Shadowhunters is nothing more than a sexualized teen drama with no substance.
I delayed writing this review on purpose because I was hoping that the absolute nonsense I had seen in the pilot episode was just a one-time thing. You can’t blame me. Most pilot episodes are nothing to write home about. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” had a horrendous pilot but went on to produce Seven spectacular seasons. The “Friends” pilot episode was below average but ten seasons later and 12 years after the comedy concluded, people can’t stop talking about how good it was. And there lies my problem, I had high hopes for “Shadowhunters” and yet what I got was a show so bad that it has now become my poster for bad T.V.
One of the main reasons I had waited eagerly for the show was because it is based on the book The Mortal Instruments which is a series of 6 books written by Cassandra Clare. The books are very popular, and the author has topped Bestseller lists multiple times. There is a joy that comes from seeing your favourite book characters come to life in the form of actors and actresses and do these unbelievable actions on screen. When you read, you can only imagine it in your head, but movies or shows let you see what you have imagined in Technicolor. It is not the first time the book series has been adapted. The 2013 movie “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” was the first adaptation but it also did not do well in cinemas. In fact, the movie was so mediocre that no one remembers it, including the fans of the books who just want to forget it happened. However in light of the horrendous adaptation that is “Shadowhunters”, the movie is starting to look like it is worthy of an Oscar.
There is so much wrong with this show that it is hard to pinpoint exactly where the problem is. The acting is bad, the script is cringe-worthy, the wardrobe is ridiculous, and the plot is preposterous. Describing how bad this show is will require too many adjectives so let’s just get down to why everything is SO BAD.
After much reflection (and I did a lot of it) I have decided that I won’t blame the actors for this tragedy. I will admit that none of the actors even comes close to the like of Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Kerry Washington and many others but sometimes acting has a lot to do with direction. Which brings me to my question, was this show even directed? (Insert blinking eyes). Other than all the actors being absolutely gorgeous, hakuna kitu! The most infuriating thing about the acting is that I can’t stand Clary played by Katherine McNamara. This, of course, has a lot to do with the script, but it is annoying for a girl who knew nothing about the supernatural to suddenly start calling the shots in episode 2. Aii, Tafadhali kaa chini!
The Script/ Plot
There were many times when I was left asking myself, “What was that?” For anyone who has the read the books, the script is a slap in the face. Regardless of the changes they made to the TV show, the script should have been just as good as or even better than the book. The script sounds like a watered down version of the books. Granted, it is expected that when a book is adapted, there will be changes to the script because viewing and reading are two different things. However, it is also expected that the script remains high calibre.
As expected with most movies or shows about fantasy, there is always so much to get through, but the worst way to do that is to do too much in one episode or in one sitting. That’s why “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” were long movies and trilogies. For a T.V show that has more time than a movie, they are expected to peel the layers back slowly, the same way “The Game of Thrones” did. Take for example the time it took for us to actually see what a threat the white walkers were. In this case, I feel as if I did not need to know about the villain in the first episode. There was so much going on in the pilot episode of the “Shadowhunters” that it failed to deliver the impact it should have.
Who the hell wears six-inch heels to a fight? Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with women who can rock high heels and still do their thing (shout-out to Beyoncé), but there is the matter of believability to be considered when it comes to T.V. There is only so much you can ask your audience to believe. All this has been thrown out the window just to sexualize the characters of this show. The main character is supposed to be a teenage girl. One minute she is wearing sneakers and jeans and all of a sudden after she discovers what she is, she starts wearing six-inch heels and tight leather pants. Scoffs! What happened to character development? It took Elena, Caroline and Bonnie from “The Vampire Diaries” five seasons for them to stop dressing like teenagers. Come on!
So in conclusion, what should have been a great show, one that with a great script and good acting could have transformed this popular book into an award-winning show, is nothing more than a sexualized teen drama with no substance.