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.
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?