Dear Ed Decter,
I know that we don’t know each other, but I felt like it was important that I write this letter on behalf of the entire Mortal Instruments fandom.
Consider this our plea to you; a plea that our beloved Mortal Instruments be taken care of with the utmost care and respect.
I don’t know you. But your past work indicates that I might be able to trust you. But should I trust you? I’ve trusted before only to have that trust mislead and, honestly, I’m a little uneasy about this whole thing. This is the second attempt to get The Mortal Instruments translated on screen and, for all intents and purposes, this is 2nd down and 1 on the 1-yard line. Please don’t be the Seattle Seahawks and throw the ball on the 1-yard line. Go with what has proven to work and run the ball (excuse the sports metaphor, I honestly couldn’t help myself).
I may not know anything about running a television show, but I do know fandoms and this one in particular. So let me share my wisdom with you. Here are some things you need to consider:
Keep It Faithful
I have no idea if you’ve read any of my TMI TV Tuesday articles (or if you’re even reading this letter right now), but every week I stress the importance of staying faithful to the source material. I know I’ve said this countless times, but that is the most important factor in translating this story onto screen. You may not think it doesn’t matter whether or not the characters look and act like their book counterparts or have the same emotional journey or the story take place in New York City (which is a character in its own right), but those things are not only incredibly important to the fans but to the story itself. Sure, I know this show will attract new viewers who potentially have never read the books (what a travesty!), but you have this massive fan base already intact ready to take this journey with you. And we’re a passionate yet opinionated fan base that has the power to make this show known. You literally have us in the palm of your hands. All we’re asking is that you give us a reason to stay on the ride instead of bowing out because we don’t care for the unexpected twists and turns.
Make the Changes Acceptable
Here’s the thing, I’m no idiot. I know there are going to be changes, as there should be. This is a different medium through which the story is being told. And this is your vision of this story. But there is a fine line between acceptable changes and drastic changes that will piss the preexisting fandom off. This is where knowing the books come into play. Have you read the books? I hope you have. They are truly amazing. Cassie Clare is a brilliant writer. If you haven’t read the books I seriously hope that reconsider, because if you’re going to run a show about these Shadowhunters then you’re going to need to not only know about certain events that occur but understand the characters’ reactions and reasoning behind certain decisions. As much as The Mortal Instruments is known for its action-packed story, the strength of all of Cassie’s series are her characters. And I know the fans would tell you the same thing. Honestly, I know a good part of the fandom might react not-so-supportive to certain acceptable changes, but once they get a glimpse of how the characters remain true to their souls in the books I think you’ll see them come around. The key here? Honor the characters. Honor the story. Honor the essence of these books in the changes you make.
Make the Show Appropriate
Honestly I hope that my hunch is completely unwarranted here, but I still feel the need to bring this to your attention. When creating and running this show please keep in mind that this isn’t a story for adults. Yes, adults like me love this story, but there’s a reason why we love it. It’s a story involving predominately adolescents as they discover themselves in a very confusing time in life, and that’s what we want to see. Sure, I can understand if you want to age the characters up a bit from 15 to 17 or something, but keep that in mind when crafting the show. These characters are experiencing love, heartbreak and loss for the first time. They’re being thrown into situations that some couldn’t have imagined in their wildest dreams. The things that these characters in particular have to go through in this series have forced them to grow up fast to a certain extent, but these characters aren’t adults. So we don’t expect something off of HBO. If we want to see Game of Thrones, we’d watch Game of Thrones. But, hey, if HBO were the ones that happened to pick the show up then, well, I guess we have no choice. (Here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen).
Mr. Decter, the ball is now in your court (once again, sorry about that sports metaphor, honestly I can’t help it). All that I ask is that you give us a reason to trust your vision of this series. Because I love it. A lot. It means a great deal to me and to the entire fandom. Give us a reason to love this show. Because, trust me, we want to love it. Ultimately the choice is up to you and how you choose to run the show. But I hope that you’ll take my words to heart and understand that that’s what this show is about: heart. The heart of the characters and the heart of the fans.
Alyssa, TMI Source