Syfy has moved up the premiere episode of The Magicians to tomorrow (Wednesday, December 16th) with a special commercial-free preview airing…so I finally managed to squeeze some time to watch the screener they sent me – along with my acceptance letter to Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy’s graduate program…so I wanted to give a brief spoiler-free review to know what to expect.
It likely can’t be helped that this is thought of as “Hogwarts for grown-ups”. But make no mistake – this isn’t Harry Potter’s wizarding world we’re talking about, although there may be similarities. This show – based on the series of books by Lev Grossman – takes itself seriously. And the show is definitely aimed at a more adult audience, although probably on the younger end of the demographic.
The Magicians centers on Quentin Coldwater, a brilliant grad student chosen to attend Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic. He and his 20-something friends soon discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real – and poses grave danger to humanity.
The series stars Jason Ralph (Aquarius) as Quentin Coldwater, Stella Maeve (Chicago PD) as Julia, Olivia Taylor Dudley (The Vatican Tapes) as Alice, Hale Appleman (Teeth) as Eliot, Arjun Gupta (Nurse Jackie) as Penny and Summer Bishil (Lucky 7) as Margo.
Each of the characters has an interesting skill in magic – but they all have issues as well. Some were considered losers in the outside world. Crazies. Loners. They had no idea what they were themselves. At Brakebills, they find others like them. But that does not make them safe. Quentin gets messages from who he thought was a fictional character in a book – and the message is that everyone at Brakebills could die – at the hands of one called The Beast. Who is he, and what does he want with Quentin? I suspect we’ll find out more when the series returns in January.