Movies

Shadow and Bone: A Fun and Fascinating Fantasy – Season 1 Review

Shadow and bone, is the new Netflix series in 8 episodes based on the world created by the writer Leigh Bardugo, the Grishaverse.

The series is named after the first book in the Grishaverse main trilogy, Darkness and Bones, and also includes characters and storylines from the Six of Crows duology.

If you are looking for fun and fascinating entertainment, then this is the right TV series to watch, indeed suitable for next weekend binge watching.
But why did it affect us so much? And why is everyone talking and watching Shadow and Bone?

SHADOW AND BONE, A CLASSIC AND LINEAR PLOT: WHAT IS THE BEAN AND WHO ARE THE GRISHA?

Shadow and Bone throws us into Ravka’s fantasy world. In the very distant past, a dark and dangerous area known as The Fold which is home to carnivorous winged monsters appeared in the Kingdom. This area has divided the world in half causing, among other things, chaos in moving from one area to another: it is very difficult, in fact, to cross it while remaining unharmed. In this world, there are people who have been gifted with special abilities known as “Grisha”.
The most important of all is the protagonist of the story: Alina (played by Jessie Mei Li) who is unaware of her power until it is revealed to save the life of her close friend Mal di lei. Alina is the bearer of light, a very important power in the world dominated by darkness and for this reason she is celebrated as the savior, a saint, that the Kingdom was waiting for to finally free the world from the fault.

SHADOWN BONE, FUN AND WELL BALANCED

There are four different storylines that unfold and simultaneously alternate in Shadow and Bone, which allow the episodes to keep pace and maintain the initial momentum.

The first storyline focuses on Alina as she faces new life in the capital and interacts with General Kirigan; the second follows Mal as he tries to get in touch with Alina. While the third follows a trio of three extravagant thieves. Kaz (Freddy Carter), Jesper (Kit Young) and Inej (Amita Suman), hired to locate and kidnap the new rescuer in exchange for a hefty payment. Finally we have, probably the least successful part alas, the one dedicated to Nina Zenik
The series is fun and well balanced between the more linear storyline that focuses on Alina’s growth and the acceptance of her power and what it entails and the more upbeat one characterized by action, fun the one focused on Kaz, Jesper and Inej. , characters that the readers of Bardugo’s books know thanks to the book of six of crows. Some episodes are also perhaps full of too many events, see for example episode 5, but overall, it is a well-told story and quite fun to watch in its development.

THE STRONG POINTS OF THE SHADOW AND BONE SERIES

Undoubtedly, the most convincing aspect is the screenplay of the series, even if it is not free from defects and a bit hasty and schizophrenic, due to the amount of events that are concentrated in some episodes. The series is well written and the plot of the first book of the Dark and Bones trilogy with that of Six of Crows, are well blended together. The mechanical device created to join the two stories is convincing, just as the actors of the cast and the characters of the story are very convincing. It was not at all easy to combine two sagas together in just 8 episodes without upsetting the general sense, failure was just around the corner.

Showrunner Eric Heisserer who worked closely with the writer of the books, Leigh Bardugo for the part of the union of the two books, certainly did a great job. It was he, when the project was in its infancy, who wanted to include the characters of Six of Crows and Netflix bought the rights to the duology only when the showrunner had given up on adapting only the Shadow and Bone trilogy. Having the whole world of Grishaverse available has allowed us to expand and create something new for the readers of the books as well as opening up infinite possibilities for the future of the series.

A WELL-SUCCESSFUL CAST AND CHARACTERS TO WHICH YOU ARE AFFECTED

An important help also came from the choice of the main cast.
Alina in the series is a shu, an additional element in which she balds a lot. The intent, in fact, is to underline the racism of which she has been a victim since she was very small. A racism similar to that to which the Grisha were subjected before General Kirigan built a fortress to protect them.

Ben Barnes is the strongest actor in the cast, but that was pretty obvious. His jokes are credible, intense and give that nuance to the character that make him in some ways an even more interesting villan for the instances that move him in his mission to conquer power.

Nothing can be said about the other main players either. Jessie Mei Li and Archie Renaux both very convincing and magnetic in their roles, but in general all are in part. Surely we are talking about young actors, so more or less immature and in some cases, especially for the secondary cast we can say, mediocre.

SHADOW AND BONE, A BUDGET TOO LOW FOR A FANTASY SERIES?

Given that for me the Shadow and Bone series is promoted with a full pass, it is impossible not to consider that a series like this with a more substantial budget, like the one that was destined for Game of Thrones or His Dark Materials, could have become a legacy worthy of these aforementioned series.

The budget invested is certainly not low, but it has not been distributed in a balanced way. We thus have sumptuous and sophisticated costumes for the Grisha. Darkling, who is probably the best dressed even if with Ben Barnes it’s easy, just like all the Kephtas have an excellent final result. While the interiors or some external sets and other costumes are poorly maintained. For example, those of the other armies, but above all the unbalanced distribution of the budget can be seen in the storyline of Nina and Matthias.

SHADOW AND BONE, THE SERIES FOR FANATSY LOVERS

In conclusion of our review of Shadow and Bone, we can certainly confirm the success of the series. If you are a fan of fantasy then this is definitely a series you need to watch. Magic, action, romance, as well as the final cliffhanger that gives the impetus to the second season. There is practically everything !.
Shadow and Bone is a truly very fun and enjoyable series to watch that never takes itself too seriously, and is expertly built to ensure that viewers enjoy the journey through the 8 episodes. What can I say, we await the announcement of the renewal for the second season.

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