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TMI TV Tuesday: Five Reasons Why ‘The Mortal Instruments’ Will Work Better As A TV Series

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Every Tuesday, TMI Source and Fangirlish are bringing you TMI TV Tuesdays, where we discuss different aspects regarding the upcoming television adaptation of The Mortal Instruments.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. That’s the mindset Constantin has in regards to reviving The Mortal Instruments as a television series. While the series failed as a film franchise, there is renewed hope in regards to it lighting up the small screen. And, frankly, this is a good thing.

While there have been several successful YA film franchises, including The Hunger Games, Divergent and Twilight, there have been more than double as many failures, The Mortal Instruments included. But sometimes a two and half hour film doesn’t work when adapting a 500-page book filled with world building and character development. But the important thing is The Mortal Instruments may have found new life in the television world.

Here are five reasons why we believe The Mortal Instruments will work better as a television show.

1. More Time For World Building

One of the problems with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was the lack of world building for those unfamiliar with the material. But even then, fans were still very much looking forward to seeing the world come to life through a different medium. It’s not that they didn’t try, it’s just there was no time to do so in a way that the source material was owed. That’s one of the challenges faced with adapting not only a 500-page book into a two and half hour film but one with so much rich history that can get lost in the shuffle. With a television show you’re given at minimum 13 hours or maximum 23 hours per season. There is going to be so much time at showrunner Ed Decter’s disposal as he’s crafting a way to introduce this world and flesh it out through the eyes of our heroine Clary Fray.

2. Fleshing Out the Characters

One of the things that I love so much about television is the amount of time you have to dedicate to your characters. It’s the same thing that applies in books and it’s why the series has such an impact on its reader or viewer. When done right it’s like you’re being treated to a one-hour short film every week and you get to know the characters on a much deeper level than you’d ever get to on film. Not only will we get to really dig deep with our main cast of characters, but the minor characters that we’ve grown to love will get their chance to shine. Remember how they cut Rafael from the film? That needn’t be a problem on the show, where Decter can take an entire episode to not only flesh out his character in the present, but as well as in the past. It also provides an opportunity to explore unseen — well, in this case unread — stories involving the characters. The characters are the heart and soul of Cassie’s books and for the series to truly shine, they will have to be the heart and soul of the show, as well.

3. Telling the Story Right

When you task yourself with crafting a film based on a 500-page book it’s obvious that some story lines are going to get the ax. And that rang true for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which featured either an extreme condensing or a complete deletion of scenes in its screen adaptation. While there’s no promise that everything that happens in the books will happen on the show, there’s much more time to flesh out certain story lines and really take the time to tell the story right. There’s no need to rush through or completely ignore certain scenes due to time restrictions. And unlike in a film where you can’t undo a mistake, if something isn’t working on the show you can fix it in the upcoming episodes.

4. More to Work With 

With movies you only have so much to work with and so little time to do so. With television there will be more time to fully utilize the source material from the entire series and not just City of Bones. Reports have indicated that they will start with City of Bones and then slowly delve into the other five books. There is so much story to work with in just City of Bones alone and you have at most 22 hours to work with in telling an entire season arc. Also, since Constantin owns the rights for all of Cassie’s works, who’s to say we couldn’t possibly get flashbacks hinting at the times of The Infernal Devices somewhere far down the road? The possibilities are endless when you have so much time and story to work with.

5. Less Pressure to Succeed

The make-or-break factor in aspiring film franchises — whether it’s Young Adult or not — is money. That’s the goal for big-budget studios. It’s the most important thing. And you normally get one shot with opening weekend. Now with television, it’s more about the viewers than the money. The viewers dictate advertisers and advertising costs. But you see, they’re both aimed at making money — it’s what this world revolves around — but it’s not about the viewers’ money (in most cases), it’s about the advertisers’ money. How much are they going to pay for an ad to run during a network’s most popular show? But let’s not mistake it, pressure is still very much a factor. It’s just ratings pressure and it’s not as intense as making sure you hit a $60 million opening weekend. And unlike with films you get more than one shot to shine. With movies it’s opening weekend or bust. For television it’s weekly ratings or bust, but sometimes if a show’s social media presence is strong enough they’ll give it another shot.

Angelic Power Rune

Head over to FANGIRLISH on Thursday to read their thoughts on why The Mortal Instruments will work better as a television series, and check back every Tuesday for TMI TV TUESDAYS.

What are your thoughts? Why do you think The Mortal Instruments could possibly work better as a television show?

About Alyssa Barbieri (2800 Articles)
Alyssa is the Managing Editor for Bears Wire. You can reach her at or follow her on Twitter @AlyssaBarbieri

16 Comments on TMI TV Tuesday: Five Reasons Why ‘The Mortal Instruments’ Will Work Better As A TV Series

  1. For me a big reason this might be better is that Tv show generally have a far better attitude towards Bisexual and Gay characters than the film industry does. So the changes Magnus and Alec’s relationship gets portraited right and equality to simon and Isabelle and Clary and Jace is far bigger. For the rest I argee with the point mentioned aboved.

  2. I am so excited for a tv show, my only concern is that they find the right home for it and find a channel that will respect the source material and its fans. What bothered me most about the movie was the additions that were made to the plot. I understand things being cut and taken out for pacing reasons etc. but adding in unnecessary scenes that totally changed the feel and plot really annoyed me. I loved the first half of the movie because the changes were slight and didn’t effect things all that much, it was the second half that was totally torn apart that bothered me. Once the tv show respects Cassie’s incredible writing, maintains her humour and does justice to the plot and characters I will be very happy.

