There are so many books being turned into Movies or TV Series at the moment. This feature chats about the good bits, the bad bits and is never afraid to ask the ultimate question: Page or Screen?
So, first the facts:
The 6 book Mortal Instruments series was was written by Cassandra Clare and released between 2007-2014. The series is a part of an even larger set of books all set in Clare’s ‘Shadowhunter world’.
In August 2013 a film of the first book City of Bones was released, but due to its poor reception the rest of the series was never made into films. In 2015 production started for the Shadowhunters TV Series which premiered on the 12th January 2016.
You can check out my review of The Mortal Instruments series here
Shadowhunters on IMDB
Warning: the following post does contain some small spoilers for both the book and TV series.
Clary – She looked the part, but Katherine McNamara just didn’t quite pull of Clary for me. She seemed to lack any kind of deepness in her performance, however I also don;t think that the script helped matters. Clary seemed to go from clueless to I’ve only just found out about this world but I’m better and smarter than all other shadowhunters. Was a bit of an unrealistic jump, and not at all like the Clary in the book.
Jace – I really liked Dominic Sherwood as Jace and I’m really gutted the script writers didn’t put more of his sarcastic comments into this first season. It took a few episodes for Dominic to get the vaulnerable Jace perfect, but once he did he was Jace for me. He has got a lot of issues to deal with through the next series and I cannot wait to see a lot more vulnerable Jace.
Alec – Can we agree now that Matthew Daddario is HOT! He makes a perfect Alec, although it seemed like the directors where only interested in him once his romance story line picked up. I wanted more Alec, especially early on.
Izzy – Emeraude Toubia was the perfect choice for Izzy and pulls off all her different moods perfectly! She goes through some great character development through this series and is pretty kick ass throughout. I really wish that we would have got more of her though, and especially more of her cooking!
Magnus – I hated the casting for Magnus in the movie, but Harry Shum Jr. is the PERFECT Magnus. He was literally born to play that part. He is totally believable as an immortal, flirty warlock! I love that he kept his sarcastic personality and I can’t wait to see more of him next season!
Simon – Another one I was worried about because Robert Sheehan was PERFECT in the movie but I was pleasently suprised by Alberto Rosende, he was a good choice. Plays the part well, especially with Simon’s new problems, and I’m interested to see how he does next season when things start to get even tougher for him.
Jace & Alec (Parabati) – For me there wasn’t nearly enough Jace & Alec time. Their Parabati bond was mentioned a few times but not as much as I wanted. Hopefully when things sort themselves out a bit more in season 2 we will get more of them.
Jace, Alec & Izzy – This trio started off great together, but once Clary came into the picture it just shattered, which yes happens in the book but not this bad! There were definitely more times in the book when it was just the three of them and I would have LOVED some more family time with the three of them. Jace didn’t seem like the brother to them that he was in the book.
Jace & Clary – Things seemed to take ages to happen, and then once they did happen it all happened very quickly (like in one episode!) The actors had great chemistry together and it was believable, but when the ‘big announcement’ was made at the end I wasn’t int he same heartbroken was that I was in the book.
Clary & Simon – They definitely got this one right, it was just as awkward watching as it was reading in the books. Clary ruins it slightly (bad acting again) but Simon is the perfect mix of in love with her and tortured and it makes for a perfect ‘complicated friendship’
Alec & Magnus – Total change to their storyline which I was NOT happy about (random wedding anyone?!), but LOVED these two together. The chemistry was there, Magnus was the perfect amount of flirty, Alec the perfect amount of shy. They were just awesome. Can’t wait to see this one develop.
THE SHADOWHUNTER WORLD
Ok, so lets start with why the hell are there so many Shadowhunters int he institute?! There are meant to not be enough of them, the institute is mean to be empty, and yet every episode there are tons of Shadowhunters just strolling round.
Also, did anyone else think it seemed a little too modern in there? Jace isn’t meant to know what eBay is, and yet they all have mobile phones and mass loads of computers etc. They are meant to be all about tradition etc, it doesn’t quite fit with the modern look of some parts of the institute.
Otherwise I really liked how they had adapted the world to TV. The various vampires, werewolves, faerie, demon etc were all great and totally looked believable (no glittering vampires or dodgy furry suits for the werewolves. The magic and the history of the world was explained well without taking over and things seem to very much make sense.
There were a few dodgy moments thrown in there but as a whole, in my opinion, the first season went ok. I think when us fans watch these types of adaptations we need to know that they are not going to be exactly like the book that we fell in love with, and accept that and move on.
There were some differences I wasn’t very happy about though, including a certain character getting engaged and a whole wedding episode that was necessary. There was also an episode with an ‘alternative world’ which was fun to watch but in the great scheme of things didn;t add anything to the story line.
One change that I was ok with though was Luke’s career. In the books he owns a bookstore but int he TV show he is a detective. wouldn’t say that I like him more as a cop, but it adds something new to the story which was interesting.
One thing that I do think made this first series suffer slightly was the small amount of episodes that it had. First seasons are always known for being short, but this one at just 13 episodes felt rushed at times as it tried to fit a 448 page book and the introduction of an entire world into it.
I really liked the music featured in the show, it always matched so well with the action that was happening on screen. I like that they didn’t use chart music either and as such I have discovered some great new artists who I now follow.
SO, THE BOOK OR THE TV SHOW?
No doubt about it, the book will always win. But the TV show has managed to do what the film didn’t and that is get it’s own fan base. There is a lot of hype about this series and it was very quickly signed for a second season. As for me, I really enjoyed it, as a separate thing to the books, and will definitely continue to watch it in future.