Watch out world! We prepared our signature cocktail, laid out the drinking game rules and settled in to watch ShadowHunters Premier with the world last night over on Twitter. Episode 1 was every bit as mystifying as we thought it might be. I attempt to give you the breakdown (sans spoilers) after the jump.
First things first: THE VERDICT IS STILL OUT. So while I may judge the episode, I’m not totally willing to give up up on this series. YET.
To start at the beginning of the episode, I enjoyed the opening sequence quite a bit. I found the first minute and a half of the episode perfect, actually. It introduces us to the ShadowHunter world without the annoying exposition of later in the episode.
This sequence also included style which I wish that we’d seen more of during the episode. I found myself wishing throughout that they’d spent less frivolously on action sequences that didn’t quite keep me in suspense and CGI that looked like child’s play. I refuse to talk about the fashion because Shadowhunter fashion is just not my thing. Ann found a pair of boots she really wanted in the episode, but the rest could be purchased from Hot Topic. I’m not even going to mention the weapons because I am laughing too hard at how much my nephew’s toy Lightsaber looks more lethal than the seraph blades.
The ending of the opening scene is ruined for me when Jace and Clary open their mouths and the viewer finds that they have absolutely no chemistry. It’s quite stunning to me that they would pick these two to play a couple instantly attracted to each other in the books. If there’s anything about the books that I appreciated, it was Jace and Clary’s instantaneous chemistry (even if it may or may not be taboo…eww, gross, I can’t believe I wrote that). The movie TOTALLY wins with Jace & Clary, the romantic couple.
Since ShadowHunters is based on a 6-book series, we understand that a 40-minute episode will leave room for worldbuilding, questions yet to be answered. Judging this TV series on the first episode would be like judging a book series on the first couple of books. However, it doesn’t mean we can’t criticize the WRITING, Shadowhunters is based on a beloved book series, after all.
For a first episode of a TV series, the writing seemed lazy and poorly paced. The writers had 6 books of rich worldbuilding to draw from and they gave us this first episode, which deviated from the source material in mysterious ways. Action happened without much explanation and they relied too heavily on the viewer’s suspension of disbelief. Was I drunk or did they incoherently shuffle through half of City of Bones last night?
I found the pacing perplexing. The biggest complaint about the movie was that we didn’t know characters names and the pacing felt rushed into two hours. After viewing this pilot, I would say that some of those complaints still hold true. The whole point of a TV series versus a movie is that there is more time to ferment and develop the story. What we’re hoping is that now that they set the foundation, the writers will now take their time with the story and backstories of all the characters in Episodes 2 and beyond. *Fingers Crossed*
Another issue with the pilot was the device of exposition by the use of definitions. There are a LOT of definitions in this episode, much like a 6th grade vocabulary test, and none of it helped to further the plot. In fact, the rapid -fire definitions made things seem much more convoluted than they really should have been. Also, with about half a dozen videos like this already out there promoting the show, it wasn’t absolutely necessary.
We understand that there are terms we don’t understand as viewers, but we’ll come to understand down the road as we continue watching the show. Honestly, this pilot was paced like the showrunners weren’t sure that they’d get a full season out of it. There were a LOT of reveals, which gave us whiplash. We hope they slow the pace, concentrate on the story and character development and still include that bit of edge we have come to expect from the book series.
An interesting tidbit we learned today is that the Shadowhunters TV show was made without Cassandra Clare’s input. She speaks to all the changes you’ve already pinged her about in this blog post.
Who were the winners and who were the losers this week?
The Winners: Alberto Rosende as Simon (He owns Simon)
The Losers: The writers (“I’ve got you” is the WORST)
Why tune in next week? More on the missing Mortal Cup (hint: is it on sale at Ikea?)
So, while we weren’t totally impressed with this pilot, we did manage to entertain ourselves over on Twitter with live coverage using the hashtag #YAWDrinking and, as promised, we had a flash giveaway at the end of the episode for those willing tweeting along with us:
We also set-up a Twitter Poll, which is vaguely titled: Shadowhunters? You have until 10:15 on January 13th to register your response.
Obviously, we would respond Drunk because our drinking game rules were BRUTAL.
Hoping to see y’all on Twitter next week. I’m going to go and drink a gallon of water and eat some greasy food to cure this hangover. Cheers!