So, I watched this show when it first came out. Well, I watched like maybe the first two episodes lol but I watched it because of the movie. I thought the movie sucked donkey balls and I only watched the movie because of Aidan Turner (I love him lol) but I thought maybe the show would be better. It was, at least better than the movie. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect but it’s a lot of fun and I think everyone is likable. So, why did I start watching it officially now? Well, I always told myself that someday I would go back and binge it since it’s kind of up my alley but it’s because of The New Legends of Monkey show that I decided to watch it. So I have this thing where if I liked an actor or actress, I’ll look to see what else they were in and generally watch their entire filmography if I can. So I liked Chai Hansen enough in The New Legends of Monkey that I wanted to watch other things he’s in which includes Shadowhunters. He’s in season three, so I was like *sighs* I wonder if I’ll be able to keep with the show just for him in season three and well… here we are lol.
Disclaimer: I have not read the books so this based solely on the TV show. This is a review of the show and not the books or the movie (I might review that snoozefest another time).
I’m also going to try to not spoil things but some things I can’t talk about without spoiling so I’ll let you know if there’s a spoiler in that section.
Summary: After her mother disappears, Clary must venture into the dark world of demon hunting, and embrace her new role among the Shadowhunters.
Cast and Characters. So we have a lot of characters in this show. I’m going to highlight the main cast and a few of the recurring characters, the ones that made the most impact on me and the show.
Katherine McNamara as Clarissa “Clary Fray” Fairchild
Backstory: So in the beginning Clary Fray has been accepted in the Brooklyn Academy of Arts and her life is going swell. While with her friends Simon and Maureen she gets bumped into by a mysterious blonde boy, who seems surprised that she can see him. She of course wants to prove to Simon and Maureen that there was indeed a boy there, so she goes into the club to find him thus beginning our adventure as she witnesses a fight between a group of young adults and some creatures. The three people tell her who they are, they are “Shadowhunters”, humans born with angelic blood who protects humans (mundanes) from demons. Later that night, Clary’s mother, Jocelyn, is abducted by a group of rogue Shadowhunters called the Circle. Their leader is Jocelyn’s ex-husband, Valentine Morgenstern. With her mother missing, Clary turns to Luke, a person she trusted, only to seemingly be betrayed. Clary joins up with a band of Shadowhunters to save her mother and discovers powers she never knew she possessed.
Character: So Clary is pretty much the typical “YA” female lead, the girl who doesn’t know about the supernatural but gets thrust in that world. The thing I do like about her though is that while she is learning about all of this, she still tries to be an active participant by actually doing things. She can be a bit narrow-minded in that she really wants to save her mother, so she does whatever she can to do it. Everyone else helps her and I think she just a bit, selfishly expects everyone to just help her. With that said, Clary also does what she can to help others as well, she doesn’t necessarily always make the smart decisions but she’ll try to do what she thinks is right. She is very headstrong and determined. I love the fact that we see she’s not a natural at being a Shadowhunter, she has to actually work at it, even with some of her other natural talents. As the series progresses, we see her evolve a bit, she matures and I think she becomes a stronger, less annoying character after the first season.
Acting: I think Katherine McNamara does well in the role. She does have some really annoying tics that she does and sometimes her emotional begging/pleading feels over the top but it works in the long run for the character. She has great chemistry with her cast mates, and I think as the series progressed, she got more into her character and she felt more like a human than a young adult “heroine”. She does really well in the season 3 mid-season finale and I think the moments where she gets that determined smirky look on her face is probably my favorite because it’s funny you know she’s about to do something interesting either way. Oh, and I’m glad they seemed to slightly darken her hair. I know McNamara is a natural redhead and from the research I did, Clary’s hair is kind of “carotty” but that’s not really appealing on-screen, personally. It was really kind of jarring in the first season, so while I like that her hair isn’t the typical red, I like the fact that they made it look more natural.
