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Tara Ariano

S01.E01: The Mortal Cup

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In the series premiere, a woman discovers on her 18th birthday that she comes from a long line of Shadowhunters, human-angel hybrids who hunt demons.

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So a movie nobody watched becomes a TV show they want people to watch? That's always odd when it happens, even though it seems to be happening more often these days.

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That was an enormous info dump of a pilot. All of the characters feel interchangeable and generic because most of the pilot was spent on world building. My only hope is that some of the romance is shifted to later on in the season. I'll always remember this one line from a review of the film in New York magazine about the love octagon (because there were far too many parties longing for each other for it to be a love triangle) "it's like a Douglas Sirk film, only stupid."

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The girl who plays Clary needs to have her hair color adjusted. Every time I see a commercial for the show or a still, all I can think is "Why does she have orange hair? They already had the actress dye her hair so I have no clue why in the world they didn't choose a darker red to better match the actress playing Jocelyn, Clary's mother.

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So far it's closer to the book than the movie was.

I joked about how it was a movie nobody watched made into a TV show nobody will probably watch, but I did read the book way back years ago (only the first one--it got kind of boring), and I do agree there's a lot of this that seems straight out of the book. That's not necessarily the best thing, I suppose, if the book lacked in some ways... then again it was good enough to spawn like 19 sequels I didn't read, so maybe it's me.

The girl who plays Clary needs to have her hair color adjusted. Every time I see a commercial for the show or a still, all I can think is "Why does she have orange hair? They already had the actress dye her hair so I have no clue why in the world they didn't choose a darker red to better match the actress playing Jocelyn, Clary's mother.

I assumed the orange was to make her "pop" as the lead image on any promotion. That said, really they should tone it down after the pilot. Edited by Kromm

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As someone who is a giant fan of the novels, and tolerated the movie, I have to say I am so disappointed. Okay, disappointed isn't the right word. I'm angry. I spent the entire hour last night yelling at the television. All of the changes were like a dagger to my heart, and not some mystical dagger that pops out only if you have the "force" or whatever bullcrap that was last night.

I wouldn't be so upset if the marketing team hadn't appealed to fans in a way that made it seem like they were going to make up for the movie and its changes. No, the movie was closer to the book than the da*n show. 100%. And it only had an hour and a half to tell a story. This show had forty five minutes just for a da*n pilot.

Jace wasn't Jace, he was a prop the writers used to info dump. That couldn't have been Hodge? The mother acted SOOOO out of character, a freaking portal was made from MAGIC (I am so sorry Henry, my cinnamon roll who invented the portal) by a woman who wasn't supposed to be some young hot thing let alone an actual witch, and Luke and his detective work makes me cringe... I could go on, of course, about all of the other changes, there are definitely plenty for me to talk about, but I don't want to write an essay. What I do want to do is forget I watched this damn thing.

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Oh... well. I actually liked it. 

 

I read all the books, watched the movie in horror (It. Was. So. Bad.) and then decided to watch this with caution. But, I liked it! Dominc Sherwood is a great Jace, this Clary is a much better actress, and this Simon is freaking adorable! 

 

Also? Mike Chang as Magnus? Sold! I hope he gets to kick some serious ass in this show. 

 

I'm in for the season. I don't think the books were any great feat of story telling (they're a bit like potato chips - nutritionally void, but still fun to eat!) so I'm okay with some changes in the adaptation for television. And I'm happy to see what they do going forward. 

 

Did I mention Mike Chang? I'm super excited for more Magnus Chang! 

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I liked it, a lot more than I was expecting to actually. I'm a fan of the books, and I actually liked the movie.

 

In the 30 seconds we saw of him Harry Shum Jr's way better than Godfrey Gao, and I did love him in Pandemonium.

 

I liked Jace, Izzy and Alec and the scenes with them together, and the demons looked better than I was expecting.

 

I'm still not sold on Kat McNamara, though she's better than the previews suggested.

Edited by Hybridcookie
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I liked it. The TV Simon will never replace the love I feel for movie Simon, but I will try to get over it. Clary's hair was distracting and Jace was boring. Loved Magnus, what little we saw of him. Isabel was fine, I liked her shoes.  I'm in for the season

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I'm in for the season. I don't think the books were any great feat of story telling (they're a bit like potato chips - nutritionally void, but still fun to eat!) so I'm okay with some changes in the adaptation for television. And I'm happy to see what they do going forward.

Did I mention Mike Chang? I'm super excited for more Magnus Chang!

