6 items from 2016
Based on Lev Grossman's book trilogy, The Magicians stars Jason Ralph as Quentin Coldwater, a grad student who gains entrance to an elite magic academy. Stella Maeve, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Hale Appleton, Arjun Gupta, Summer Bishil, Rick Worthy, Anne Dudek, Jade Tailor, and Esme Bianco also star.
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Lev Grossman’s novel, The Magicians, which is only about seven years old and already has two sequels, is something of a unique effort. It isn’t unique in that it is about a young man at a school of magic, but it is an uncommon attempt to mix Ya fiction (or, more or less Ya fiction), with high fantasy, with something like a pointed disregard for “standard narrative enticements.” It’s almost as though it is working a layered trick to get young audiences to believe that working through school will actually pay off.
Sure, our “hero” Quentin learns there is a school where he can go to learn real magic, but it’s filled with rules, learning magic is monotonous and requires countless hours of study, and the whole thing is likely to drive you mad with frustration. But, if you make it out the other side, you »
- Marc Eastman
These days, TV shows can use all the help they can get to attract positive ratings and stay on the air. Even a little magic wouldn't hurt. How will The Magicians perform for Syfy? Will the fantasy series be cancelled or renewed for a second season? Stay tuned.
Based on Lev Grossman's best-selling books, The Magicians TV show is set at the secret Brakebills University for students of magical ability. Grad student Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) spends more time immersed in a fantasy book series than living his life. When he and his best friend Julia (Stella Maeve) are transported to Brakebills for an entrance exam, their world changes forever. The cast also includes Olivia Taylor Dudley, Hale Appleton, Arjun Gupta, Summer Bishil, Rick Worthy, Anne Dudek, Jade Tailor, and Esme Bianco.
The ratings are typically the best indication of a show's likelihood of staying »
Two episodes were provided prior to broadcast.
**Trigger warning – premiere contains self-harm and a near-rape scene.**
Syfy’s The Magicians, an adaptation of the bestselling “urban fantasy” by Lev Grossman, pulls off one fascinating trick in its forceful, flawed first episodes. Combining unusually haunted heroes, a grounded and grungy aesthetic, and unexpected willingness to deconstruct its chosen genre, the series manages to dispense with the hangman’s-noose turn of phrase that has accompanied it since Grossman’s source material first hit shelves: namely, that this tale of sorcery students grappling with dark forces is just “Harry Potter for adults.”
Instead of buying into that pull-quote-ready categorization, the series (co-created by Supernatural‘s Sera Gamble and Aquarius‘ John McNamara) goes deeper and darker. Its protagonist is the troubled and mostly miserable Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph), who shows signs of clinical depression and regards the Narnia-esque Fillory and Further series as a »
- Isaac Feldberg
If Syfy’s The Magicians goes “poof!” and disappears after its first season, it won’t be for lack of ambition.
Related2016 Renewal Scorecard: What’s Coming Back? What’s Getting Cancelled? What’s on the Bubble?
Based on Lev Grossman’s best-selling fantasy trilogy, the series’ two-hour premiere (airing Monday at 9/8c) packs so many tricks up its sleeve that the whole enterprise occasionally threatens to split at the seams.
Syfy’s “The Magicians,” an adaptation of Lev Grossman’s trilogy of acclaimed fantasy novels, rushes pell-mell into the books’ plots, and moves around a few of their most prominent elements; you certainly can’t say the show is shy about rearranging the story’s foundations. Yet in the first two episodes of the drama, an over-reliance on mechanically contrived incident hinders the show’s ability to create the kind of emotional intensity and intelligently wrought suspense that were the hallmarks of the novels, and in certain key roles, some actors fail to create a spell.
Grossman’s tale is, at its lacerated heart, the story of isolated and intellectually gifted adolescents trying to figure out how to connect with one another and see the wonder, danger and possibility beyond their individual concerns. Since he was a kid, the smart but depressed New Yorker Quentin Coldwater had escaped into a »
- Maureen Ryan
6 items from 2016
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