Dominic Sherwood as Jace Wayland
Backstory: Jace Wayland is a Shadowhunter living at the New York Institute with his adopted family. Jace’s legal name changes throughout the series, the poor kid has a hard time trying to even figure out who he is due to the fact he learns about his ancestry constantly and most times it’s lies. Jace has a lot of history that is learned, and a lot of things happen and I don’t want to spoil everything but I will have to spoil some things. So, one of the biggest things is that Jace spent his preteen and teenage years with the Lightwoods after his father, Michael Wayland died. So he became really close with Alec and Izzy, he even becomes Alec’s parabatai (it’s like this kind of intimate brotherly bond that allows their souls to be linked). Valentine tells Jace, that Jace is his son, which crushes him (since Valentine is also Clary’s father) but we end up learning a lot of other things as well.
Character: Jace is obviously the male lead of the show, since he and Clary kind of have a “meet-cute”, and he is immediately drawn to her, just as she is to him. He apparently is the best Shadowhunter, or at least the one with the best record. He is a little impulsive, and selfish in ways, but he really tries to help people. A lot of times, he does things for Clary, it’s what she wants, and he loves her, so obviously he’ll do it for her. He marches to the beat of his own drum, not always following the rules and he loves doing what he does. Being that he is a Shadowhunter, he doesn’t really understand human things, so whenever Simon or Clary make a pop culture reference or some kind of “mundane” thing, he doesn’t understand or he makes fun of it. Now, I do think Jace can be kind of mean and intimidating. It doesn’t work on everyone but he does come off that way and I believe there is something scary about him. I think he’s a very interesting and layered character, a lot has happened to him in this show, especially the first half of season 3, I hope nothing gets pushed to the side but is talked about and conquered.
Acting: I definitely thought that Jamie Campbell Bower in the film was a good Jace, very different, but a good one. However, I think Dominic Sherwood really shines as this character and I think he’s a standout in the show. Jace goes through an emotional roller coaster on this show, I mean this dude goes through a lot of things emotionally and I think Dominic does a great job. I very much enjoy him. I think Jace would easily be just a plain jerk, because he has his moments but I like the fact that Dominic plays him very subdued, you can see the makings of an unlikable character but Dominic prevents that even while still showing that Jace isn’t this perfect person. When he’s being sassy and snarky, I love it because he just smirks (and I love his lips) or he does a big smile like it’s nothing. I really do enjoy watching him. I also think Season 3 is some of his best acting so far, there is this scene with him, Alec and Izzy in a mental realm and it’s so heartbreaking and he does such a good job that I really felt for him.
Alberto Rosende as Simon Lewis
Backstory: Simon and Clary have been friends since they were young, they are best friends and pretty much inseparable. Simon has an obvious crush on Clary but he never actually got around to telling her. Simon has a love and passion for music but he feels pressure to become a CPA because that’s what his mom wants, since he’s her only son. When Clary disappeared on her 18th birthday, he is frantic with worry and manages to find her using a phone app and thus begins his introduction to the Shadow World. At first, he keeps being distracted by Isabelle, in order for Clary and Jace to try to discover some secrets, but he ends up being kidnapped by Raphael (a vampire) who would exchange him for the Mortal Cup. While captive, the leader of the Vampires Camille put Simon under her encanto charm to get him to tell her where the cup was, while doing this, she fed on him and offered him blood to drink until the others rescued him. So, long story short, he got all angsty and emotional (more than usual) and he eventually went back to Camille who killed him. Raphael gave him to Clary and the others, and ultimately Clary decided to bring him back as a vampire. He pretty much is around after that, living as a vampire. He and Clary get to have their chance, then he meets Maia who obviously likes him. He also is now a Daylighter because when he was kidnapped by Valentine, he slit his throat to make Clary come faster, so a disguised Jace, allowed Simon to feed on him in order to heal and I’m sure the angel blood, which they kind of talk about, allows Simon to be a Daylighter. Anyways, the Seelie Queen has a weird obsession with him and brands him with a mark, that pretty much harms anyone who tries to attack him.
Character: I like Simon for the most part, he’s sweet, kind and loyal to a fault but there are also times when he can be annoying. He is a nerd, he loves music, movies, very much into pop culture, or “vintage movies”. He’s someone who I would probably hang out with considering his positive energy but it would have to be in doses because he would probably drain me too. He is the first one to find humor in any situation, he’ll tell jokes to lighten the mood, or make a reference or something and I usually always chuckle or laugh at whatever he says. I like how he’s willing to stick by Clary’s side, I like that he tries to help in whatever way he can. Simon has morals, part of him hates being a vampire because he hates the idea of hurting or killing humans (mundanes), but he is also pretty resourceful when he needs to be. Now, I do think Simon is naive most times, he’s like a little lost puppy.
