Shadowhunters – The Mortal Cup

by Alan Rapp on January 14, 2016

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Shadowhunters – The Mortal Cup
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Shadowhunters - The Mortal Cup

Looking and feeling very much like something that would fit naturally in a spot on The CW’s slate of young-adult horror series, ABC Family (rebranded Freeform for reasons passing understanding) offers audiences Shadowhunters, based on Cassandra Clare‘s young adult series The Mortal Instruments. The opening episode introduces us to Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara) who, on her 18th birthday, discovers demons are real, a fact her mother (Maxim Roy) has been hiding from her the better part of Clary’s life.

The logic of the show seems a bit muddled, as if we’re getting the Cliff’s Notes version of the series’ rules, as Clary’s mother (a former demon hunter, I think?) is kidnapped and Clary encounters a group of young demon hunters known as Shadowhunters (Dominic Sherwood, Emeraude Toubia, Matthew Daddario) whose help she will need to survive. It seems the demons want something called “the Mortal Cup” which has the ability to transform mundanes (normal humans) into Shadowhunters (demon-killing machines with tattoos) making it a priceless commodity whose true location only Clary’s mother knows.

Shadowhunters isn’t awful. It’s premiere is certainly more impressive than several episodes of the mostly disappointing Stitchers. That said, the opening episode has a host of issues starting with the entire series feels like the source material has been dumbed down for a television audience. I don’t really get the power struggle between the Shadowhunters and their poorly-established enemy, but Cassandra Clare carries the show through its rougher patches while her new friends showcase some skill by dispatching demons with their magic swords. After a single episode it’s hard for me guess whether or not the show will improve over time or, like Stitchers, it will embrace mediocrity.

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