Today marks the start of a little series of reviews of Freeform’s (Netflix if you are not in the US) new show Shadowhunters. I just started watching the show and every week I am going to be reviewing and examining the episodes as I watch them. This also will be the end of introductory type posts, as after this the need for context will be much less urgent.
Let’s get this started with some background information! Shadowhunters is based on the book series The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. The series follows a young girl, Clary Fray, on a journey that takes her from a “plain” and “normal” girl to the realization that she is more than that. Her mother has been, her entire life, hiding something from her. The secret is that she is half angel, people like her are called shadowhunters and they fight demons and evil creatures in order to keep the human world save. That’s not it though. Clary is also informed that the Big Bad Man in the shadowhunter world, Valentine, is her father. After her father kidnaps her mother Clary embarks on an adventure with her Nice Guy™ friend Simon and a motley cru of young shadowhunters. Naturally love triangles, arguments, jealously and tears ensue. Sound ridiculous? Don’t worry, it gets better… but really just worse. There are numerous incest storylines (the first one is fake…but then 3 or maybe 4 books later there is another moment of intentional (???????) incest). It has also already been made into a movie which…did not do well.
Additionally, the books author, Cassandra Clare, has a long history of plagiarism and fandom issues that are topics of discussions to this day. If you are interested and have an afternoon to spare, here’s some background information on that: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 [edit: She is being sued for copyright infringement. What perfect timing!]. My blog however is not about her plagiarism, and even if it were it would probably take me years to sift through her work and her interactions with people online. Anyway, full disclosure; these books were not great, and the show is mediocre at best. However, obviously it has something that I enjoyed enough to buy and read 6 books of, and also enough of something that is keeping me interested in the show. I hope with these reviews over the weeks that I can merge enjoying this show as a fun reimagining of the book series, while also discussing the ways they present young girls on the show, and consequences of the gender roles represented. So without further ado here is my recap/review of the episode and a little bit of analysis to wrap it up!