Is the Shadowhunters TV Show Better Than the Movie? | Sophia Begins Shadowhunters

Posted November 13, 2018 by Sophia

I’ve been trying to watch TV adaptation of The Mortal Instruments since it first premiered in 2016 as Shadowhunters. I’ve finally stopped procrastinating a little and took some time out of my summer to watch the series premiere.

But first, let’s talk about the movie, City of Bones.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is the first adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s novel back in 2013 starring Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower and Robert Sheehan.

I watched it when the DVD hit shelves and it was a hot mess. I’m not a huge fan of the books myself considering how I’ve abandoned the series after maybe the second novel (wow, it’s been a long time), but the movie made it worse.

But let’s just keep it short and say that in a nutshell, Clary ruined the movie for me primarily because she was a damsel in flipping distress and cried. A lot. And honestly, that’s the only thing I remember from the movie aside from the fact I liked their fashion choices.

Shadowhunters, aka a second chance

Few adaptations even get a second chance, so I was hoping it would be a lot better than the clustermess of a movie. However, I didn’t have high expectations because what if the TV show is a hot mess as well? I’m probably not the only one who expressed that feeling.

But it did survive more than a season, so I assumed it’s bound to be better than the movie version.

Three Things You Should Know About Shadowhunters, Assuming You’ve Been Procrastinating As Well

I can’t be the only one out there who hasn’t watched a single episode of Shadowhunters yet, so here are three things I’ve noticed from the first episode.

Clary is less whiny

My biggest issue with the movie is how Clary has been tossed down a notch and well… far less badass than she is in the book (she’s still whiny, but still a badass). In fact, she always got saved. 🤔

The actors feel awkward, look awkward…

I’m probably nitpicking for being so early in the show, so maybe they get better and feel less awkward later on? But for right now, they just look super awkward in their roles – they’ve been tossed straight into a party with other people and have no clue (yet?).

Shadowhunters is definitely a lot better than the movie!

I think it’s a great second chance and the movie didn’t serve the justice the book actually deserved on the big screen. With a smaller screen, there is so much more room for improvement and getting everything that was missing from the movie. Since I’m only at the first few episodes of the show, I’m hoping it gets better, and I have high hopes that it will.

Let’s talk, bookwyrms! Have you watched Shadowhunters yet? Did you watch the movie? What are your thoughts on the two?

Sophia started blogging in February 2012 for the hell of it and is surprisingly still around. She has a GIF for nearly everything, probably listens to too much K-Pop and is generally in an existential crisis of sorts (she's trying her best). In 2020, she graduated with a Bachelor's in Communications and minor in Women's Studies. More of her bookish reviews and K-pop Roundups can be found at The Arts STL.

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22 responses to “Is the Shadowhunters TV Show Better Than the Movie? | Sophia Begins Shadowhunters

  1. Watched the movie and was so disappointed. Not especially in Clary but Jace did not look at all as I imagined him. Then I tried the series and it was even worse! I love the books so much but the movie and TV show not at all!

  2. I personally preferred the show over the movie. The movie was SUCH a mess omg. At least with the show they gave more time to develop the characters, story, etc. whereas in the movie it was all rushed and super underdeveloped. The show was super awkward though. I know that the actors seemed to get along well in real life, but only like 2-3 of the actors are actually able to act, plus the special effects and script isn’t that good. I stopped watching it into the second season because it was too cringey for me, but they did amazing with Malec so I can’t hate it haha.

  3. I love both adaptions for different reasons.

    I actually liked movie! Clary (and Jace) better than TV! version. I don’t know what it’s about those two but I find them pretty annoying. I love TV! Malec though, and Izzy. Maybe it’s because I find Clary thinking about herself most of the time in the show, like “I need to find my mom. Nothing else matters”.

    I liked the movie but Izzy was so disappointing to me! I remember waiting like a year or two to movie come out and in the books Clary described Izzy so beautiful and I didn’t find movie Izzy that memorable. I miss the wit Jace had in the books and the movie.

  4. The movie was sort of terrible, so it didn’t take much for the series to be better. I am sad, because I felt like the series found what it wanted to be, and then it got canceled.

    • I completely agree, at least from what I’ve heard from those who really enjoy the show. Perhaps another network will pick the series up like they have with Brooklyn Nine-Nine and a few others.

  5. I wasn’t at all crazy about the movie and don’t plan on watching the show. Unless…..curiosity grabs hold of me. LOL Knowing me I’ll cave and eventually give it a try. You never know, I might like it.

  6. I recently quit watching the tv series. I’m actually surprised that I watched it this long. After awhile it became something that I wasn’t interested in watching anymore. I didn’t care for the characters. I have to agree the books are so much better. I did like the movie version, I wish that would have continued.

    • Oh no, sorry to hear you didn’t like the show as much as everyone else seems to. I’ve heard the show changes from the original storyline of the book, so maybe that’s why?

  7. Hey Sophia… So… I’m actually a fan of the books and enjoy The Infernal Devices the most (so far… I haven’t read The Dark Artifices yet). So I watched the movie when it came out and yeah… Not good! But I tell you, I tried the TV series for 15 minutes maybe? And I actually had to turn it off. I think I just can’t manage to get through either of the screen versions. I’m glad you’re enjoying it somewhat though!

    • I’m biased toward The Infernal Devices as well… definitely my favorite out of the Shadowhunters world. 😀 Also haven’t read The Dark Artifices, but I plan on getting to that eventually?

      I might be lying, though.

  8. Well it’s nice to hear that the TV show is better than the movie- it’s always a bummer when a series gets a bad adaptation. I’m glad it has potential so far- I haven’t read the books or watched the show but I’ve been tempted…

    • You should definitely try the show! I’ve heard it gets better despite the awkward first episodes. As for the books… personally I didn’t enjoy The Mortal Instruments, but I loved The Infernal Devices.

  9. Danielle

    Yeah she didn’t say she stopped supporting but you could tell. It’s sad, really. Most adaptations are either really good, really poor or fall in between. But I’m glad that both platforms exist so we can love them all. 🙂

    • It’s one of the three unfortunately, though most tend to be really bad or in between and very rarely really good. But like you said, it might be because people try to compare the two versions and find them unsatisfactory to their standards.

  10. Oh, don’t worry, Charvi, I hated Clary in the books as well… but I think I like the TV version of her much better than the book version. 😉

    OMG, Season 3 gets better each episode? Ouch, now I’m going to feel really bad about the series being canceled when it was getting so much better. That must be a HUGE bummer.

    And I will! I’ll probably continue with posts of my thoughts on the episodes I watch as I slowly get through them. 😉