Shadowhunters (sometimes stylized as ShadowHunters), also known as Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, is the TV series adaptation of Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments. It premiered on January 12, 2016 and aired on Tuesdays at 9:00 – 10:00 p.m., ET/PT on Freeform. It was also distributed internationally on Netflix.
Based on the New York Times bestselling young adult fantasy book series The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, follows 18 year-old Clary Fray, who finds out on her birthday that she is not who she thinks she is, but rather comes from a long line of Shadowhunters — human-angel hybrids who hunt down demons. When her mother Jocelyn is kidnapped, Clary is thrown into the world of demon hunting with mysterious Shadowhunter Jace and her best friend Simon. Now living among faeries, warlocks, vampires and werewolves, Clary begins a journey of self-discovery as she learns more about her past and what her future may hold.
2A: Clary and the Shadowhunters go to war against Valentine's new army, with allegiances and enemies shifting on both sides, to determine the ultimate fate of the Shadow World.
2B: Shadowhunters and Downworlders are reeling from what happened at the New York Institute. As the rift between the two sides grows larger, the team and their Downworld friends and lovers are put in the middle of the dangerous divide.
3A: While the Shadowhunters deal with changes in their personal lives and Clary and Jace keep dark secrets, a serious threat to the Shadowhunters emerges in the form of Lilith, a powerful demon building an army of disciples on a quest to resurrect her "precious boy" Jonathan.
* summaries are a combination of various summaries, from official press releases and Netflix
At MIPCOM on October 12, 2014, the development of the project was first revealed by Constantin Film, instead of the initially planned The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes sequel to the first film that was initially set to begin production in September 2013, before it was delayed and ultimately scrapped.
The plan and vision was to relaunch The Mortal Instruments as a high-end drama series with one-hour episodes and as a complete reboot of the film. Producer Don Carmody expressed his desire to make the show a limited TV series, hoping to release a season (one per book) every year and shooting it in Toronto, and Constantin Film revealing its aims to spend 2.5-5 million per episode. Unique Features' Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne were onboard as executive producers, as they were on the film. Ed Decter was also hired as showrunner, executive producer, and head writer of the first season.
Cassandra Clare first shared the series' working title "Shadowhunters" on Twitter in February 2015. Along with a confirmation and extension of the title, it was revealed by an OLV source that production was set to begin in May that year in Vancouver. A Craigslist LA listing also put up the information of the series pilot, confirming the previous information and revealing casting notices, as well as part of the show's description. Casting sides were also made available online, and some audition videos, along with speculations that came with the script portions, eventually made its way online.
Author Cassandra Clare eventually met with the network that picked the series up. Days later, on March 30, 2015, it was officially announced that the series was given a 13-episode straight-to-series order on ABC Family.
The series is part of a broader strategic shift at Constantin that will see the German-based company move into English-language television series, one of several television adaptations of several of its English-language movie properties, including Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and Resident Evil. The project also marks ABC Family's first scripted "saga-to-series," and comes as the Disney-owned cable network is plotting a rebranding to target older viewers and families alike.
It was soon revealed that production would take place in May 2015 in Toronto. McG's involvement as executive producer was then announced. ABC Family later announced that Shadowhunters is part of its early 2016 programming, premiering alongside another book adaptation project, Recovery Road. Production began in May (principal photography on the 25th) and ran until October 2015. Cassandra Clare has also stated that the show will be quite different from the books and is more like an "interpretation", and that it will not be a book per season. She also revealed that the first season would incorporate elements from later books, which was also supported by the early appearances of characters that appear much later in the book series.
On March 14, 2016, the show's renewal for a second season was official announced via a Facebook Q&A with the main cast and executive producers McG and Ed Decter.
Casting was already a priority during early stages of development, as well as a concern among fans. The first real update was released through the Craigslist LA listing posted on March 4, 2015. Alyson Silverberg, Jonathan Clay Harris, and Anthony J. Kraus serve as casting directors, and Susan Esrock and Justin Kiang as casting associates. The pilot ad included character descriptions of Clary, Jace, and Simon, all revealed to have been aged up a few years from their book counterparts. The presence of casting sides online on sites such as Showfax and SidesExpress was also revealed. There is some indication that Isabelle, Alec, Jocelyn, Valentine, and Luke, as well as Dorothea, were among the other characters being auditioned for at the time. Some audition videos also made their way online. Via Twitter, McG publicized updates regarding the casting process, along with some production notes, in April.