  3. I totally agree with all of the above, especially Daylighter’s comments. It really bothered me that Valentine had dark hair (with braids and beads) and light eyes. Cassandra Clare stressed over and over and over that Valentine had salt white hair and black eyes. Although I loved Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace (and I do actually love his blue eyes), the Jace of the books had golden eyes. The Twilight series used contacts, and it made a world of difference.

    • Personally, I don’t think the characters’ features matter THAT much. Granted, we don’t want Valentine to be so outlandish again (like almost killing jace and that kind of thing), and we definitely want the Morgensterns to look how they’re supposed to to help sell the lie.

      But I don’t think it would really matter that much if Jace had blue eyes, for example, or if Clary had a different color of red hair. That type of thing doesn’t affect the plot.

      And as for your comment about the contacts in Twilight… they greatly hurt the cast’s eyes, the actors couldn’t even see properly with them (I think Peter accidentally hit Nikki while filming Eclipse and thought he hit a tree instead, it was that bad), and Rob even said it messed up a certain look he did in Twilight (as the contacts made you unable to see the shift in his eyes onscreen).

      So with all of that into account, I think it’s a bit unfair to ask for contacts, and other trivial things for such a reason. Especially since some people (like Daniel Radcliffe, I believe, when they were going to make his eyes green for Harry Potter) might be allergic to them, but that’s just me.

  4. teamedwardjace // November 7, 2014 at 10:04 AM // Reply

    i think it will work quite well as as t v show

  5. mediainapril // November 8, 2014 at 12:22 PM // Reply

    i can imagine tmi tv version is going to have “the vampire diaries meets gossip girl” elements. why vampire diaries and gossip girl? because vampire diaries have similar story with all the vampire and werewolf as the downworlder, and gossip girl is all about new york. i can’t wait the tv series showing Idris and alicante

    • OMG yes. I didn’t even think about it but yeah I can’t wait to see Idris and Alicante made out on a screen. If they mess up anything in Idris though, it will break the collective heart of the fandom, at least in my opinion.

  6. I think the books should be turned into movies on the big screen! Other YA books (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, & Twilight) have done quite well at the theatre. I liked the cast–read all the books because of the movie. I think it was marketed to the wrong demographic.

  7. Which tv station would show the series???

    • That’s one of my concerns as well. I’m a grown woman with a fixed income and I can not afford cable or a dish network. I’m stuck with the channels I get for free with my converter box. PLEASE, PLEASE, please tell me it won’t be on a channel I won’t be able to get. That would not only be unfair but unnecessarily and completely cruel!!!

  8. I was thrilled to hear the news about TMI becoming a TV series, I just hope the writers keep true to the books and choose the appropriate characters, I loved them all in the movie with the exeption of Valentine, the actor himself is a great actor, he just did not fit into the character mold. Love the reasons for the series as stated above and so look forward to next year. Any leaks yet on what network will pick up the series? (CW, Fox, ABC)???? Maybe MTV or SYFI who knows just glad it is happening!!!

  9. I would sooooo love it if this series was made into a television show. As much as I would’ve loved that the movies work out (I adore Godfrey and Robert as casted for Magnus and Simon) the show would allow for a lot more exploration. I’ll be very tough on whoever they cast as Magnus though. Very important he be casted correctly. xD

  10. True true true, I personally doubt the vampire diaries, true blood and game of throne would have been a huge success on the big screen as they are on TV. I just recently saw city of bones on Encore and as a TMI fan, I was very disappointed in how the film turned out. I’m glad to hear that they are making it into a tv show and I’m hoping CW or Fox picks it up.

  11. tottaly disagree ! We just need movies with a better director , who will follow the book ( like thg) and the original cast ! the first movie was different from the book , but it was really amazing !

  12. When I first found out they weren’t doing the movies I was totally bummed, but I got REALLY excited when they said they were going to turn them into a TV series. I only have ONE huge and MAJOR concern. There was another great book series I loved (the Sword of Truth series) that was filmed as a TV show called Legend of the Seeker . During the first few episodes I was really happy and was getting super excited because I’d read all of the books multiple times. But then they started to completely mess up the books timeline. I mean they FUBARed it. It was like the Hollywood producers or whoever was in charge took all the books story lines and decided to shuffle them like a deck of cards. Once they did that I not only lost interest in the TV show, I was disgusted enough and told all my friends and family to quit watching it and to just stick to the books. It was truly unfortunate, because it really had the potential to be as great or even grater than the TV shows Xina Warrior Princess and Hercules were during their hay-day. They’d gotten a great cast & director. Other than the messed up story timelines they even had great writers. If and I mean IF they do The Mortal Instruments as a TV show some one NEEDS to keep them as true to the books as possible. I’m not naive I realize they’ll have to make some changes to fit within ‘Hollywood’s’ TV show formats. Hopefully Cassandra Clare will be able to become a producer or get a position with enough “pull” to keep them on point. All the best movies that came from a book had the author’s input (i.e. Harry Potter)

  13. I really don’t know what to think about this idea of tv show. I hate the fact that they will change the cast. I loved tge movie cast even if Lily wasn’t like Clary. Jamie as Jace was really good and the colours of his eyes will not change that. For me, Alec and Magnus were so good.. But that’s not the real problem. Will them respect the story timelines ? And in which channel will it appear ? I’m really lost and i don’t know what to think.

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