My name is Christie and I am a sucker for book based movies and TV shows. I streamed Freeform’s (formerly ABCFamily) Shadowhunters the other day, and on one hand was really quite surprised. The first two episodes (two combined to form the first showing) were really good- much better than the movie, and yet there were a lot of things that stood out as major deviations from the book. And I am one who really liked the books, so that pulled me out of my happy little world.
I am one of those people who won’t read books that have announced movie adaptations until AFTER the movies come out if I haven’t read them already, which is really annoying with the current trend of studios’ buying up movie rights to books. I have read The 5th Wave, but since they were doing the movie I haven’t read The Infinite Sea, even though it came out this fall. I just can’t do it: I’ll have Chloe Moretz and Nick Robinson in my head as the main characters instead of what I imagined. And I know that there are going to be things, big and little, that have changed and that will just be irksome. From Dudley not getting to apologize and say goodbye in the Harry Potter movies to the complete cosmic overhaul of Ridley in Beautiful Creatures, there are a lot of changes that go on between the book and the big screen, and usually they are beyond the author’s control.
I get that. However, some of the things that pulled me out were central to what pulled me and my teens to the series. Some could be coming later, some were probably changed to make for better TV and suspense, and some were just seemed wrong in the Shadowhunter world that those who’ve read the books lived in. Have you read the books? Seen the first two episodes? Just curious? Then take the jump and see if you noticed what I did.
One of the things that my teens really liked in the books was that Clary was short, measuring just over 5 feet. It made them feel a relationship with her, make her feel more real: unlike a lot of supernatural characters, Clary wasn’t tall, blonde, or traditionally beautiful. Yet if you take a look at the Clary in the series or the movie, they’re both above average height and beautiful. Granted, this is Hollywood we’re talking about and they’re going to have to cast for an audience, but it would have been wonderful if she were shorter than Jace and Simon.
Yes, Clary is borrowing Isabella’s clothing, and yes, Izzy is a lover of form-fitting clothing. But really, are they going to fight demons, vampires, and other downworlders in pencil-thin heels? Take a look at what she’s wearing during the testing of her memory above… And it’s not just Clary’s and Izzy’s clothing that’s ridiculous; there’s a Circle member who’s running down people in a tight dress and heels, too. However, Luke takes care of that problem.
In the books, Hodge is as old as Clary’s mom, injured, and bound to the Institute. In the movie, he was portrayed as the researcher for lack of a better term. In the TV series? A same-age, hot, tortured Shadowhunter with a rune that is making it completely painful for him to talk about things.
In the movie version, the adult Lightwoods (Izzy and Alec’s parents) are AWOL completely- my guess was they might have shown up in movie #2 if it got that far. In Shadowhunters, they’re listed for 6 episodes, so they’re going to show up for half the time, yet in the books they were an integral part of the running of the NY Branch of the Institute. But then again, if we hide the parents, we can hide baby brother…. *sob*
When did everything get so high-tech? Computer tracking and digital files, and all the people flowing in and about? Tens upon tens of Shadowhunters running about the church, when an underlying theme of the books is the fact that the Shadowhunter population is in huge decline? WHERE did these people come from? I understand the appeal, and it definitely brings in a whole new facet of readers, but it’s a little jarring to those that follow the books. I’m not the only one who noticed- I had a bunch of FB messages from teens asking me about the tech advances in the Institute.
What’s going to keep me watching
- The diversity: Shadowhunters has one of the most diverse casts I have seen in a long while for a teen based show. I love that Luke is black, that Izzy is Mexican/Lebanese, that Harry Shum, Jr. is Chinese but born in Costa Rico. I love that most of the characters have been cast as POC, and secretly do a happy dance when another shows up.
- Harry Shum, Jr. I adore Magnus as a character, and thought that Godfrey Gao played the part wonderfully in Mortal Instruments. However, I saw Harry in Glee, and I really want to see what he’ll do with Magnus, and where they’ll take Magnus’s and Alec’s relationship on TV.
- What they’ll do after the first season: They seem to be moving pretty quickly through the first book from what I remember (full disclosure- it’s been years since I’ve read it, and my copy is currently boxed up from our move from Texas to Florida). I’m wondering how fast they’ll get through the first book, and whether the first book will be the first season, the second book the second season, etc.
Are you watching Shadowhunters? What do you think?