Disclaimer: If you haven’t watched the show, much less read the books, don’t read this review because it contains some spoilers.
Shadowhunters, the TV adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s best-selling series, just premiered and as a rabid fan of the books, of course I didn’t miss it. It was one of the reasons why I was so excited for 2016. Last year, when the casts were announced and the filming started, with the help of fans all over the world, the show got really hyped up. Personally, I like this “new” cast
(although, I would have
loved to still have Godfrey Gao as Magnus) even though most of them were pretty
unknown. Of course, that was just an initial reaction and it was put through
the test when I finally watched the pilot episode.
I loved that Matthew Daddario opened it because I love Matt and his gorgeous face. Crushing aside, I think he really embodied Alec’s character as the reserved and protective one out of our young Shadowhunters. I thought Emeraude Toubia was awesome in portraying Izzy’s character, too.
On the other hand, I didn’t really feel Jace in Dominic Sherwood. I’ve always thought of Jace as a flippant, devil-may-care guy and yes, there were bits of that in some of his scenes, but what I saw was mostly him being sweet. I’m not saying Jace in the books wasn’t sweet—he was, but…I don’t know. I think Matt could share a little bit of his attitude as Alec to Dom.
And then, there’s Kat McNamara. When I was just at the start of the episode, I saw tweets saying that she’s good. Then, I saw tweets of some people that I actually know who also watched the show, saying that her acting was subpar. I was trying to reserve judgment until I’ve finished the whole episode, but I really think she could do a little more work on her acting skills. I was constantly face-palming when her scenes come up because I thought her acting was a little too…fake? I mean, yes, it’s acting, duh, but I’ve seen a lot of young and new actresses on TV give a better “shocked face” response to certain scenes. C’mon, Kat. I know you can do better.
The character I adored the most was Alberto Rosende in his portrayal of Simon Lewis, Clary’s best friend. He’s so very Simon! He’s got his sweetness and innocence and that protectiveness and concern over Clary. In short, he got that I'm-in-love-with-you-but-you-can't-see-it-so-I'm-gonna-disguise-my-feelings-for-you-as-sarcasm sooo right.. Alberto, baby, you nailed it for me.
Meanwhile, the plot of this pilot episode, in general, stuck close to the books with only a few minor changes. How minor would these changes be when the rest of the season comes out, I don’t know. Like I told a friend, I liked that the Institute was modernized inside with all these computers and a lot of other people (though I’m not sure about the crowd part), but I’m worried about how these details would affect other facts such as the Clave, which we all know is a champion of everything old-fashioned. I think it’s contradictory, but I’m interested in knowing how they’ll work this out.
Overall, knowing what the books contain, this pilot episode didn’t meet my expectations, but the potential to do better was definitely there. And don’t give me the crap that I shouldn’t solely rely on the books for my judgment regarding the TV series. I actually think that it’s a good thing that it kind of flopped in the first episode because, hopefully, we can see a huge improvement in the upcoming episodes. So, to Shadowhunters casts and everyone else behind the scenes, you have a huge room for improvement. Use it and do better next time so that we’ll have more seasons of Shadowhunter goodness (read: Matt and Alberto).