‘The Magicians’ Review: Not Your Typical Fantasy Series

By Kitin Miranda | 10 months ago
‘The Magicians’ Review: Not Your Typical  Fantasy Series

SyFy’s “The Magicians”, in a surprising move, premiered their hour-long pilot episode early last Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at 10:00 PM. In it, viewers were introduced to the world of the television adaptation of Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians” trilogy, which showcased itself as an American, grittier version of “Narnia”, “Harry Potter” and “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” combined. WARNING: This article will contain spoilers for the pilot of “The Magicians”.

“The Magicians” centers around Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph), a graduate student who finally finds some sense of purpose after getting admitted to the magical Brakebills University.


However, unfortunately, his best friend, Julia “Jules” Wicker (Stella Maeve), didn’t pass the admissions exam, and became determined to find any way to be able to learn more about magic.

In Brakebills, Quentin ended up getting whisked away into a magical, Narnia-esque land called Fillory, where he was told by an English school girl that Brakebills is only a tool for him to become a magician, and who told him to question things at Brakebills. She also warned him that the “Beast” will be coming for him.

After receiving a mark on his hand due to one of his trips into Fillory, he consulted Alice Quinn (Olivia Taylor Dudley), the overachieving studious girl in his class, who, together with his roommate Penny  (Arjun Gupta), and his girlfriend, tried to summon Alice’s brother, who mysteriously died at Brakebills.

The group was unsuccessful, but the next day, during one of their classes, a grey suited man with insects swarming around his head entered from Fillory, choked the Dean to death and gouged his eyeballs out.

Afterwards, he placed the eyeballs on Quentin’s desk, called him by name, as if to say hello.

The episode ended there, with the entire class, including Quentin, frozen stiff, but aware of the presence of the man who had just entered.

Also, it is to be noted that the entire episode seemed to be building up on the fact that something bad was going to happen soon, and that Quentin would be at the center of it all.

If there is one thing that the reviews on Collider, The Wrap and Entertainment Weekly agree on, it’s the fact that although it is grittier, more adult and more violent, “The Magicians” is highly reminiscent of its predecessors, such as “Harry Potter”.

In fact, the characters themselves fit all the classic tropes. For example, Quentin is definitely the “Chosen One”, while Alice is the Hermione Granger of the series.


However, Collider notes that the visual effects and the effort to create the stylized look of the hallways of Brakebills, the students casting spells, and the magical world of Fillory, is something different from usual television fare.

However, “The Magicians” doesn’t stray too far from reality, unlike “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell”.

Collider also mentions that although a lot of the characters weren’t developed, especially Quentin, the last few minutes hooked viewers in with the surprisingly graphic and dramatic introduction of one of the antagonists in the series.

The Wrap thinks that “The Magicians: failed to deliver, while Collider believes it has promise. Entertainment Weekly, on the other hand, believes that the episode was a good way to start the series.

“The Magicians” will premiere on January 25, 2016 on SyFy.

Did it cast a spell on you?  Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Photo Source:Facebook/The Magicians