Shadow and Bone Is Like All of Your Favorite Fantasy Shows but Way Better
It only took me one episode of Shadow and Bone to know that it was quickly going to become a huge phenomenon. Since the series is based on Leigh Bardugo's popular YA book series, it did take me a few episodes to familiarize myself with the complex Grishaverse and everything that comes with that, but once I did, I fell completely in love with the world. The eight-episode series follows an orphan named Alina Starkov who discovers she has extraordinary powers that just might help her country break down a dark threat that has been looming for many years.
On top of the talented stars and interesting storylines, the series is truly a culmination of all my favorite fantasy shows and movies wrapped into one. In fact, it may actually be better. It has magic that would rival Harry Potter and a love triangle that puts Bella, Edward, and Jacob from Twilight to shame, but most importantly, it improves on the books it's based on with its diverse cast and representative stories. If you're still on the fence about the series, here are just a few more reasons why you should tune into the show.
It's the Best Love Triangle Since Twilight
Sorry, but Bella, Edward, and Jacob who? I only know Alina, The Darkling, and Mal. Just like the Twilight saga, Alina finds herself drawn to two very different men in the series: Mal, her childhood best friend, and The Darkling, a powerful Grisha who as his name suggests has a very dark past. While Mal is her closest confidant, The Darkling is one of the only people who fully understands Alina's special powers. It's a classic star-crossed lovers situation here. Just like many fans flip-flopped from Team Edward to Team Jacob after New Moon, you might find yourself going back and forth with your allegiances to Mal or The Darkling as the story progresses. I certainly did.
It's the Best Magical Universe Since Harry Potter
We all know that the Harry Potter world is just as intriguing as it is complicated, especially if you haven't read the books, and the same goes for Netflix's Shadow and Bone. After all, the series is based on both Bardugo's Shadow and Bone trilogy, as well as the Six of Crows duology, so there's a lot going on there. As someone who hasn't read the Grishaverse books before, it admittingly did take me a hot second to get into the series. Let's just say, you might want to watch the first two or three episodes with no distractions. That being said, once I did immerse myself into the world, I was hooked. After binge-watching the series, I was even inspired to pick up a copy of the first novel. Just like the Harry Potter movies brought in new book fans, it seems likely that Shadow and Bone will do the same.
It's the Best Book Adaptation Since Game of Thrones
A handful of critics are already dubbing Shadow and Bone the "Game of Thrones of Netflix," and that assessment is totally fair as the titles certainly have their similarities. While I never got into Game of Thrones myself, it certainly seems like Shadow and Bone is taking a note from the hit HBO series and adding to it. The Netflix show certainly stays true to the source material, but it also fixes what the books don't do, especially when it comes to its diverse cast.
During a roundtable interview, Bardugo discussed how she worked alongside the cast and directors to bring the story to life in a way that was representative of today's society. "I really think that we're just one step on that path, or at least I hope we are," the author said. "I think that [executive producer] Eric [Heisserer] went out of his way to make sure that his writers' room reflected the diversity of our cast. And that when we wrote the stories for these characters, that we treated them with honesty, and respect, and sensitivity. But I think there's a lot more to be done and there's a lot of books by authors of color that I'd love to see adapted. So I hope that we are just one more step on the journey to seeing a fantasy landscape that reflects our own world a lot better."
It Has the Best Cast Chemistry Since The Magicians
When The Magicians first premiered on Syfy, I was instantly captivated by the incredible cast. Not only are they all super talented, but they had great chemistry together onscreen, which made their characters' relationships that much more believable. The same can certainly be said for Shadow and Bone. While Jessie Mei Li and Ben Barnes do a great job capturing Alina and The Darkling's intense but complicated relationship, I was especially drawn to the actors playing the Dregs: Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, Kit Young. Thanks to their incredible onscreen chemistry, I found myself rooting for them and invested in their storylines more and more. Let's just say, by the end of watching this series, you'll be following all of them on social media.