 

This is exactly how I feel.  Mike Chang is a super big draw for me and I have no really great affection for the novels.  I mean- I liked them better than Twilight but I have not finished the series to date.  

 

Pretty people doing super-naturalish things works for me.  

 

Also, Mike Change & Isaiah Mustafa!

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I liked it better than the movie, I suppose that isn't saying much. I was distracted by the lead's hair which was just too much. I do think they should tone the hair back. I liked Jace but, he seemed to be constantly "too close" to everyone.  I suppose I would say that I probably will not turn in if anything else at all is on.

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I have never seen the movie or read the book, so maybe I'm not the intended audience, but I didn't like it. I didn't like the sets (apparently this is supposed to be Brooklyn?) I didn't like the exposition, I didn't like how long it took characters to figure out what we'd already been shown, I didn't like the hair (Jace's was worse than Clary's actually), I didn't like the effects, I didn't like the music, I didn't like the art, I very nearly turned it off. Where to start? Here: a band with a name like Champagne Enema should feature a drum machine. Or, you know, an iMac with drum machine software on it. What's it called, Pro Tools

 

That said, it's a pilot. I read articles about the show beforehand, and it sounded kind of cool, and I also hated the pilot for The Expanse, a show that I am addicted to at this point. So I will actually tune in next week, but the show has two weeks to become competent at something. 

 

But I can't say how disappointing this was. A secret order is battling demons for possession of a powerful magical artifact. In Brooklyn! With hipster art students in a band! The lead actress seems like she could be an appealing and relatable protagonist, but something really needs to be done about her hair.

 

I do like the idea of Mike Chang as some sort of dark wizard.

 

But I feel the boat was really missed here in the area of Brooklyn hipster music. (follow the linky-link. Alexis Krauss is from Greenpoint, which is where they are supposed to be? I think? Based on signs and t-shirts and stuff?) And the art's all suburban kids sketching D&D images on their notebooks. They should have made her a hoodie-wearing tagger. Hell, they should have made her secretly be Banksy. Have her throwing up murals that accidentally summon demons. Now there's an idea for a show, you can have that one free.

 

And what was with the flashback? Everything that happened before the club was stupid. Start with the club, show! WIth better music! Like this: She's at the club, with a memorable musical number playing, stumbles on surreal things she doesn't understand, wakes up the next morning not sure if it really happens, is late for her art school interview but gets admitted because of a picture she sketched of a demon she saw the night before... comes home and her house is trashed and she's attacked by baddies and rescued by Shadowhunters. She saw them the night before but it wasn't clear than which side was the goodguys. Maybe she had it backwards? Come on, show, this stuff practically writes itself! How could you screw this up?????

 

And they apparently decided it would help to make the protagonist stupid so that everything has to be repeatedly explained to her, slowly, using very small words, so that the audience can get caught up. But the audience isn't stupid, and so far the plot isn't that complicated.

 

Here's what you need, show. Because I want to like you so much, I'm gonna give you pointers:

1. Exteriors shot in the actual Brooklyn

2. Better music 

3. Better hair! (and makeup and costuming. Seriously we don't appreciate these things enough until they aren't done well.)

4. Make the protagonist smart.

5. Give her a personality!

 

These things aren't that complicated. There is hope! Except for the hair. Maybe there's a setting I can change on the TV or Tivo so I can just watch this in black and white?

 

ETA: not that there's anything wrong with having stupid hair when you're 18, or sketching D&D demons on your high school notebook, or going to see your friend's band in a coffeehouse and having them be super lame. These are practically rites of passage of a certain kind of American youth, and you could make a good TV show incorporating these elements. Shadowhunters is not self-aware enough to be that show. Actually to some degree I think somebody made that show and called it "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Edited by that one guy
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I liked it, good start and did seem better than the movie.

Clary looked like Amy Adams.

Harry Shum Jr's great. Loved seeing him.

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I liked it. I'm another one who tuned in basically for Harry Shum Jr.

The only thing I didn't like was Simon. He's pathetic, and he really needs to die.

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What I didn't like was how annoying the mortal friend was. I mean he was almost like a whiny parody of that kind of Xander-like character, but with all the negatives amped up. But to credit the "adaptation" aspect of this I vague recall the character from the original book being almost this bad. But in effect maybe this is a case where something NEEDED to change and didn't. We all know from the outside the things Clary says and does would seem... weird... to her pals, and even after he's granted the right to see this stuff there might be a "why trust these people" aspect. But the character was like a whiny broken record. It got monotonous and annoying real quick (and it's even worse in Episode 2--I think I can say that without it being too spoilery if you haven't seen it via the online streaming option yet).

