Shadowhunters gives hope for more development


With a new year comes another chance for producers to get it right.  “Shadowhunters” just kicked off its second season and has already premiered its first three episodes. Firstly, “Shadowhunters” is based off of a book series, “The Mortal Instruments,” which has been very near and dear to me since middle school. It’s one of numerous series that take place within Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter universe.

The show, like the book, is about a girl named Clary Fray who lives a normal, mundane life until the night she witnesses three strangers with markings on their skin murder someone they claim to be a demon. Soon after, Clary is introduced to the world of Shadowhunters, a hidden race of Angel-blooded warriors committed to protecting humans from demons and driving demons back to their own worlds. But after coming face-to-face with these Shadowhunters, Clary’s mother is kidnapped by an enemy well-known to the Angel-blooded warriors and Clary’s mother as well. Desperate to save her mother, Clary is thrust into the Shadow World where her life will change forever.

After being disappointed by the movie adaption of this series, I was excited that my favorite book series of all time was given a second chance of being brought to the screen. After watching the first season around the same time last year, I can safely say that I much prefer this adaptation compared to the poorly-made film. But that does not mean I have zero issues with “Shadowhunters.” Oh no, I have plenty of critiques that is only natural for a fan of the books to have. There were many negatives in the first season, but I’m glad to say there were positives too. But as that was only the first season, I have much hope for improvement in the future seasons of “Shadowhunters,” and I have already seen a few in the first three episodes of the second season premiere.

For one thing, the visuals are already so much better this season. Right off the bat I noticed the change in appearance of Portals and how they look so much more real and less cheesy than those purple space-looking things last season. The combat scenes are well-done and look realistic. The weapons have been improved and blessed with clever details that make them look more like they were described in the books.

I would also like to note how well the actors have settled into their roles. The actors have grown so comfortable with each other and their characters, it is noticeable. It’s a relief to see more character-driven story lines instead of the plot-driven ones we received in the first season. Emotional moments don’t really work if the audience has not become attached to the characters yet. I am pleased to see that the characters are having more time to explore their relationships with one another, though I wish the writers would slow down with developing the ‘ships.’ Yes, many book fans love the couples within the books, but one of the great aspects of ‘shipping’ is the build up and getting to watch all of that pay off once the two characters finally get together. This especially points to the relationship between Magnus and Alec, and Jace and Clary.

Another issue I have with the show is the writing. Although I’m sure everyone would prefer for the show to follow the books exactly, it’s unfortunate that it never seems to quite happen in book-to-screen adaptations. However, if the show followed the general idea of the books and created its own rules in a way that made sense, then I find that it would be alright. As long as the characters are given justice, the general plot is still there and the show is entertaining, then I’m more open to it. However, the writers of the show just seem to be making up rules willy-nilly with no concern whatsoever if there are plot holes. And there are many plot holes.

For example, it seems that there is a rune for everything. The runes only exist to give Shadowhunters the special abilities they need in order to fight demons. If there’s a rune or solution to anything, then there are no limits to this world. If there are no limits, then how is there supposed to be struggles for the characters to deal with and develop around? The idea of magic without boundaries is probably what exasperates me the most about the show, aside from the choppy dialogue and weird plot twists the writers feel compelled to toss in every time the show seems to be making great improvement.

In short, I have hope that the story will develop and improve once the new showrunners for the series come in the next episode. As I’ve said before, this show is an adaption of my favorite book series, so of course I want it to do well. However, in order for it to get better, the writers need to stop and consider the way the author wrote this amazing fictional world and how she has woven everything together to make sense and be entertaining. If they follow the rules of this incredible world full of Shadowhunters and demons and other mystical creatures, then there is no doubt the show will improve for the better.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)