Those of us who love books (hi guys!) know there's no bigger wish than to finally have our favourite characters adapted to the big screen, or in this case the small screen.
Having previously failed as a movie with a cast that I personally very much appreciated, I was interested to see the new actors that would be introduced as the characters we all know. The first thing that I noticed about the cast was the when casting for canonically white roles, they weren't afraid to hire POC and not comment on the changes. The only cast members that I knew were Dom Sherwood from Vampire Academy and The Cut, Kat McNamara from Happyland and Isaiah Mustafa as the Old Spice Guy. As such, I was looking forward to seeing how the cast were going to play off of each other - it's entirely possible to pass chemistry tests and still not have it pass off on the screen, especially when dealing with previously established characters who already had TWO interpretations.
I had to say, I wasn't particularly looking forward to it as I'm not really a fan of the first three books and the process of Clary getting thrust into this world always suspends belief when being visually adapted, this series was no exception. Whilst I would say the first episode was a generous 5, I think by the final episode of season 1 (come back to me!) it was at least an 8/10.
Below I'm just going to list what I really enjoyed about the series whilst also discussing the changes made from the books. I just would like to state that any changes I didn't like are no reflection on the actors themselves, I would say the cast is pretty solid and more interestingly from social media and cons, they seem pretty cool and genuinely friendly with each other. As someone who watches a lot of TV I can say that's one of the best things for the show as well as fun for the fans to watch.
As a fan of YA adaptations, I knew I had to support this so that hopefully more can occur, especially in the medium of TV, and I'm glad I did.
Check out what I thought did and didn't work by clicking on the link! :)
Best aspects/ changes:
- Izzy and Clary had a pleasant relationship straight from the get go and it only became more positive as the series progressed - in the books Isabelle basically hates Clary until the 3rd book then in the 4th book they're almost best friends out of nowhere?
- Izzy is positively portrayed as an intelligent young woman in charge of her own femininity and just as good a fighter than the boys, if not better
- Alec is really given an opportunity to be a developed character, as the books are mostly in Clary's perspective and Alec hates her it's near impossible to see something positive about Alec that doesn't come out of Isabelle or Jace's mouths for the first 3 books - However the series has yet to accurately portray how Alec isn't seen as a good fighter for a while because he's always looking out for his siblings.
- A lot of the characters are different from in the books and 80% of the time, this is a welcome benefit. I feel like anyone who has read the series may be willing to admit that the first three books were weaker in ways that were partially revitalized in the last three books.
- Due to the serialized nature of TV, I felt it was definitely more dramatic but in a "I can't wait to watch next week" sort of way, which is good.
- Out of 7 main characters, 6 of which were originally written as white characters, 4 members of the main cast are POC and most importantly this isn't treated as a big deal! Why shouldn't they be POC is the question the casting directors are asking and I love it.
- MALEC - I liked having more focus on their developing relationship
- Valentine's plot makes no sense in the long run it's only going to make them look more stupid when Sebastian comes and has the exact same plan - whilst it's worth noting that the producers/writers can change Sebastian's storyline, what he chose to do was what made him the character he is
- Jace and Alec had such a weird parabatai bond - the parabatai tracking is not an established thing but Alec would NEVER willingly do something that would put his relationship with Jace at risk
- Similarly, Jace leaving and being willing to get his sister in trouble to help Clary isn't a thing that would happen at least not to this extent. I understand that creating conflict is nice for writers but kindly: please don't almost ruin family relationships in characters that would never dream of doing so
- Having Izzy nearly be stripped of her runes. Seriously?
- Camille being introduced this early reduces the storyline for Raphael and also comes across as unlikely to produce to any good AND smart upcoming storylines as she currently serves no real purpose that moves the story along
- This isn't a change but I can now confirm that the sibling reveal 100% get dumber every time it comes up, it's a gross storyline that's somehow meant to be okay because we know/find out it's not entirely true.
- The institute is inhabited by people other than the Lightwoods and Hodge, it might seem stupid to put this down as a bad change but seeing as the other people don't seem to actively do anything or have any lines. Having more people in the institute means that it makes no sense for the Lightwoods to be so stupid as there is no way they don't need permission/back up from people that are actually allowed to leave the Institute.
- Imogen Herondale was introduced early, maybe to have her be hated earlier or for whatever reason but I think her coming in early might reduce the power with which she returns.
- OMG, the Circle and those nasty looking ketchup Circle runes were ridiculous. The Circle is stupid, but not stupid enough a) to wear their Circle runes ( basically Harry Potter dark marks amirite?) so openly and b) somehow be able to create a new rune when that's not how it works and be so open about it
Changes I don't even know how I feel about:
- Lydia Branwell. I'm extremely conflicted because she's a wonderful character and a great actress but her storyline was ridiculous in terms of the long run. If they absolutely needed other people in the Institute, Lydia would have been a great addition as opposed to the role they had her play.
- Jocelyn gets woken up pretty early considering all the information she has, but it might be that season 2 is books 2+3 put together, especially as the entire six book series takes place in 6? months if I remember correctly.
Recommend to: fans of YA, people that would like to support YA adaptations
Rating: 3.5 stars