The Shannara Chronicles and Shadowhunters: First Impressions

Two TV-series based on book series that were not as bad as expected. For example, Shannara is a wonderful and magical world, filled with complex characters and creatures, The Mortal Instruments, is, average at best (although I have hopes for the Infernal Devices).

So this year these two series were released, both during the first few weeks of January, which is not a month in which many good things get released, but after seeing the first two episodes of each show, I have hopes that they will get better, and I will continue to watch them. I will tackle acting and characterization, accuracy and similarity to the books, and ease into world. 

Acting and Characterization: One of the shows exceeds the other in these aspects, The Shannara Chronicles. Although I am not very convinced by some of the acting in Shannara (from main female character), the side characters are much better than those from Shadowhunters. Basically, the side characters are the best actors in both series.

  • In Shannara we have Eretria, who felt like a more developed version of her book-self, as in here she is not as loved by her fake father as in the books. Allanon has a change of background story too, including a love interest that might or might not be more explored, but that I actually enjoyed. Ander does not really have much change of character, but he was portrayed very well. Main character Wil did a very good job as well, his backstory was changed, but he characterized it nonetheless.  I was surprised that they have managed to pull off the characters form the story by keeping much of the characteristics, as well as adding due to the change in the story-line; now give Eretria and Wil a better backstory than in the books, my shipper heart needs it. 
  • In Shadowhunters we have, Magnus, whom I just love because he is a boss.  Alec was “on-point,” he is the kind of Alec from the books I enjoyed, sassy ad always fuming, good job.  Simon I adored, maybe I am biased because he has Cuban descent, but I don’t care, he was realistic. Luke gave me the oddest “Law and Order” vibe ever, I like that about him, it makes much more sense than his actual backstory. Isabelle surprised me, because I knew they were going to sexualize her, but she does not care, she is comfortable in her body, and that is something that is not usually depicted, because women are usually accused of being sluts. Jace had an okay performance as well, much better than the film, he did not suck at least.
  • Now unto the bad characters Amberle and Clary. They both sucked, I hated how the characters were portrayed. The portrayals were overly dramatic, and due to the story-line that they are following, it is already dramatic, but these two ladies find it within themselves to over-dramatize once more, it drove me bananas. I do think they made the right choice for Amberle, but I am not too sure they made the right one with Clary’s casting. 

Accuracy and Similarity to Books: Both series deviated, quite a bit, from the original works, which I actually appreciated.

  • In Shannara books were Wil is a main character, he is 1/8 Elf, while in the show, they made him half-elf, which although not as good within the context of the books, seems more appealing for an audience that might not have read that very-very-long series.
  • In Shadowhunters there are more than the Lightwoods and Jace as shadowhunters, there are quite a lot of them, which I always wanted from the book series, because it made it a bit more appealing. There is also Hoge being a 30-year-old-looking-man instead of the very ancient version from the films, as well as the magical lady that lived under the Fray’s house not being evil.  I also appreciated that the characters are in college instead of the younger audience, it is much more appealing to me, as well as the fact that Jocelyn is in another business rather than whatever the hell I cannot remember she did in the film/books.  

Ease into the World: One of them did it much more subtlety than the other, Shannara again. Shadowhunters seemed like an info dump after another, but Alec and Simon saved it from being too awkward.  I do expect a better job from both shows in the episodes to come.

I cannot wait for the other episodes to be released, they are alright in a very addicting way, but I will have to take the shows in small doses, instead of binging them, I’ll have to see a episode a week, which is a normal thing that people tend to do apparently. 

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