The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones vs. Shadowhunters

* Waves!*

What d’ya know? I’m not dead after all. I spent the last few days in bed feeling sorry for myself after I got struck down by a bug. On the bright side, being bed ridden gave me plenty of time to read and come up with some new blog posts when I wasn’t puking. Silver linings, eh?

I spent some time catching up with the Shadowhunters series on Netflix and then, just for comparison purposes, I watched the City of Bones movie. I wish I did, but I just don’t rate either of them and on reflection, I think the Shadowhunters series is actually worse. I’M SORRY, OKAY?

So after around 8 hours of TMI adaptions, I thought I’d post a little comparison to see how they measure up against each other.

Steles at the ready for potential unpopular opinions, kids!



Okay, let’s cut it down to the character we all care about the most: Jace. Well, I definitely care about him the most anyway…sorry, not sorry.

For me, Jamie Campbell Bower played Jace Herondale perfectly. He’s hella good looking in an ethereal sort of way, he brooded, he snarked, he looked dangerous and oh man, did he have chemistry in spades with Lily Collins. He was always going to be a tough act to follow and after him, Dominic Sherwood’s interpretation seems a little flat. He is ripped though, I’ll hand it to the guy.


Instead of Jace’s sharp wit and sarcasm, he just comes off as a bit of a stereotypical teen movie jock. For me, there’s about as much chemistry between him and Kat McNamara as there is between two raw sausages. THERE, I SAID IT.

Matthew Daddario makes a beautiful looking Alec, but it hurts my soul that he and Dom seem to have so little connection on screen. They spend a lot of time talking about being Parabatai (which is awesome) but the depth of their relationship portrayed in the books never seems to translate. Also, if this dude has more than one facial expression can someone please tell me where I can find it?!

There are a couple of characters that I like in Shadowhunters. Maxim Roy brings a bit of class to the proceedings as Jocelyn and I ADORE Harry Shum Jr as Magnus. His interpretation is much more interesting than Godfrey Gao’s was, and I think he makes a fantastically sparkly addition to what is a pretty lacklustre cast.



Side thought : What were the City of Bones costume people thinking when they gave Valentine those weird pony tale plait things?! Bonus points to Shadowhunters for casting an actor with a shaved head. Can’t go far wrong there.

Special Effects

Imma put this out there: the special effects in Shadowhunters are terrible. It’s made by Freeform, so I was expecting a little more resource to be put into making the visuals really pop.  The two things that stand out as being unavoidably bad are Seraph Blades and the demons. The Seraph blades look like they couldn’t cut the ham sandwich I’ve currently got on my desk, LET ALONE A GREATER DEMON. But hey, what do I know? I’m just a mundane after all.

The special effects in City of Bones are, on the whole, much better. It’s a bit unfair to compare, because CoB was an intended blockbuster, so the money probably flowed a lot more freely. I think the monsters were suitably scary (I mean what is up with that little girl demon?!), and the Institute looked awesome, but WHAT in the name of the Angel was that portal scene with Jace stroking Clary’s face about? Bizzare.

Plot & Script

This is where CoB falls down big style. TMI is a complex series, and world building takes time. I remember watching it in the cinema and realising that if you hadn’t read the books you wouldn’t have a clue about any of the basic detail that underpins the film: why Alec got so angry when Clary accused him of being in love with Jace, what the Parabatai bond is, what the difference is between the Clave and the Silent Brothers, how runes work or even Izzy’s name until 75% through. For a film with such budget and potential, it missed out so much key information. This stuff cuts me deep.


Shadowhunters does much better in the world building stakes, although this is much easier to do in a series. Runes and Parabatai and Isobel all get a look in, as does lore about Fair Folk, Werewolves and Vampires. However, what I find really bizarre about it is the pacing. Despite the addition of a whole host of random stuff that never happened (hello Clave envoy proposal) it seems to skim through everything at a break neck pace, never really pausing to add any real nuance to the relationships between the characters. Cassie Clare builds tension and layers depth really well in her books, and as much as I love a Malec kiss, it would be nice to see a little more of that before dramatic wedding showdowns take place.

The Verdict

For me, CoB just pips Shadowhunters to the post. Overall, I think the best thing to do would be to let the Silent Brothers erase everyone’s minds and create a TV series with the original CoB cast (plus Harry) and let someone who actually knows what they’re doing READ THE BOOKS and write the script.


What do you think guys? Do you love Shadowhunters and now secretly hate me, or are you on ‘Team These Adaptions Are Bad Please Make Them Stop’? Let me know in the comments!



7 thoughts on “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones vs. Shadowhunters

  1. I’m definitely on “Team These Adaptions Are Bad Please Make Them Stop.” I agree with you on casting and special effects. I only watched two episodes of Shadowhunters before giving up on the show so I can’t really pass judgement on the plot and script.
    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, welcome aboard! I think it was mainly my illness that compelled me to keep watching, you’d be surprised how little decent stuff there is on Netflix after scrolling through it for three hours. The casting for me is the worst thing about it. 😦 Thank you so much! x


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s