Shadowhunters S1E1 Review

Shadowhunters S1E1 Review

Based on the bestselling series by Cassandra Clare, this disappointing first episode doesn’t live up to it’s amazing paper counter-part.

There were high hopes for the Shadowhunters TV show and the 2013 film: The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones, was better than the TV show – which is apparently saying something since the film was a flop at the cinemas (personally, I liked it).

The first few minutes of the pilot episode were like an action music video, introducing three of the main characters – Jace Wayland (Dominic Sherwood), Isabelle Lightwood (Emeraude Toubia) and Alec Lightwood (Matthew Daddario) – whilst blasting pop music until your ears bleed.



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Matthew Daddario as Alec Lightwood



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Emeraude Toubia as Isabelle Lightwood



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Dominic Sherwood as Jace Wayland



After the opening few minutes, it’s a bumpy road for the rest of the episode. The scenes with Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara) and Simon Lewis (Alberto Rosende) are just about watchable, with their casual conversations and Simon hinting that he’s in love with Clary. Rosende is probably one of the better actors in the pilot. Even though he’s not one of the main characters, he steps up to the plate to take on the slack that the other actors have left.

The acting just doesn’t seem to be brilliant. They seem stiff. Now of course, it’s the pilot episode and nearly every pilot episode is bumpy and not the best, but the acting shouldn’t be bad. It just shouldn’t be. The one line that seems to be the worst of all is when Katherine McNamara grabs ahold of a demon (she has no idea) and says “somebody works out. Cool contacts.” As a viewer, you’re just staring at the screen, mouth agape and just screaming “NO! NO! NO!” It’s more of a bad script than anything. There’s only so much actors can do with a bad script. But that was just one example where you just want to facepalm at the bad lines and acting.



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Harry Shum Jr as Magnus Bane



From left to right: Alberto Rosende as Simon Lewis, Katherine McNamara as Clary Fray, and Shailene Garett as Maureen Brown



The worst of all is the club scene in Pandemonium. Again, pop music blasting and it’s too fast-paced, there’s too much going on and it’s hard to keep up. This seems to be a regular occurrence throughout the episode. Too much happens, we’re introduced to too many characters and it ruins it.



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Alan van Sprang as Valentine



Magnus Bane (Harry Shum Jr) is introduced and so is Valentine Morgernstern (Alan Van Sprang) and it’s too early to introduce these characters. It’s the pilot episode! The writers need to remember that they aren’t doing a movie, they don’t have 90 minutes to tell a story. They have 13 episodes. That’s pretty much 13 hours. They can take their time, they can have the first story just setting up the first few main characters and then have the second, third and fourth episodes slowly bringing in the extra characters.

Even though most of it is negative, the casting is brilliant. They got it right for the 2013 film and they’ve got it right for Shadowhunters. I was particularly impressed with the casting for Magnus Bane; Harry Shum Jr is brilliant so far at depicting the character.

The pilot episode was a fail, even though it raked in 1.82 million viewers in the U.S alone. Obviously, the hype was too much. We’ll have to see what the ratings are like for the second episode.


Hopefully, the show will come back and be brilliant like it should be. The second episode has to be better. It has to be. They tried to cover too much ground in the first episode so let’s hope they slow it down for the next couple of episodes.


What did you think of the pilot episode? Leave a comment below!

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