I have been anticipating this for so long. Since the movie was such a big disappointment, I was really nervous about how they’d do with the TV show. When I saw the casting I got very happy because everybody looked perfect for the roles (unlike the movie cast). But there are a few things that I wasn’t too happy about.
Clary has the perfect hair, and is exactly like I imagined it in the book, and Isabelle and Alec both look like brother and sister and exactly like I pictured them also. I am a bit wary on Jace, however, because he isn’t exactly how I pictured him. But I will admit that whenever I envisioned Jace in the books, my mental image always changed. Simon’s personality and look is on-point and the only thing I can complain about Magnus is he looks too young, but other than that he’s perfect. I wasn’t 100% sold on the Valentine casting at first, but when I saw him in the TV show saying his lines and everything, I can see exactly why they casted who they did. The only problem I really have with Jocelyn is the shade of her hair, because it doesn’t look at all like Clary’s and they are supposed to look alike (because of their hair mainly). They changed Dorthea, who is supposed to be old and graying, to a young spunky 20-something year old named Dot. I didn’t like that too much, but it didn’t bother me enough to stop watching, plus she was gone pretty quick. They also added Maureen, who is also in the books, but is instead a lot younger and isn’t really Clary and Simon’s friend. I was not very happy with what they did with Luke at first. It doesn’t bother me that he is played by a black guy, but he is instead a police officer instead of a bookstore owner. I do, however, see why they did that. In the books, Luke and his pack meet and sort of live in an abandoned police station, and making Luke a police officer gives the show some potential like Luke being able to take care of dead bodies and stuff if needed.
Now onto the special effects and acting… THIS is what I had a problem with. I know it’s the first episode so I’m not going to complain much about the acting and effects because the show is still trying to find it’s footing, but I think it’s worth mentioning because what I’m doing is reviewing everything good and bad. The effects weren’t very good. The demons were the worst and then the portal thing was not amazing, but better than the demons. I loved the shadowhunter blades, but the way some of the actors were holding them was like they were holding them for the first time (pointed away from them, at arm’s length, and showing them off). But I loved how they looked. I wasn’t sure what to think about the way the demons “bleeded”. Do I call that lightning-looking-effect bleeding? Well, anyways, it bothered me quite a bit. Now on to the acting… This almost ruined it for me.
Basically everybody in this episode (excluding Valentine, Alec, Magnus, and Simon) weren’t the best at acting. 1) They looked way too happy to be there, even when they weren’t supposed to be happy 2) They were very monotonous whenever talking 3) They often didn’t know what to do with their arms, props, etc. The top three people who’s acting I had a problem with (and this could be because a lack of screen-time, no good lines, plain bad actors, or maybe they just haven’t figured out how they want their characters to be). These are in no particular order.
1. Clary. I don’t know how to start with Clary and Katherine McNamara’s acting as Clary. She was very non-Clary when she was supposed to be full-on Clary, plus she looked disconnected from most people when she was talking to them. I think Katherine McNamara is still trying to find her place acting-wise. She was in a Disney Channel movie called ‘Girl vs. Monster’ (ironic, right?), so she still has that Disney-vibe, which can be difficult to get rid of. But she was also in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials recently, though she wasn’t given much screen time. She was good at crying, though, and she looks like Clary (other than the clothes). I will give her a chance, I just think she has a lot of baggage to carry, being the lead character and all.
2. Jace. Dominic Sherwood is British, but Jace isn’t, which is already a struggle for the actor, faking an accent and all. I just think he doesn’t have the Jace-vibe yet. But he is getting close. He looks enough like Jace, but not as much as I think most people would’ve liked to see. I think if they keep on letting his hair grow out, he will look more like Jace does. His acting isn’t the best, I think this mainly is because he has to fake an accent every time he speaks, so it can be difficult, but once he is able to speak with an american accent AND say his lines coherently, he will be the perfect Jace.
3. Valentine’s Minions. These are minor characters and can be exchangeable (much like the demon pawns on Supernatural), so I don’t care much about how good they are at acting, but the actors that played the minions of Valentine weren’t good actors at all, but they mainly just fought, talked about getting a cup, and was choked by Magnus so I am not going to be very judgmental about that.
I will keep this short also, but I just wanted to point out a few things they changed from the book already.
1. In the book, Clary is 15 and likes to draw. In the TV show, she is turning 18 years old and is an art student, applying to an art school.
2) In the book, Luke is Caucasian and runs a bookstore. In the TV show, he is black and is a police officer.
3) In the book, Maureen isn’t Simon and Clary’s friend and is much younger (like 14!)
4) In the book, Jocelyn is kidnapped before she tries to tell Clary about the shadow world. Whilst in the TV show, Jocelyn gives her a stele for her birthday. A STELE! Nice way to be discreet, Jocelyn!
5) Madame Dorothea, an old lady in the books, is a young 20-something in the show named Dot.
6) In the books, Simon is a bassist in a band (keyword, band), but in the TV show he is the lead singer, whilst Maureen is the… DJ? And where are Simon’s band mates? (Btw: Nice foreshadowing by making him sing Forever Young, ha ha).
7) In the book, Clary kills the demon that attacks her in her home, while in the show, Jace comes to the rescue and stabs the demon in the chest.
8) In the book, Clary (and us) don’t meet Magnus until the shadowhunters go to a party at his house. In the show, Clary bumps into him at Pandemonium and there is a flashback showing young Clary having her memories removed of a demon attack by said-warlock.
9) In the book, Isabelle was mean to Clary at first, but in the TV show, we don’t get to see Isabelle’s sassy side, which I was really looking forward to.
10) In the book, the only shadowhunters in the institute are the Lightwoods, Jace, and Hodge, and the institute looks old and historic. In the TV show, there are multiple shadowhunters walking around, and they are using large screen projection things…which isn’t very shadowhunter-like. Jace himself would cringe at the thought of using a device as mundane as a tablet.
Even though there are things that I didn’t like in this pilot episode, and many things could be improved on, there is potential and I am excited for the next episode!