Based on the best-selling young adult book series The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Shadowhunters features everything you ever hoped for in a fantasy series. It’s got faeries, warlocks, vampires, and werewolves. It has shadowhunters, human-angel hybrids, who protect the world from demons. It celebrates your typical good verses evil story line that follows a bunch of attractive teenagers wearing tight leather and tons of eyeliner around New York City. Naturally there’s a love triangle thrown in for good measure.
Does this plot scream ABC Family or what? Wait. Scratch that. ABC Family has officially switched over to its new name — Freeform. Sure it sounds like engineering software, but company officials are certain this rebranding effort will help wrangle in some millennials to enhance the current demographic of Pretty Little Liar fans and those housewives who love to watch holiday-themed made-for-TV romances featuring Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Here’s a tip Freeform: Have Simon (Alberto Rosende) take his shirt off every week like he did in episode 1. If you tweet a GIF, I’m sure the tweens and those of us who appreciate a nice set of abs will find a way to tune in for the remainder of the season.
I am a connoisseur of YA novels and have read the entire Mortal Instruments series. As an expert, I can say that certain liberties the director takes to make the television show different from the books have been minor. For the most part, I was able to go with the flow and enjoy the ride. Even if it did cover a ton of information in a short amount of time.
Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara) is our leading lady. She’s a plucky art student who lives a relatively normal life with her mother, Jocelyn, and her best friend, Simon. When she turns 18, Jocelyn morphs into a control freak because her daughter’s life is about to change dramatically. In a flashback, we witness sweet little Clary playing by a small pond with her mermaid doll. A disgusting demon pops out of the water threatening to eat Clary for lunch. Jocelyn whips out a glowing seraph blade and kills the demon with one strike. Clearly after that experience, Clary is in need of some serious time on the couch.
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Instead of taking her to a counselor, Jocelyn hauls the stunned child to warlock Magnus Bane. Jocelyn trusts him to remove all of Clary’s memories of the demon world. I trust he will eventually bust out some sweet dance moves since he’s played by the talented Harry Shum Jr. Time will tell.
In the present day, Jocelyn’s wish is for her daughter to have one more night of normalcy before having to explain that she comes from a long line of demon-hunting shadowhunters. Jocelyn’s not-really-but-kinda boyfriend Luke (the beautiful Isaiah Mustafa) promises to be there for moral support. Luke may not be a shadowhunter, but he is definitely magical in some way. Unless it’s normal for a cop’s eyes to glow green. Before Clary leaves for the evening with Simon, Jocelyn gifts her daughter with a family heirloom. It’s a steele. Shadowhunters use it to draw runes, or protective tattoos as I like to call them, all over their skin before battle. Of course, Clary’s mom doesn’t tell her that, and our birthday girl never why she received a weirdo paperweight for her birthday. She shoves it in her pocket for safe keeping. Teenagers.
Clary meets Simon and his duet partner Maureen to offer moral support when they tackle open mic night. After their set, Clary helps them load up their gear in a van that rivals the Mystery Machine when mysterious Jace (Dominic Sherwood) bumps into her. She yells at him to watch where he’s going and he turns, confused by the fact that this fiery redhead can see him. It’s love at first sight.
Simon is convinced his best friend was roofied because she appears to be talking to an imaginary person. Clary rushes inside the club and follows Jace behind a curtain. Siblings Isabelle (Emeraude Toubia) and Alec (Matthew Daddario) flank Jace as he questions a woman who gave a container of blood to two random dudes known as Circle members. Jace whips out his seraph blade, and Clary launches forward to save the woman from certain death. Neither of us were expecting tentacles to come out of the woman’s mouth!
NEXT: Be my Valentine