Book fans all over can rejoice! The Mortal Instruments is being turned into a TV show, titled Shadowhunters. The six-part book series written by Cassandra Clare has been issued a 13-episode series by ABC Family; giving this franchise the perfect chance at a fresh start.
As you might know, in 2013, we were given the unfortunate The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones film. It was supposed to be the first of many in a film series, targeting young fans to try and make it as popular The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, but it didn’t just fall short, it fell flat on it’s face.
The series is going to try to make up for the previous failure and target older audiences as well. It’s focus is: “Shadowhunters follows 18 year old Clary Fray, who finds out on her birthday that she is not who she thinks she is, but rather comes from a long line of Shadowhunters — human-angel hybrids who hunt down demons. When her mother Jocelyn is kidnapped, Clary is thrown into the world of demon hunting with mysterious Shadowhunter Jace and her best friend, Simon. Now living among faeries, warlocks, vampires and werewolves, Clary begins a journey of self-discovery as she learns more about her past and what her future may hold.”
While we’re excited for this prospect, we were also once excited for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones film, so we’re wary. There is a lot to do to make up for that flop. And we think as someone who has avidly consumed the books, we’re the right people to speak out.
1. Take the time to find the right cast.
No offense to Lily Collins or Jamie Campbell Bower, we did enjoy your time as Clary and Jace. But, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Valentine…come ON. Not only was that bad casting acting-wise (he’s just not bone-chillingly scary) but visually, it didn’t work. Valentine is supposed to have white blonde hair, not be a dude with dreads. However, we’re all for Lena Headey reprising her role as Jocelyn Badass Fray and Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane, thanks to his beauty and charm. In order to get a fresh start, look for people who not only are talented, but look like the characters we’ve spent years imagining.
2. You can change things, but don’t completely re-write the script.
Changes are necessary. We get that. Especially when adapting from book-to-screen. But The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones rewrote the entire ending. It came out of left field and left a bad taste in our mouths. Don’t do that. People are going to tune into the show for a few reasons, but a big reason will be because they are fans and want to see their fandom represented accurately. Don’t insult the fans by getting rid of characters, cutting important scenes, or making things up drastically.
3. Focus on the love, but don’t let it consume the entire plot.
If you’ve read the books, then you know the Jace/Clary storyline is big. Like, huge. Sorry for the spoiler, but the books have been out for years. However, their relationship is not everything. There are other couples that we love just as much. So while their love is important, there is a lot more going on than just that. Don’t let this turn into some teenage romance drama series that has the occasional demon or warlock hanging around.
4. Do all of the creatures and Shadowhunters justice.
The film did make everyone look pretty badass, but we think that an entire TV show gives it more of a chance to flesh out all the badass moves that Shadowhunters can do, and how gross demons can look, or how beautiful fairies are, or how powerful warlocks are. Think of it this way, Cassandra created an entire world for you to pick from. It’s all written there. We think you can find a way to bring it all to life in a fair way.
5. Really focus on making this show about self discovery.
Clary starts out the series by thinking she’s just a plain, normal 16-year old girl. She doesn’t think there is anything special about her at all, until one day she sees something unexplainable happen and then her mom is kidnapped. Her life is turned upside down and she finds out that she’s so far from normal, it’s comical. ABC Family is a great channel for self discovery, given that it’s viewers are at a prime age where they’re still figuring out their own lives. Make a story that is quite obviously unrelatable for us normal humans and turn it into something we can grasp onto, despite how unrealistic it’s plot may be. It’s what we want to tune in for.
Also, another suggestion, don’t forget the humor. The greatest part about Clare’s writing style (besides her vivid imagination and ability to create alternate worlds) is her sarcastic, witty style. She’s able give each character their own voice and make them funny in their own right, whether they’re trying to be funny like Jace or naturally hilarious like Simon.
Shadowhunters does not have an airdate yet, nor has a cast been selected, but it it reported that filming will begin some time in May 2015. Check back with us to find out more about casting as it happens!
What are you looking forward to most about Shadowhunters? Chat with us on Twitter and make sure to tag @ABCFamily!