If you are a fan of the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, then you are probably are aware of two things:
1- A City of Bones (aka the first book in the series) movie came out in 2013 and it totally flopped.
2- It was decided that the series would be made into a tv show on Free Form (former ABC Family) and it came out in the beginning of this year.
The movie had many complications but it also had some positive factors. Starting with the cinematography, which looked stunning. Places like Clary’s house and the New York Institute looked just like most of the fans had imagined. Some of the scenes were also really entertaining. Although it was a bit different from the book, the fight scene at the Hotel Dumort was very badass. However, the screenwriters had decided to alter some of the scenes from the book and cast actors that wouldn’t be the reader’s first choice (I am looking at you Jonathan Rhys Meyers), which not only created a few plot holes (No one could possibly believe that “naturally blond” Jace was dark haired Valentine’s and redheaded Jocelyn’s son) but also left fans very disappointed.
My case was a bit different than most fans since I watched the movie before I read the novels. That tends to change your mind a little bit. I loved the movie and it made me want to read the series. I obviously see that it is far from being a good book to movie adaptation but weirdly enough I can separate both things and enjoy the movie without comparing it too much to the book.
The news that they would give the series a second chance and turn it into a tv show left the fans overjoyed but also worried that the same thing that happened to the movie would happen to it. When people found out the actors who were gonna play their favourite characters, there were some mixed reactions. For example, I was really excited to see Emeraude Toubia and Matthew Daddario play the Lightwood siblings, but wasn’t very thrilled about Alan Van Sprang as Valentine (better than the one in the movie but still…) or Katherine McNamara and Dominic Sherwood as the main characters, Clary and Jace. I just couldn’t imagine them as the characters. But I, and many fans, still had hope that the show would succeed and the actors would be the perfect choices.
Trailers and Sneek Peeks were released, and we started to doubt that this would be better than the movie. But we still had a flicker of hope. Then, January 12th came around and I stayed far away from social media, because I would only be able to watch the show on the next day, since I didn’t live in the US. On the next day I was at a friend’s house and I told her about the show. She and I decided to watch it. I'm sad to admit that I was very disappointed with it. It was still enjoyable, and I was still excited to watch the next episode. But a part of me couldn’t believe that the second chance that this series got was going to be ruined.
As I expected, Emeraude and Matt were great in their roles. Perhaps not exactly as I had pictured the characters to look like and act, but they won me over with some funny lines (and great acting). I’m not saying they are perfect, since Isabelle is (as I remember correctly) more badass and she definitely wouldn’t be the “distraction” or seduce someone for information (I also feel that the show is concentrating too much on her body. We get that she’s sexy but she doesn’t have to wear revealing clothes 24/7). I was very surprised to find that my favourite character on the show was none other than Simon Lewis! Someone who I never really liked in the books. Alberto Rosende is, hands down, one (if not the) of the best actors in this shown. He is a funny, believable character, and the actor crushed it with his acting. My doubts were, unfortunately, confirmed with Dom’s and Kat’s characters. Their lines felt forced and the characters totally different from who they actually are. Their chemistry felt awkward and I cringed a lot. But I guess this is more of the writers' fault. They are the ones who wrote those lines and made those characters act that way. (Can we get new screenwriters for the next season please??)
There were ups and downs as the series progressed. Sometimes it would reach a point where the fans would think: Oh, this is actually pretty good. I hope it keeps up this way! But then they would be disappointed again as they watched the following episode. We all knew that it would be different from the books, the characters are older and we understand that a tv show might need a little bit more of extra plot and cliffhangers, but we weren’t expecting it to be this different.
So basically there are many things that we wish we could take out of the movie and switch it with the show. Let’s be honest, the Institute is not supposed to be that modern, full of technology, and the amount of Shadowhunters in New York makes me so frustrated that I hate to even think about it. The movie did that right, the show didn’t. Also the special effects in the movie is 100% better than the ones on the show. And I wouldn't mind switching some of the actors as well. (I like Lily Collins. What can I say?)
The characters’ chemistry is also a problem. Yeah, I have to agree that Magnus and Alec has some cute scenes, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel right. Simon and Isabelle are cute but not right either. And don’t even get me started with Clary and Jace. Every time they are together in the same room the scene’s quality decreases. Their lines never (well, almost never, I’m sure there are some good ones, right?) feel natural, and I just don’t really understand how they fell in love with each other. Plus, I need better scenes between Alec and Jace. They are Parabatai, for goodness sake! Don’t the writers know what that means?
But as many fans, I kept watching it. I can’t give up on it. We just have to hope that it will get better. I was quite surprised when it was renovated for a second season, so now we’ll just have to wait. I’m not sure if I recommend it. I believe most of the fans already watch it, so if you don’t know about this series. At least read the books, it’s worth it.