Bookish Bites

TV Review: Shadowhunters Premiere


This week was the long-awaited premiere of the Shadowhunters TV-Show premiere. And it was long-awaited especially for fans of the The Mortal Instruments book series by Cassandra Clare on which the show is based. Of course, book fans already got a movie based on the books as well, but since that will not be continued I think all fans are just relieved that the story gets another chance in TV format.  (which I think is a better format for this series than a movie anyway)

Honestly, I did not have very high expectations for the show, though I did have high hopes. And the premiere did exceed my expectations quite a bit. Though it was a bit cringe-worthy at times, I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next episodes. There are obviously some changes that were made from the original books, but I actually think these are all for the best and they make me eager to see where the show will go.

Overall rating for the premiere episode: 3,5 stars – I liked it.

Some more (spoilery) thoughts:

Favorite scene:

I loved the intro where we first “meet” Alec, Isabelle and Jace. I thought it was a very cool scene of them kind of stalking their demon prey that nicely set the mood and was set to a perfect soundtrack. I could watch that scene over and over again.

Also, pretty much all Simon, Alec and Magnus scenes.

Least-favorite scene:

A tie between the “You have the sight!” scene and the end scene with Clary torn between choosing to go with Simon or Jace. I though both were really cringe-worthy scenes and I think it’s not the actor’s fault, but that is was more that way due to the script. I get that they tried to get the message across (“Clary is special” for the first scene and “Love triangle coming” for the second one), but they could have done that in a more subtle way. The same with the Clary/Simon “How can someone as smart and perceptive as you not realize that the person sitting right there is in love with you?” scene. Viewers don’t need to be spoon-fed everything either. Give it to us subtly and I’m sure we will get the point just the same.


I’m not a big fan of Clary yet, while I did like her in the movie and the books. The premiere made her out to be a bit too much Mary Sue, special snowflake, and I did not like this. I do believe this will improve a lot in the coming episodes.

I’m also a bit torn about Jace. I like the actor playing him a lot and I think he’s got the Jace looks and cockiness perfectly down, but I thought his lines were some of the most cringe-worthy. See “You have the sight!”, “How can I not know who you are?” and “I’m the best chance you’ve got.” But again, I have full faith this will get better in the next episodes.

Simon however may be my favorite character based on this episode. Albert Rosendo plays him perfectly and he was the highlight of the episode for me.  I loved his jokes, the references to his Twitter account, the changing band names, everything. Also, his singing “Forever Young”? Hilarious foreshadowing!

Alec and Izzy were also amazing. Perfect acting, perfect lines and I can’t wait to see more of them.

Not a lot of Magnus yet, though what we did see was pretty badass. He is my favorite character in the books by a landslide so I have really high expectations for him, but I’m pretty sure Harry Shum Jr. will live up to them. I’m also super excited about any upcoming Malec scenes that may come, as I think Malec beats Clace any day!

Luke and Jocelyn are kind of meh at the moment. Not really feeling either of them yet, do I do like that they made Luke a cop and Jocelyn more badass than I remember her being in the books.

I thought Alan van Sprang was a perfect Valentine and I felt that he in just a few scenes already brought a lot of depth and emotion to what could have been just your standard evil villain. Also, Chernobyl? Of course Valentine would hang out in Chernobyl in a lab that looks like it was rented from Dr. Frankenstein. Of course.

Random thoughts:

  • I like Dot and her relationship with Clary. I think this is one of the best book changes they did.
  • What is up with Maureen? I feel like she is a mix between Maureen and Maya, but since in the books they were 2 completely different characters I am really interested in seeing where the show will take her character.
  • What is up with Clary’s necklace?
  • I did not expect the Institute to be so high-tech and full of people.
  • Love the subtle Alec/Jace vibes. See show, this is how you do subtle, I knew you could do it!

What did you think?