Despite doubts over the quality of Shadowhunters thus far, Freeform announced on the 14th March it would be renewing the show for a second series. The announcement came via a live stream Q&A with showrunner Ed Decter and cast members Katherine McNamara (Clary), Esmeraude Toubia (Izzy), Isaiah Mustafa (Luke), Harry Shum Jr. (Magnus), and Dominic Sherwood (Jace), Alberto Rosende (Simon) and Matthew Daddario (Alec) joining in the fun via Facetime.
Shadowhunters, based on Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, follows Clary Fray (Katherine McNamara) as she witnesses the unexplainable unfold before her eyes. She loses her mother, and is thrown head first into a world she had no idea existed and a destiny she doesn’t understand.
The show premiered in January to mixed reviews. Story wise it has staggered along since the beginning, gaining ground in some areas and utterly failing in others. Yet the show continued to amass a significant following online thanks to constant social media engagement from the cast and a growing built-in fanbase of the original book series.
The decision can only be explained by the massive social media following the show has cultivated over the last 9 weeks. ShadowhuntersTV claims that it is one of the most engaging scripted series across the television medium. With over 17.7 million online engagements/social interactions, Shadowhunters ranks fourth, beating out more established shows such as Arrow, The Flash and Vampire Diaries.
Freeform estimates that Shadowhunters has amassed over 7.5 million views since it’s launch 10 weeks ago. That makes it the second most watched show on Freeform after Pretty Little Lairs.
It seems Freeform may be more than just a new name: it may have just taken the first step towards a new era of TV. Given that the show has ranked poorly in week to week ratings on home soil (0.8 million at its lowest), we can only assume that the network has made this decision based on more than the weekly ratings. Something that most networks have failed to consider in past years with many promising shows falling victim to ratings-hungry execs.
To put it in perspective, consider this: Manhattan Love Story (ABC) was cancelled after just 4 episodes with a rating of 2.6 million views, The Nine Lives of Chloe King (ABC) was cancelled after 10 episodes with a rating of 1.08 million, Forever (ABC) was cancelled with 4.13 million and The Whispers (ABC) was cancelled after 13 episodes and a rating of 2.75 million on its final episode.
Hopefully, this means that Shadowhunters will be given the budget it deserves leading into its second series. I’m pleased that the production company who originally brought us The Mortal Instruments with Lily Collins and Jamie Bower Campbell have finally been trusted to tell their full version of The Mortal Instruments.
We can only hope – until then, check out the cast’s excitement as they announce the show’s renewal:
Catch Shadowhunters on Netflix every Wednesday.