The Magicians Season 3 is just around the corner, so bring magic back into your life by binge watching the first two seasons
Are you a Harry Potter fan who is struggling to deal with life after Voldemort? Perhaps you’re a Hobbit or a Narnian looking for a new fantastical world to visit? Maybe you’re just an ordinary person, secretly wishing that magic existed so life could be more exciting. Well, you’re in luck! Let us introduce you to Syfy’s The Magicians:
Based on the bestselling series by Lev Grossman, The Magicians follows chronically depressed Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) and his successful best friend Julia Wicker (Stella Maeve) as they discover real magic. While Quentin is accepted at Brakebills College for Magic and Pedagogy, Julia is forced to seek a less orthodox education.
Quentin is joined by upperclassmen Eliot (Hale Appleman) and Margo (Summer Bishil), who take him under their – sometimes drunk – wing. A beautiful and talented student named Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) catches his attention, but her ice queen demeanor hides a darker secret. Meanwhile, his surly roommate Penny (Arjun Gupta) juggles traveling between worlds and his hot-and-cold lover Kady (Jade Tailor).
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Now, things wouldn’t be complete without a big baddie, and The Magicians gives us that…and more! While The Beast (Charles Mesure) turns out to be more than just a scary bedtime story, our magicians must also watch out for the Fox (Mackenzie Astin) hiding in plain sight. Of course, none of us are always who we seem…
For fans, you know and love the cheeky humor, gorgeous sets and costumes. Let’s not forget the rich storylines the talented writers bring us every week. For newbies, dive into a world that walks the tight line between fantasy and reality with near perfection. The cast, the crew, and the producers will take you on a journey you’ll never want to come back from.
So…are you ready?
When your source material is known for complex dynamics and unflinching storylines, there’s never a shortage of inspiration
Lev Grossman is many things – New York Times journalist, bestselling novelist, and huge comic book geek. What he isn’t is a writer who loves to do what is predictable. From Warp, in which a twenty-something man lives his favorite TV show to Codex, a banker sucked into the mystery of a rare book, his characters are always unique. When it came to writing The Magicians, Grossman knew instinctively what kind of protagonist he wanted: someone flawed, weak, and – dare we say it – not remotely heroic. In an interview with TVAfterDark’s sister site Hello Nerdeek last year, he told us that
“I didn’t want Quentin to be a conventional hero. I really wanted them to pursue this idea and stick with this idea, which is kind of hard to work out ‘cause storytelling tends to cut the other way. This idea that Quentin is not the chosen one, he’s not marked out by fate or destiny for some great heroic role…So, I wanted to make sure that theme was part of it, and by the end of the first season, you can see they really embrace it.”
When executive producers John McNamara and Sera Gamble took on the challenge of translating it to the small screen, they were careful to maintain the integrity of the series. As a result, what we get is a show that doesn’t shy away from the crippling depression Quentin suffers, Julia’s magic addiction, or Eliot’s failure to launch from fear of being a real adult. The world doesn’t revolve around them just because they wield magic; if anything, it makes their lives infinitely more complicated. It is this approach that draws so many fans to the show, because it brings a sense of realism to an otherwise fantastical world.
Yes, the cast and crew are immensely talented, but they’re also passionate about the stories they tell
One of the many things that sets The Magicians apart from other shows is how it refused to stick to conventional formulas. In addition to the premise itself, everyone involved took part in making this show one of a kind. First off, the writers started with a fantasy drama and wove in elements of comedy, music, and topical lessons. The result was episode after episode of delicately balanced ingenuity that had us tuning in every week. Many of the cast had hidden talents like singing, dancing, and of course, impeccable delivery of sarcastic one-liners. During our interview with the EPs and cast at SDCC 2017, Gamble said,
“One of my favorite things in the writers’ room is when I spot one of the writers laughing to themselves – often it’s you (referring to John) – John, what’s so funny? No, I can’t repeat it, it’s too stupid. And inevitably, it becomes a huge plot point of the season.”
Appleman, Bishil, Maeve, Ralph, Gupta, and Tailor gave us powerful, nuanced performances as core cast. It was their portrayals of the emotional undertones that had our hearts aching over Quentin’s spiral into despair, or Julia and Kady descending into obsession. Let’s not forget the supporting players, though! Mesure and Astin were terrifically terrifying as villains while bringing a vulnerability to their characters. As for Brittany Curran, she brought to life a woman whose quiet determination inspired High King Eliot to earn his title.
Before we move on, though, we must also give some major props to the music master, Will Bates, for setting the mood. Costume designer Magali Guidasci’s intentional use of beautiful fabrics, colors, and lines had us begging for a retail line to buy out. If you watch the show for nothing else but seamlessly blended production, you’d still finish feeling immensely satisfied.
It might not seem like it, but this is a show about the magic of love, faith, and hope
While we have expounded on many ways that The Magicians takes on real life challenges and moral dilemmas, it is still a show about magic. Not the wave a magic wand or casting a spell kind of way, although that’s what it seems. It’s about the way that a singular belief or emotion can alter the way you perceive the world. Indeed, the show removes the shiny veneer of being a magician, revealing the pain, misery, and anger beneath. Quentin learns it can’t solve all his problems, and Julia is unable to cast aside the trauma in hers. Eliot and Margo learn that leading is more than just ordering people around, and Penny…well, he’s Penny. As we head into season three, Ralph aptly describes the problem the characters face:
“It’s (magic) been around so long that it’s intrinsic to this world, and you take that away and it’s an energy crisis, and so there’s a responsibility to the global community to fix thing. Yes, they love magic and it’s a part of their personality and who they are, but it’s bigger than that.”
We think that losing their ability will only reveal that magic, real magic, is not truly gone in their lives. For Quentin, it’s the strength he gains fighting for something or someone he loves. For Eliot and Margo, their makeshift family keeps the desolation at bay. Penny has found hope in someone who keeps him grounded, even when Kady runs away. In Julia, we see the newfound faith in her own abilities as she puts the past behind her. It’s about how love can unite us, faith can motivate us, and hope can inspire us. It is this core message – not the hilarious zingers, gorgeous costumes, or raucous musical numbers – that truly endears it to fans.
The Magicians is a fantasy drama with musical numbers, a fashion plate cast, meme-able quotes, and a feel good message. What more could you want in a binge worthy show??
In an endless sea of cookie-cutter shows with predictable formulas, don’t you want to watch something that leaves you talking?
The characters in The Magicians might be beautiful and cast spells like bosses, but they’re also relatable and deeply flawed. Their magical worlds have rainbow bridges and fantastic creatures, but their hearts are crying out for help. It’s a perfect study in opposites, of expectation versus reality, of good and (not versus) evil.
Just as the characters are challenged to see past what their eyes perceive, so are we as the audience. The Magicians does give us plenty of entertainment with witty banter, topical jokes, and beautiful people. After all, ratings are a must, right? However, it doesn’t sit on its laurels and settles for that. It’s the search for meaning and an intellectual curiosity that makes this show stand shoulders above the rest.
So, what’s the take home point? If you’re a fantasy fan looking for a fun romp through magical worlds, The Magicians is for you. You want Tolkin level storytelling with a modern twist? The Magicians is for you. If you want to escape from real life troubles and find inspiration, guess what? The Magicians is for you. With many characters, journeys, and perspectives to choose from, we’d be shocked if you couldn’t find something to love.
Oh, in case that isn’t enough to entice you to binge this show…there’s one more thing.
The Great Cock.