickass heroine. She also has good chemistry with the actor who plays Alec.
Alberto Rosende, who plays Simon, was a good Simon: goofy, in love with Clary, and kind of a hot mess. And let’s all admit it: Simon was a hot mess at the beginning. But I’m sure that he’ll do a better job as the season progresses. He was in a few scenes, but I definitely want to see more.
Matthew Daddario, who plays Alec, was just like the book version of him: stoic, a great fighter, and a complainer. I think that he makes a great Alec and I’m interested in seeing his interactions with the group as the season continues, especially when it comes to Magnus.
Harry Shum Jr, who plays Magnus, did a good job embodying the High Warlock of Brooklyn. Though I was hoping for more scenes with him, he actually didn’t really make an appearance early on in the first book, so I was excited to see him at all in the first episode. But he did play an important role in the early part of Clary’s life, so it was good to see him in more than one scene. Also, he owns Club Pandemonium in the show, so that was a twist.
Isaiah Mustafa, who plays Luke, was actually kind of the cheesiest one of the bunch. Honestly, I was hoping for different lines or maybe different acting. Though I have confidence that he’ll definitely do better as the season progresses, I’m just not convinced yet that this is the Luke who I came to love. But again, it’s one episode, he might just surprise me.
Alan Van Sprang, who plays our villain Valentine, didn’t make much of an appearance, but I know from watching him in another series, Reign, that Van Sprang makes a great villain. And he’s already shown the ruthlessness of Valentine by killing off one of his men in this episode, so yay! A good baddie! I mean, a bad baddie, but a good actor… You know what I’m saying.
Maxin Roy, who plays Jocelyn, also did a good job of portraying Clary’s mom: fiercely protective, guilty of not sharing the secrets of the Shadow World with Clary, and a good fighter. Of course, we didn’t know of how good of her fighting abilities until later in the book series, but still it was cool to see her kick some butt.
Overall, I thought that the acting was okay at best, but it’s only the first episode and I think that some of these actors are relatively new to the spotlight, especially with one as big as the Mortal Instruments fanbase. I’d give the acting a 7/10 stars.
The CGI in the episode was decent, but not up to par with how I would have wanted to see it. Though, to be fair, it’s really hard to imagine a demon and what exactly it would do in a given situation, or even look like. Though the four mouth thing? Yeah, that’s got to stop. Give it some variety! Not every demon looks the same. I think that the effects on the eyes for Magnus were the coolest, as well as the warlock swirling blue magic, but otherwise it has yet to impress me. Also, not thrilled with the seraph blades, sorry. I’d give it a 5/10 stars for CGI.
As far as the storyline goes: yes, it follows the book, but not in a very streamline way. I mean, there are lots of elements from the first book that took place that were definitely shown, but there were a few things that were different, too. As with any show or movie, they will take liberties, but as far as adaptations go I’d give it a good 7.5/10 stars for adaptation.
Overall, I’m giving the first episode of the Shadowhunters series a 6.5/10 stars. I wasn’t totally in love, but there was still plenty there for me to want to see more because my inner fangirl is being fed as we speak. I only hope that it gets better from here, that the acting improves, and that the story doesn’t stray too far from the books.