We’ve never made it a secret that we have some issues with Shadowhunters. Ok, we have a lot of them, if we are going to be frank. Now, before you start lecturing us about the difference between an adaptation and a book, well, you can save it. We’re aware of how it works. Hell, we probably know more about it than most of you (after all, we’ve worked on a lot of them, both on here and behind the scenes.)
We’ve never pulled any punches, and we don’t intend to start lying about our feelings now. Shadowhunters needed to be cancelled. We’re not above admitting that the show has a passionate fanbase, but that fanbase didn’t translate into ratings. What the show did was isolate, insult, and cause issues based on its blatant lack of respect for people.
The first rule of adapting anything that has a built in fan base – especially a book fanbase – is to not isolate the fanbase. The showrunners did exactly that from the beginning – from Ed to Todd and Darren. This fandom – both sides of it – deserved better. There was an opportunity to make this great. But, there were too many mistakes made from the beginning.
Fandom was taken for granted.
It may not be what you want to hear, but we’re going to break down the reasons that we believe that Shadowhunters deserved to be cancelled.
Blatant Disrespect For The Source Material
If you take a look at shows like Outlander and movies like Twilight and The Hunger Games, you will notice that they had a lot of respect for the source material. They knew from the beginning that they were adapting something that had a built-in fan base. Now, why is that important? Because these things are popular for a reason and being adapted for a reason. What is that reason? Well, that is because they were books that were being sold, they had a fanbase that was passionate about the property, and those sales would translate into viewers. But, from the beginning, what the writers knew is that in order for that to translate they would need to remain somewhat faithful to the material.
Now that is not to say that alterations and changes weren’t made to the source material. Sure, they were. That’s the nature of adaptations. But there is a difference between respectful and disrespectful change. From the beginning Ed Decter made it clear that he hadn’t read the books and didn’t care if the mostly female book fans watched his show. Instead of adapting, he made a mockery of the source material – pointlessly deleting things that were dear to fans (Isabelle’s necklace) while adding his own unwelcome additions (computers, Clary’s ridiculous Portal necklace, ludicrous modern American military terms.) That was followed by Todd and Darren following suit exactly. Would they have treated a male fandom this way, bragging they hadn’t read the source material and putting it down repeatedly? They would not.
Then there was Todd tweeting about Simon having cheated in the books when he didn’t and claiming he “changed” the books so that Valentine slit Simons throat, when actually that did happen in the books. But I could go on…
Lesson to be learned: Adaptations are fine. Disrespecting the source material and it’s fans: Not a good idea.
Let us say this: Writing is subjective. We know that there are things that other people like that we don’t. We know that there are things that other people like that we don’t. But to us, there were so many holes in the plot, unfinished storylines, and things for the sake of being there.
But what we also noticed was that the writers seemed to like to kill women in the show more than men. The writers forced storylines for the sake of having something to do/say. They took from books that they didn’t have permission to use when they realized that they had backed themselves into a corner.
The thing is that we’ll give the writers credit for trying, but we also will say that we have a huge issue with the way that they could not wrap up a storyline or fully develop one.
The Online Situation
To be honest, this fandom is toxic. The stan culture of this show is toxic. The way that the fans of this show – not all, but a lot of them – disrespect, bully, and cause issues is disgusting.
The truth is, we’ve seen a side of it that most people don’t. We’ve been bullied for our opinion, received death threats, and we’ve had writers quit because they haven’t been able to take it – even though they have nothing to do with Shadowhunters. The stans of this show have made being online and talking about Shadowhunters the worst possible experience.
But it has not deterred everyone. Opinions matter, and we understand that it can anger people to see something they love criticized. But it is the job of professional critics, which we are, to criticize things and to use death threats, threats of rape, and threats of physical harm to try to prevent people — many of whom are women and LGBTQ+ — from doing their job is never okay. A critique of a show is not a personal assault, but we received many personal assaults for critiquing it, as did anyone online who dared simply to say they weren’t fans. Others having opinions that differ from yours doesn’t mean that you have the right to bully, demean, or put them down
The situation is toxic, and it needs to end.
The Show Was Too Expensive
We knew that Shadowhunters would be expensive to make, but we’re wondering where the money actually went. Why? The CGI was less than. Sure, we guess that went with the writing that was less than, too. But anyone in Hollywood is in the business of making money and if you are not making money – the show gets cancelled.
We get that the fan base has been passionate and that they are doing everything that they can to save the show. Believe it or not, we respect that. But at this point, the silence, the lack of response from networks, and the lack of response should tell you something. This show is dead in the water.
And to be honest it deserved to be dead in the water after season one.
Lets hope that if The Infernal Devices is made the same mistakes aren’t.