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Shadowhunters - S1E1 - The Mortal Cup

Confession: I read the first two or three books of the series this show is based upon, and I loved them. I’m a sucker for YA fiction. The angst-ier the better. And this series is full of that, but also adventure, vampires, demons, werewolves, witches, and more. And it’s set in New York City (most of the time) so I was sold.

I had to watch this episode three times before I decided whether I’d stick with it and even write about it. Clearly, I landed on yes. We’re testing out new quick and dirty recaps and reviews on Project Fandom. So, these won’t be nearly as involved as what I write for Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, but I’m hoping those of you who are watching along with me will have feedback and join in soaking up all the teen angst we can handle.

Images: Freeform

The Basics (The Mundanes)

Clary Fray’s (Katherine McNamara) 18th birthday is unforgettable: she gets into art school, sneaks into a club, watches as three people only she can see kills demons, and then learns her mother Jocelyn has been keeping their magical abilities a secret her entire life. A dangerous man named Valentine has been looking for Jocelyn and something she stole from him: The Mortal Cup.

Clary’s encounter with the strangers in the club leads Valentine’s men to her home where Jocelyn has no time to explain. She sends Clary through a portal and drinks a potion that leaves her in a magical coma. That’s how determined she is to keep this cup from Valentine.

The strangers in the club are Jace Wayland, Isabelle Lightwood, and her brother Alec. They’re shadowhunters, magical soldiers tasked with protecting non-magical humans (Mundanes) from the demon world.

The Good

The special effects for the demons, spells, and magic runes are well done.

The actor playing Jace (Dominic Sherwood) is better suited than the one cast in the movie. Oh, yeah. This was a movie, too.

Can we please throw up praise hands for diversity? In the books, Jocelyn’s friend Luke is white. Here, he’s played by Isaiah Mustafa. There’s also several people of color in various roles not from the book. 

Everyone involved seems to have more chemistry than the characters in the film.

The Bad

The acting isn’t the best. It took me two full watches to warm up to McNamara’s performance and Mustafa, while wonderful to look at, seemed very stiff. I’m hoping there’s improvement in episode two, which is already available on the Freeform app.

Book Differences

I don’t know these books as well as the Harry Potter series, which I’ve read many times. I only read the books once each and I didn’t finish the series. My differences are accurate as best I can remember:

Was Luke a detective in the books? I don’t believe so.

The abandoned church where the shadowhunters live only housed Jace, Isabelle, Alec, and their guardian (whose name escapes me). Here, it’s a hidden training facility for at least a dozen shadowhunters.

Did Simon have a black girl bandmate who was secretly in love with him in the books? I don’t recall the character of Maureen.

What did you think of the series premiere? Did you notice any other differences from the book?

Shadowhunters S1E1
  • 8/10
    Story - 8/10
  • 10/10
    Action - 10/10
  • 7.5/10
    Performances - 7.5/10


Do you think they’re going to keep that thing from the books? You know, the thing that starts with “I”?

I hope they do.

User Review
5 (1 vote)
About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

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