So. Shadowhunters. What a rollercoaster. (Or a trainwreck- either analogy works for me.)
Here is the thing- myself and the majority of viewers by the sounds of things are trying so very hard to enjoy this show and to stick with it till the very end, but as each episode progresses, I am finding this task to be more and more difficult. In my review of the pilot I went to the extent to claim that I thought that the episode had delivered, but I think you will find that I have a very different stance on it now.
Time is precious and my list of issues of the show are long, so I will cut to the chase and say this- my biggest problem so far has been the representation of Isabelle. This may come as a surprise to some- that of all the horrific lines and sets I have chosen to pick out this aspect, but I think that the reason I have done this is because whilst reading the books, Izzy became one of my favourite YA heroines of all time. She was slick, skilled, blunt yet kind hearted, with many layers built around her character. Some of the most exhilarating scenes for me to read in the Mortal instruments were the ones where we read her in action, throwing around her whip and slaying demons. So why is the Isabelle in the show so far away from my ideal version of her?
In the opening episode I expressed my concerns that she was used as a distraction at the nightclub, and this was repeated in episode 3 where we see her using her sexuality to extract information from Meliorn. It is not her flirtatious personality that bothers me at all, as I think her confidence is a key aspect to her character, but it is that they are starting to represent her as someone who is only capable of being this so-called distraction. To the credit of Emeraude- in my opinion she has executed the lines and role she has been given as best she can, and once again, this is more of a problem within the directing and scripting departments.
The scripting continues to awe me with just how ridiculous some of the lines are. Delivery from the actors’ part has marginally improved, but I doubt even the most talented in the industry could say ”The only thing I’m doing tonight is you” without sounding like a pratt.
We were newly introduced to Camille and Raphael, both of which by this point I was expecting much less from. I was pleasantly surprised by Camille’s acting as I felt she portrayed the personality necessary to be convincing enough to the audience. Raphael similarly did a decent line delivery, but something about the pounds of make-up and CGI done with his face just put me off completely. I mean really. (Also I feel it is necessary to bring up how vampires can now LITERALLY FREEZE TIME and LITERALLY EXPLODE INTO GOLD DUST when they die. I am still struggling to get over this ridiculous addition.)
So where do we go on from here? Is there any hope for improvement? Is there any hope for a second season? At the rate the show is going, I personally would have said no, but apparently there is a substantial enough audience who seems pleased with where Shadowhunters is going, so it could really go either way. As for me, I will continue watching, not only with the hope that a miracle in the scripting may occur, but also because I find it very entertaining to write this kind of review (most likely due to the fact that every aspect of the show so far is laughable).
At this point, to all those who are highly disappointed that they have not seen a successful recreation of the books on to the screen, I send my condolences. We are all in the same boat here. But to that, I would also say that it is perhaps time to now give up on the notion that the show is following the structure of the Mortal Instruments (because major plot points have been revealed in the first couple hours of season 1), and to critique the episodes on an individual basis. I, personally, am treating Shadowhunters like the show ‘Pretty Little Liars’. They strayed from the books completely, and now are a highly successful show (God knows why that is) being aired by ABC and Netflix. Maybe Shadowhunters will grow into something wonderful but separate from the books which will be enjoyed by a wider audience, and they too will find success in many seasons to come. Maybe. (Probably not, but hey ho.)
Thank you for reading, let me know how you are finding the first few episodes!