The Syfy series The Magicians
, based on the New York Times
best-selling trilogy by Lev Grossman, follows Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph), a super fan of the fantasy book series Fillory and Further
, who, along with his best friend Julia (Stella Maeve), discover the secret grad school in New York, Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy.
Quentin is accepted into the school which will forever irrevocably change his life, while Julia is rejected and left behind to face a whole different set of challenges when a memory wipe fails and leaves her starved for any scrap of magic she can find.
While Julia joins forces with some seedy Hedge Witches, at Brakebills, Quentin not only discovers that magic is real, but that the fantastical world within his favorite childhood stories may be as well, but not everything is like what you read about in books.
Quentin gets more than he bargained for, when he, along with his friends, must stop a creature from another world, called The Beast, who threatens everyone's existence.
It's obvious that The Magicians
takes inspiration from other fantasy book series, such as The Chronicles of Narnia
and most notably the Harry Potter
series; however, The Magicians
does its own thing. Fans of such books should enjoy the stories; however, The Magicians
, and especially the television version, is not a children's story. The series can at times be quite violent, graphic, and haunting, and shows a much less idyllic and often emotional look at what magic might look like in the real world, where strong magic often comes from pain.
This approach is something I find refreshing in the show. Everything can't just be fixed by a flick of the wand (in which here there are none). The good guys don't always win and the hero doesn't always get the girl.
The screenplay is well adapted from the original and follows the overall story of the first book; however, there are elements of the two that differ, the big thing being that the characters in the series are older. Having read the book, I still very much enjoyed the television series. It's full of adventure, mystery, romance, humor, and fantasy - something for everyone.
Production does an excellent job of bringing Grossman's novel to life with a detailed world and fantastic sets and special effects.
What is also great about the show is that it was able to expand character roles from the book, such as that of Julia (which apparently a lot of is taken from the second novel) and Penny (Arjun Gupta).
I really love all the characters, even if many of them are a bit stereotypical, they are well-developed, each with their own quirks, from Quentin, the unexpected nerdy hero, to his know-it-all love interest Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), to his smart-ass roommate Penny, to the always drunk upperclassman Elliot (Hale Appleman) and his bestie Margo (Summer Bishil), the mean girl, of which the latter two are always making me laugh. The cast was quite well chosen, and they all have fantastic chemistry together. The Magicians
is a fun, though often times dark, series that I highly recommend watching. It's an exciting look at magic, with an entertaining and thought-provoking character-driven story. Bonus Features:
Deleted Scenes -
Some of the scenes are unnecessary and likely cut for time, but some of them do add to the story, and it would have been nice if they had been left in. They can each be played separately or together. Disc One:
Unauthorized Magic - 0:10 *
The Source of Magic - 1:18 *
Consequences of Advanced Spellcasting - 0:40 Disc Two:
Mendings, Major and Minor - 1:07 *
Impractical Applications - 2:25 *
The Mayakovsky Circumstance - 0:50 *
The Strangled Heart - 0:20 *
The Writing Room - 0:23 Disc Three:
Homecoming - 1:23 *
Remedial Battle Magic - 2:13 *
Thirty-Nine Graves - 1:06 *
Have You Brought Me Little Cakes? - 1:41 Gag Reel
- 8:09 - These are the usual flubs and fooling around. It's a nice collection of them. The World of The Magicians
- 13:51 - This feature, which includes interviews, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage, is an introduction to the characters and the series in general. The cast and crew talk about adapting the series from the books. They also talk about the sets and environments on the show, and how each world (Brakebills, Brooklyn, and Fillory) has its own color and style. In addition to other parts of production, they also talk about both practical and digital effects. Trailers
- There are also trailers that play automatically, which include those for season one of Mr. Robot
, season one of The Expanse
, the film Kubo and the Two Strings
, and the series Grimm
The bonus features included with the set are nice to have, but there aren't as many as there could be, and they really don't give you much insight into the series. While I definitely recommend the series, it's not worth the price for the bonus features alone. Packaging:
The Blu-ray set comes with three discs in the normal blue clam shell case and includes a cardboard lenticular slipcover. The uncensored episodes are split with four episodes on the first disc, five on the second, and four on the third. The deleted scenes are split across the appropriate discs, with the last two bonus features on the third disc. The back of the insert tells what episodes and bonus features are on each disc, but you have to take it out to read it.
The set also comes with a digital HD with Ultra Violet copy code; however, according to the instructions, the digital versions are as they originally aired on Syfy. On the reverse side of the page is an ad for season two of the series, returning in January of 2017. Conclusion:
If you are looking for an interesting, fun, and gritty fantasy series, look no further than The Magicians
; it will not disappoint.