Television Review: Shadowhunters, Series 2



With Jace and the Mortal Cup in Valentine’s hands, things are looking desperate for the Shadowhunters. Clary has her mother back – but does she really know the woman who raised her? Can she trust her?

Alec battles between his duty and accepting his feelings for Magnus. Meanwhile, Isabel battles an addiction and strays into the vampire world a little too close for comfort.

Simon, in the meantime, must come to terms with being a vampire, his mother and emotions unrelated to bloodlust. Go figure.

But as Valentine’s power grows, their problems are only just beginning. Survival is key to everything.

Programme: Shadowhunters, Series 2

Company: Netflix

Date: 2017

Shadowhunters, Series 1

I enjoyed the first series of Shadowhunters and was looking forward to the second. But as the series progressed, I quickly lost interest and each episode felt more far-fetched than the last.

I understand adaptations vary from the books: that’s why I stuck with (and subsequently enjoyed) the first series. But this second series went down a different road entirely. I wanted to see the show because of the plot, characters and relationships that I loved from the books. The direction this has taken, however, means I am not sure that it remains true to any of these things.

So, characters…

The main characters stay quite true, despite Max being a brat. But the sheer number of additional characters makes it hard for the story to stay focused on our heroes – fewer characters with purer intentions would have made a stronger plot. The secondary characters, including Maia, have been changed completely just to drive the plot forward and add friction.

Isabelle, however, goes down a path of addiction. I didn’t like this story arc, especially as it felt to me like it was done to a) reference the other books but b) just to give her a storyline of her own. It undermined her character and made her weak – a trait Isabelle Lightwood is not.

“On every mission I’ve ever been on, I’ve never felt that type of fear. Ever. Not knowing if you were alive or dead. I- I was terrified.”

Other characters (spoiler-free review!) not did not make it to the end of the series. Although they do not play a massive role in the later story in the books, it is just another deviation that takes the show down a new route. The death in question was also underplayed and didn’t really have the emotional impact it should have done.

Relationships are interesting and complicated. So saying, they are in the book as well!

But one relationship in particular annoyed me. Yes, I am comparing it to the books, but this was a couple that never happened in the books! As it has happened, it’s stunted the relationship/character growth of other characters and once again sends the show spiralling down a new path.

The characters’ love for each other is such a driving force in the novels, it’s hard to see how that is going to translate to the screen with the direction it is going.

The episodes themselves were average. To break away from the books effectively, it needs a strong story-arc and powerful episodes that makes you accept this new direction. Personally, for me, series 2 did not do that. Episodes felt slow rather than driving the plot forward – there was scope to do so much more, an opportunity missed.

If there is a series 3 of Shadowhunters, I won’t be returning to it. I would rather stay with the books that I know and love. I would be interested to hear what people who don’t know the books think of it though and if it worked for them.

An adaptation, for me, has to remain true to the books in some form and I don’t feel that Shadowhunters is doing that.


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4 thoughts on “Television Review: Shadowhunters, Series 2

  1. Thanks for the honest review, Lindsey. I watched the first season but left it mid-way as it failed to grab my attention.
    I can relate to you. A few changes in adaptations are okay, but over do it and you have a failed attempt. This was one of the reasons I don’t like watching adaptations. But some are really great. Did you watch Lemony Snicket’s Series OF Unfortunate Events Netflix series? That was awesome!!

    Liked by 1 person

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