Why even fantasyphobics should watch ‘Shadowhunters’
Sometimes it is difficult to be a casual fan. There are so many seasons, characters, and storylines to keep track of. It is even worse for shows set in a fantastical or sci-fi world. With those series, one has to deal with alien names and fantasy languages, on top of the seasons and characters and storylines.
Modern entertainment is extremism; one either lives and dies by their commitment to pop culture. If not, then they are bullied off the internet for not being able to list the penguin-looking things in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
To that end, Freeform’s Shadowhunters is perfect for the casual fan. It’s a coming-of-age story with enough fantasy elements to keep the viewer interested, but it’s ultimately about people and the choices they make. If you are fantasyphobic, or just looking for a show to turn on in the background while you work on other tasks, Shadowhunters is the obvious choice.
Shadowhunters is a classic coming-of-age story
If you were a dedicated fan, then you might be interested to learn that the series is an adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s young adult book series, The Mortal Instruments. It was then turned into a 2013 film called The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, starring Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Kevin Zegers that nobody watched.
You, however, are a casual fan! All you really need to know is Freeform’s program was helmed by Ed Decter and McG and developed as a retelling of the books.
Shadowhunters, also referred to as Nephilim, are a secret organization of half-angel, half-human demon hunters. They can look like anyone or anything, but they frequently seem to appear as beautiful 20-somethings portraying tortured teenagers.
Shadowhunters fight against powerful supernatural beings (often said to be part-human and part-demon) called Downworlders that include werewolves, vampires, faeries, and warlocks.
Shadowhunters has the same kind of energy as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it is more rooted in fantasy and magic than its predecessor.
Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara) is the Buffy-esque character in this retelling. Clary is a young woman who lives a normal life for years. That is until she discovers there is a secret dark world she doesn’t know about and she’s a huge part of it. Her evolution over three seasons is remarkable. It demonstrates her growth as a person and her importance in the story.
The deeper meaning beneath Shadowhunters
While there is the standard love triangle and coming-of-age story we’ve come to expect in young adult adaptations, there is a larger story being told. Ordinary humans in Shadowhunters have no idea of the war between good & evil. Clary is tasked with both finding the Mortal Cu, a powerful transformative instrument, and defeating Valentine Morgenstern (Alan Van Sprang), the show’s main villain.
The program also addresses wider issues within the confines of the show. It features one of the most compelling LGBTQI stories we’ve seen on screen in recent years, between the indomitable warlock Magnus Bane (Harry Shum Jr.) and Shadowhunter Alec Lightwood (Matthew Daddario).
Watching pretty people fall in love
It’s great to watch a show about fighting evil, nobility, and blah, blah, blah. We also have a simpler reason for enjoying Shadowhunters.
There is so much shirtless training. There is so, so much shirtless training. They train everywhere: in underground bunkers, in mansions with an open-floor layout, on a balcony in Brooklyn. This is truly a show that stresses the importance of physical exercise and ignoring the limiting constraints of shirts.