5 Things to Expect From the ‘Shadowhunters’ Premiere

Series based on “The Mortal Instruments” novels premieres Jan. 12 on Freeform, formerly ABC Family


“Shadowhunters” premieres Tuesday night on Freeform, and both fans of the book series and newcomers to the fantasy saga are expecting a lot.

Based on young adult novels “The Mortal Instruments” by Cassandra Clare, the series stars Katherine McNamara as Clary Fray, a young girl who discovers that an entire world of demons, warlocks and Shadowhunters exists right under her nose.

Here’s the rundown of what you can expect from the premiere, as well as from the series going forward:

Lots of new faces
The vast majority of the show’s cast is made up of relative newcomers. McNamara has a few roles under her belt, including a recurring role on “The Fosters,” but many of the other stars are relatively fresh faces primed for a breakout.

Words you’ve never heard before
From “Mundies” to “Seelies” to “seraph blade” and even “Shadowhunter,” the series basically requires its own glossary. Readers of the book series won’t have any trouble with the new lingo, but newcomers might need a minute to get everything straight. The “Shadowhunters” website also includes a handy guide if you’re extra confused.

All sorts of supernatural creatures
While some YA series revolve around one or two types of supernatural creatures, be them vampires or werewolves or wizards, “Shadowhunters” has almost too many to count. Warlocks, vampires, faeries and werewolves all exist in the world of “The Mortal Instruments,” but they may not be exactly what you expect.

“There’s werewolves, there’s Seelies, there’s demons, there’s Shadowhunters, and they’re all doing things concurrently,” Executive producer Ed Decter said. “So we go to all the different worlds.”

Expect a few surprises
Even if you’re a fan of the book series, expect to be a little shocked by what unfolds, as Decter previously said that because “The Mortal Instruments” has already been adapted into a film, the series will work to set itself apart.

“We love the books, and that’s what got us involved with the project to begin with,” he explained. “But we still have had a version of it out there, so we wanted to have surprises both for the real hardcore fans.”

Added McNamara, “Basically, Book 1, ‘City of Bones,’ is kind of the skeleton for our first season, and we still get from point A to B, but the way we do that is a little different, and our very own interpretation.”

Plenty of romance
Being adapted from a series of YA novels, “Shadowhunters” provides no shortage of complicated romantic tangles between the show’s main characters. Among those are a couple whose will they/won’t they dynamic is complicated by an added layer of are they/aren’t they siblings and a gay relationship between an out character and a closeted one.

“I mean, fundamentally, it’s different because one of the characters is struggling with who he is, and has a great deal of trouble being honest with himself, and he has got a lot of priorities that are very — that are far more important at the moment to him as far as he can tell.  At least he believes that,” star Matthew Daddario said.

“Shadowhunters” series premiere airs Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 9 p.m. ET on Freeform.