Acting: Alberto is really good in the role. I think Simon could very much be unlikable, I didn’t really care for him in the movie, but that might have been the actor, but Alberto keeps Simon grounded and human. I like how he plays Simon’s fast talking when he’s excited, nervous or pretty much anything lol. The way he looks at Clary or later looks at Maia is so sweet. Season 3 was also a lot of acting highlights for him, especially when it came to dealing with his family, it was so sad and I really think that was some of Alberto’s best acting on the show so far.
Matthew Daddario as Alec Lightwood
Backstory: Alec is the eldest child of Maryse and Robert Lightwood. He is the older brother of Isabelle and Max. Their mother is very distant and cold, so Alec grew up with a strong desire to prove himself worthy, to make his parents proud and bring honor to the family. He very much follows the rules and orders to the letter. When Jace was brought to live with them, they immediately hit it off and became parabatai. Alec realized he developed romantic feelings for Jace didn’t want to go through with the ceremony but Isabelle convinced to go through with the ceremony. While his parents are gone, he is often appointed the acting head of the Institute. When Clary becomes involved, Alec doesn’t like or trust her and he hates that Jace just goes along with her ideas on a whim. Plus, he was jealous. They meet Magnus Bane at a party, and Magnus immediately starts flirting with Alec every chance they meet. Long story short, a lot happens and Alec goes through a lot, emotionally, Isabelle is very good with being supportive and for him to just be himself. He and Magnus finally get together, Alec in ways, gets along with Clary, and he and Jace are still close, but without any romantic feelings. He is also currently the Head of the Institute.
Character: I like Alec a lot, in the beginning, I thought he was being a bit harsh but at the same time I understood. I mean, who does this girl think she is coming in here and just trying to change this good thing we’ve had going here. I definitely get that and a lot of times, I was on his side. Alec has a very cautious and by the book demeanor, which can also make it hard to get things done that require a little rule breaking since he’s so against it. Even when he lightens up, he still can be like NO. But even so, he’s very protective of his friends and family, and extremely loyal. He is actually the only one who really ever thanks Magnus when he helps them. He is also the one they usually send to ask for help in the first place. Even though he cares deeply for those he loves, he can be very harsh and mean. which crack me up. Alec is very self-deprecating, when things go wrong, he blames himself a lot of the time. He’s very interesting and most times I just want to give him a hug because I feel like he needs it most of the time.
Acting: In the beginning, I was a little unsure, but he grew on me. I think Matthew Daddario has this innocence about him, or at least with the way he plays Alec. When he first meets Magnus, his shock and nervousness whenever they had an encounter was super cute. Alec is the strong silent type, and I like that he’ll stand in the back and be very observant of what’s going on. He doesn’t get a ton of emotional scenes but when he does, I think Matthew handles it very well.
Emeraude Toubia as Isabelle Lightwood
Backstory: Isabelle is the only girl in the Lightwood children, she does not have a good relationship with her mother. She often feels judged by her mother, or not looked at with the same pride that is shown to Alec and Max, even Jace. When she learns that their family is under scrutiny (thanks to them going off to help Clary without having their mission sanctioned), she decides to stop her old lifestyle and be more like her mother. While she was willing to do what she had to in order to help her family, she didn’t want Alec doing the same and forfeiting his happiness. She encourages Alec to be himself, to accept what he wants and she invites Magnus to Alec’s wedding, which helps Alec make the right choice. Valentine sent a demon to attack the Institute, causing Izzy to be harmed, Aldertree gives her Yin Fen (a serum made from Vampire venom) to help ease the pain and she gets addicted to it. She eventually goes straight to the source, to Raphael, and they begin a romance of sorts. That goes badly, because they get addicted to each other, since Shadowhunter blood is like part angel blood. She eventually tells Alec, who is supportive about her quitting her addiction. She ends up meeting Sebastian Verlac who helps her quit Yin Fen completely and she’s stronger for it.