Also, the lead character herself falls into that "plucky but often in a dumb way" category that can really wear on you if we don't see some character growth. It really seems like she's going to be that character than causes otherwise smart characters (usually male characters) to cooperate with dumb ideas she has--throwing logic and good strategy out the window, while some other naysayer character is villainized/made to seem like a jerk for warning against her dumb ideas.

Oh was it just me, or was anyone else shocked how fake the sword things looked in scenes where they weren't all glowy (where they're just holding them while walking)? Without the FX layer added on they literally look like cheap plastic in their hands.

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Also, the lead character herself falls into that "plucky but often in a dumb way" category that can really wear on you if we don't see some character growth.

There was a show a few years ago on ABC Family called "The Nine Lives of Chloe King" and I sort of saw similarities between Clary and Chloe while I watched the pilot last night. Chloe ended up basically "too stupid to live" with occasional displays of bravery & ingenuity but the show was deservedly cancelled after one season.

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Oh was it just me, or was anyone else shocked how fake the sword things looked in scenes where they weren't all glowy (where they're just holding them while walking)? Without the FX layer added on they literally look like cheap plastic in their hands.

 

They looked so so cheap and fake.

 

There was a show a few years ago on ABC Family called "The Nine Lives of Chloe King" and I sort of saw similarities between Clary and Chloe while I watched the pilot last night. Chloe ended up basically "too stupid to live" with occasional displays of bravery & ingenuity but the show was deservedly cancelled after one season.

Right now Clary feels a lot like Chloe King. After she overheard Luke, why would she go back home? Why not call Simon? Plus her meddling in the club was criminally stupid.

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Is Alec in love with Jace cause I got some jealousy vibes going on when he was acting all upset about Clary and Jace helping her?

I liked it well enough but I agree with the complaint about her hair why is it orange it is to distracting? And is that the leads real life hair color?

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Is Alec in love with Jace cause I got some jealousy vibes going on when he was acting all upset about Clary and Jace helping her?

I liked it well enough but I agree with the complaint about her hair why is it orange it is to distracting? And is that the leads real life hair color?

Yes.

 

That is not her real hair color. In the "making of" that Freeform ran they said they did all sorts of screen tests to decide on that color. But it is sort of carrot-y. I think they can deepen it a little bit and have it still read as red-head. Oh well. 

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I want to like this a lot more than I actually did. I never read the books, but I love Harry Potter and I know the books started off as HP fan fiction. Plus, Mike Chang. I'm a total completist, though, so I'll stick around until it's canceled.

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Yes.

 

That is not her real hair color. In the "making of" that Freeform ran they said they did all sorts of screen tests to decide on that color. But it is sort of carrot-y. I think they can deepen it a little bit and have it still read as red-head. Oh well. 

I suppose they were testing with their ideal target demo then?  (14 year old girls?)

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I liked it okay. I read the first book a long time ago, but don't remember enough to be able to pick out what's different between it and the show.

I'm not feeling terribly attached to any of the characters quite yet though.

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Finally watched the pilot. I read and liked-a-lot (didn't quite love) all of the books, semi-watched the movie when I was feeling particularly masochistic and felt then that the books and mythology would translate better as a TV show, so was very excited when this series was announced. Thought the first episode was good, not great, very much a pilot - lots of exposition, not a good grip on the characters yet, but it provided enough hooks to make me want to come back. I will enjoy the show about 48 times more if Clary would be so kind as to dye her hair a color that would actually exist on earth.

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Or just hang a giant lamp shade on it. She's not strictly speaking human, so this is what her mother dyes her hair to look like to cover up the fact that she naturally has green hair. 

Both Jace and the mortal "Best Friend" are creeping me the heck out. 

Jace literally just met her and he's acting way possessive - I mean, it makes all kinds of sense that the shadowhunter group would find a shadowhunter with no clue interesting and want to protect/induct her, but the way that all of that is left to Jace is just way off, and makes him look like a great big stalker. Why the hell is briefing her his job? 

Simon's got a point that she has no reason to trust any of these people, and I love that she was all "I want no part of your supernatural fightclub", but again, his attitude towards her is just massively entitled in classic "Nice Guy" mode. 

Edited by Izeinwinter
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I watched the movie and I didn't find it awful so I picked up the first book and it's almost decent! A lot better than the movie for sure, but this... this was a special kind of awful. The writing somehow manage to be too rushed and dragged out at the same time.

