Young Adult literary adaptations have dominated the movie box office for some time now – with titles such as Twilight, The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner all generating their own cinematic franchises. It was inevitable that television would find a way to jump on that gravy train, and ABC Family has ordered their version – Shadowhunters – straight to series, with McG at the helm of the pilot episode.
Shadowhunters is a television spinoff from the 2013 film The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, which was adapted from the book of the same name by Cassandra Clare. That book is the first of a series of six Young Adult fantasy novels, which itself fits into a larger series of writing, titled The Shadowhunter Chronicles. The series is built around the character of Clarissa “Clary” Fray – a teenager who makes surprising discoveries about her identity and her parentage. Through a sequence of shocking events and revelations, Clary comes to understand that, far from being simply an artistic teenager, she is actually a Shadowhunter, equipped with the skill to hunt and destroy demons.
The film adaptation, directed by Harald Zwart and written by Jessica Postigo, received a mixed response upon its 2013 release, not least because it presented a necessarily pared down version of the story. A television series provides a platform much better suited to exploring the abundant source material – which includes prequels, sequels, off-shoots, short story collections and a graphic novel. Constantin Film, producer of the movie, is also behind the television project, which is due to begin production in May for a planned 2016 broadcast.
As a director, McG is perhaps better known for his work in action-based films, having delivered projects such as Charlie’s Angels, Terminator Salvation, This Means War and Three Days To Kill. He has been gaining experience on episodic television, however, with Chuck, The Mysteries Of Laura and the newly picked up Kevin From Work all on his resume. He is also set as executive producer for his Shadowhunters episode, with Ed Decter (Helix) as writer and showrunner.
Since cameras are set to roll on Shadowhunters very soon, casting announcements may be imminent. The series provides a strong central role for a capable young actress – something that will be more than welcome on everyone’s TV schedules. There is also scope for some upcoming and engaging actors within this story that is reminiscent of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, with some Twilight-style romance and a little Star Wars-esque family drama thrown in for good measure. Whether more women will eventually be hired behind the scenes remains to be seen.