Character: She is definitely a favorite character because she’s just so sweet and badass at the same time. She is apologetically beautiful and will use that to her advantage if she can. Now, I do think Isabelle can be a little naive in certain instances because she has gotten herself into some situations that I feel like she should have known better. She is loyal, and gives great advice, everyone generally goes to her whenever they need a confidence booster. Being the only girl of the Lightwood children, including Jace, she is often the one who keeps both Alec and Jace in check during tense situations. She is not afraid to speak her mind and can be very defiant and argue her points when necessary. Being that she is comfortable in her body, she has no problem wearing revealing outfits, or standing up to her mother’s strict rules. I think she is the moral compass of the show in a lot of ways and the backbone. I think without Isabelle a lot of stuff would not have happened or worked out the way they should. I
Acting: I think Emeraude is one of the consistently good actors on the show. I never have a moment where I doubt her abilities, or where I cringe during an emotional moment. She has this kind of high, sweet voice so whenever she’s being in charge, I’m like yasss, y’all better listen to her. When she was addicted to the vampire venom and Yin Fen, she did such a great job battling that, that while I was upset she was addicted and couldn’t shake it for a while, I really felt for her too. My favorite though, is probably when she confronted Raphael about what he was doing to this new vampire girl and when she saved Jace in his mind.
Isaiah Mustafa as Luke Garroway
Backstory: Luke used to be a Shadowhunter, he was Valentine’s parabatai when they were younger but drama ensued and that ended. Valentine is also the reason why Luke was bitten and turned into a werewolf. He was disowned by his family after he turned, and pretty much had to do things on his own, he kept in contact with Jocelyn Fairchild, as he was in love with her as a young man, and it remained so into adulthood. When all of the stuff hit the fan, he lost contact with Clary for a little while since she overheard him saying he didn’t care about her or her mother, but of course it wasn’t sure, it was just a ruse to get them off his back. They finally get back into contact and it’s a good thing since Clary really needed him. He’s been dealing with a lot on his own, having to be an Alpha to his pack, while also trying to keep Clary and Simon out of danger puts him in an awkward place. Right now, I think he’s lost the pack because they made him choose between them or Clary and Luke left, choosing Clary. I also think there will be a romance in the future for him, and I like it.
Character: I just want the best for Luke because he is such a nice guy. He likes to help whenever he can, he prefers to resolve issues by talking them through instead of conflict because he does not want to risk bloodshed. He also likes to thoroughly investigate before making rash decisions. However, piss him off by messing with his kids (he considers Clary his daughter and Simon is basically his son) and he’ll get you, he will not hesitate to punish those who cross a line. He is the Alpha of his pack, so he has an air of authority and control, and he has paternal instincts towards younger Downworlders, he tries to help them navigate their new lives. I find it hard sometimes, because he obviously loves Clary and he wants to help her whenever he can, but his pack gives him crap because of that. I think he’s in a hard place and it really affects him though he doesn’t always show it. He’s their father but he’s also the Alpha, so it’s like a rock and a hard place. His loyalty is unshakable though and he is fierce in his determination which are things I love about him.
Acting: I’ve only ever seen Isaiah Mustafa in the old spice commercials which cracks me up whenever I think about them. I also saw him in a Tyler Perry movie but this would technically be my first time seeing him in something where he is a lead role. I think he’s great though, whenever he’s angry and is about to turn into a wolf, I very much enjoy those moments. When he was in mourning, he couldn’t control his emotions and while he wasn’t really speaking, it was all over his face, which is a great ability if I do say so myself. He’s also great with being a leader, being authoritative and protective. I think this is a great role for him. I know in the book Luke is a bit different from how they portray him here, but I think him being an officer works for him and the show.
Harry Shum Jr. as Magnus Bane
Backstory: Magnus has a long history since he’s hundreds of years old, so I’ll try to be brief. When he was a child, his mother discovered his cat eyes were the mark of a demon, making him a warlock. She couldn’t handle it so she committed suicide. His stepfather blamed him for his mother’s death, so Magnus killed him with fire. Jocelyn Fairchild often went to him to have Clary’s memories wiped as she didn’t want her daughter to know about the Shadow World until she was older. So they go back to him so he could restore her memories, and he basically ends up being heavily involved with the Shadowhunters and their shenanigans. He is immediately taken with Alec and he really tries to get Alec to open up and be true to himself, especially once Magnus found out that Alec was in love in Jace. They FINALLY get together and Magnus always tells Alec to not push him away when things get tough and they often lean on each other when things happen. When things got tough in the Shadow World, he took the side of the Seelie Queen which resulted in him losing his position as High Warlock of Brooklyn, so right now he’s been doing small jobs for a fee, but he definitely misses that role, especially since the guy who is now the High Warlock is a douche nozzle. When Jace was in serious trouble, he took the risk of going to someone for help and he makes a great sacrifice to help.