 

I'm bummed because I really wanted to like it but the cast as a whole was even worst than I feared they would be after seeing their pictures on tumblr. The girl who plays Clary and the guy who plays Jace are completely unwatchable, imo. I'm a little more familiar with the actor who plays Alec and he was the only was who wasn't completely awful for me to watch.

 

I'm a big fan of ABC family/Freeform's shows so was expecting eyecandy all around like Pretty little liars. Color me shocked that what I got was something like the most awkward and cheap production of the Syfy channel. Maybe i'll binge-watch it at some point but as for right now, I'm out, guys.

 

That is not her real hair color. In the "making of" that Freeform ran they said they did all sorts of screen tests to decide on that color.

 

 

Wow. Why?!

 

I'm not even going to complain much about the hair because it's the most fixable issue on this show. Still, wow, why?!

 

 

There was a show a few years ago on ABC Family called "The Nine Lives of Chloe King" and I sort of saw similarities between Clary and Chloe while I watched the pilot last night.

 

I caught maybe one episode of that show before it was cancelled so I didn't watch it further, but couldn't have they used the chloe king actress? I've seen her in a couple of short-lived projects and there's something about her that I like.

Edited by cuddlingcrowley
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I'm in for pretty people prettily fighting supernatural things.

 

At least it's not set in yet another high school. I like that Clary goes to art school instead of traditional college. And that she pretty much only squeaked by the application process. I would like it if they keep her a mediocre artist, to make her less of a special snowflake and slightly more relatable.

 

For a second there I actually thought they would skip the "guy friend who is not so secretly in love with the main character" cliche, when they were talking about his bandmate who likes him. Silly me. He annoys me already. And his music was lame.

 

All the music on this episode was terrible.

 

Agreed on those sword things looking plastic and fake. The shiny HQ inside the church also looked plastic and fake. The entire show has this plastic fake sheen to it. Buffy season 1 was more believable. And that was made almost 20 years ago.

 

All the legends are true? What kind of explanation is that? I'm not sure "Shadowhunters" and "The Circle" and whatever else are in any commonly known legends. (I haven't read the books, so I have no idea what any of this stuff is and who any of them are.)

 

I mean, I expected a bad Buffy knock-off, but that might be too high a compliment to bestow on this.

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The pilot suffered from very stilted and contrived dialogue.

 

Especially when the mother was finally getting around to telling her daughter that's she's a shadow hunter and kept putting it off and engaged in weird crypto speak in a situation where the bad guy was coming towards them.

 

I haven't read the books or watched the movie but it was okayish for a pilot and I'm kind of curious where it leads to depending on how much they lean on the special snowflake aspect.

 

Totally agree about Nine Lives of Chloe King level of protagonist stupidity. Let's head back to the place where the bad guys came after me last time... ALONE. *sigh*

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All the legends are true? What kind of explanation is that? I'm not sure "Shadowhunters" and "The Circle" and whatever else are in any commonly known legends. (I haven't read the books, so I have no idea what any of this stuff is and who any of them are.)

 

He didn't mean their legends IMO, as he had just finished saying "witches (maybe warlocks), vampires, and demons" - at any rate, he meant primary main supernatural creature tentpoles.  I took that as quick shorthand to mean that you don't have to spend the rest of the time in this supernatural universe wondering if XYZ mainstream legend is also true; they all are. The rest of the particular Shadowhunter mythology is icing on the supernatural cake, to be explained later.

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Watched the pilot as i couldn't sleep and it popped up on Netflix. As always with that kind of show, just tone the supernatural stuff way down and you got an interesting show. You will never get decent action fights or good enough of CGI with a tv show and just explaining mythology isn't for the moving-pictures medium. Mythology gets best described in books where you can delve into, skip it and go back and reread the sentence you just read. That way the author also doesn't have to use "simple English" and repetition that makes the characters look dumb and unnatural. No what TV excels at is vistas and human interaction. So don't hint at deeper mysteries, instead let the characters breathe. Also the death count is too high for me. Probably not going to watch much more of this show, but i'll decide after the rule of 3 (episodes).

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So, I'm 99% sure that calling normal people "mundanes" was taken from the telepaths on Babylon 5, who likewise called non-telepaths "mundanes". Yes, that is obscure, but I know for a fact that Cassandra Cla(i)re cribbed from Babylon 5 (and "credited" it as an influence) back when I was reading her Harry Potter fic on fanfiction.net because she hadn't yet been kicked off for plagiarism. The moniker "mundanes" worked on B5 for a variety of reasons, but yeah, when you're cribbing something, make sure it works in your own universe!

Edited by Anisky

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