Character: He is my favorite character on the show. He is fierce, intelligent, cunning and wise. He also cares deeply and is very compassionate, and he understands people since he’s immortal and has lived for hundreds of years. He is very protective of his people and takes his role as high warlock very seriously, it takes priority over his own happiness most times. Magnus is usually distrusting of Shadowhunters due to their history with Downworlders but he is not against being friendly with them. He has helped other Downworlders navigate as well, he was a mentor figure to Raphael when he first turned. He is also very powerful. Magnus is known for his eccentric style and exquisite taste, which I love. His entire wardrobe is amazing and Harry Shum Jr. wears it so well. I think it’s easy to tell that Magnus is lonely, or has been for a long time, but he tries to fill it by helping others whenever they ask. In terms of romance, Magnus is openly bisexual, he’s been with men and women, and does not discriminate between kinds, since he’s been with Downworlders and mundanes. He’s currently with Alec, who is a Shadowhunter. He’s my favorite because he will do what he can to help people, they never really say thank you and he doesn’t wallow in that. Obviously, I want him to be thanked, or acknowledged for EVERYTHING HE DOES but it’s not like really needs it. The sacrifice he made in the season 3 mid finale… just wow.
Acting: Harry Shum Jr. is amazing in this role. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in anything before but he’s great. His sarcastic responses are always on point, the facial expressions he makes and the way he carries himself in the role is just fantastic. His interactions with Alec are always so sweet, and you can tell that it’s really bothering him whenever they have a disagreement or an argument. I could really watch a TV series that details Magnus’ life before the timeline of the show because I think Harry Shum Jr. is amazing and I love Magnus to pieces.
Alisha Wainwright as Maia Roberts
Backstory: We learn that Maia grew up with a brother, who was clearly the favorite. When he died, her relationship with her parents got worse, so she ran away. She ended up meeting Jordan, and they hit it off and started to date. Later, he got weird and then it was learned that he was a werewolf and that he scratched her which turned her into a werewolf. There was no one to guide her through her transitions so she had no idea what was going on, until Luke found her and helped her into controlling her transitions. Jace was a target after one of her friends was abducted by The Circle, and Maia, along with other wolves, actively pursued Jace. Luke made them stop though, since Jace wasn’t responsible. Maia and Simon ended up hitting it off and became fast friends, it was obvious that she liked him and he liked her, but his feelings for Clary were too important that they were put on a back burner. They are currently dating now and they’re super cute. Also, Jordan has entered the picture again and they had a great scene in a church.
Character: At first, I didn’t really like her, she grew on me. We first meet her because Jace wanders into her bar and she’s a little sassy and sarcastic, which I usually like, and I didn’t mind that she thought he was responsible for her friend, I got all of that. What annoyed me in the beginning was how she kept arguing with Luke about helping the Shadowhunters and trying to make him choose between the pack and his children. It was really annoying. However, seeing her with Simon and how she was with him, she grew on me and I felt bad for her in ways as well, due to her past. She’s strong, determined and stubborn, but it works for her because she fights for what she thinks is right. It’s clear she has trust issues but I think being with Simon and being around Luke has really helped that.
Acting: I don’t know why but the actress reminds me of Zoe Kravitz, or maybe in my mind, Zoe Kravitz would be a good choice to play this role if they did a better movie. Anyway, I think she’s good in her role, I love her voice, and I like how when she’s emotional, it comes from a real place, or at least she can just cry very well lol. I love when she’s kicking butt because she’s enjoying it and I think watching her get angry and almost turning, and reacting to the pain of the beginning transitions is really cool too. Also, I love her chemistry with Alberto.
Alan van Sprang as Valentine Morgenstern