The Magicians (TV Series 2015–2020) Poster

(2015–2020)

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7/10
melo sci-fi
SnoopyStyle28 April 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Best friends Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) and Julia Wicker (Stella Maeve) are fans of the fantasy series, Fillory and Further. Quentin is even treated for believing Fillory to be a real place. He is set to interview for Yale grad school. Instead, he is invited to attend the Brakebills University in upstate New York by Dean Fogg. It's a school for magicians and Fillory is real. On the other hand, Julia is rejected. She avoids the memory wipe and seeks magic through other means. Alice Quinn (Olivia Taylor Dudley), Penny Adiyodi (Arjun Gupta), Eliot Waugh (Hale Appleman), Kady Orloff-Diaz (Jade Tailor), and Margo Hanson (Summer Bishil) are some of Quentin's classmates. Alice comes from uncaring magician parents and becomes Quentin's love interest.

This is a bit sexy, sometimes brutal, plenty of sarcasm, and a little uneven overall. These are young, hot people with magical powers. There are some imaginative story elements. It's uneven in that the characters and story can meander in conflicted emotions. Fillory is a funny weird place. At a certain point, the show meanders a bit too much and it loses its anchor. Quentin is gone for the last season.
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8/10
Excellent series with a tenuous relationship to the books
cherold22 March 2016
If you've read Lev Grossman's wonderful Magicians trilogy you may find watching this series rather disorienting. The characters are all there and quite recognizable, and it's still about magic students and mysterious otherworlds, but it often feels like the series' writers cut the books into pieces, stirred those pieces in a bowl, then pulled them out and stitched the pieces together in random order, making up new stuff to fill in gaps.

That's not bad, and the world they have created works quite well, but it increasingly diverges from the books' mythology. This approach means I often find the show full of weird left turns where it shows me something familiar and then wanders off somewhere else with it, but the show is very entertaining, and it's prickly characters (awkward guy geek, ridiculously hot, short-skirted girl geek, snarky macho guy, snarky gay guy, angsty magic reject) are, if not quite likable, still fairly relatable.

The first changes from the book were relatively small. We follow Julia's story throughout the series, whereas her later reappearance in the book represented a plot twist. And while the books' Quentin did not have a Harry Potter-ish Destiny - he was just a smart guy so desperate for grand adventure that he would pursue all sorts of crazy things - comments made by supporting characters suggest that in the series, Quentin is in some way inherently Important. I feel that's a bit too obvious - the lack of destiny was one of those nice contrasts with Harry Potter - but it's fine.

Some story elements in the series are from the books, but they can come from any book in any order and are often mixed with things that aren't from the books at all. But while I'm often discombobulated by these changes, I'm rarely displeased.

Addendum: Just saw the last episode, so came back to say that this series held up throughout. Sometimes overly confusing, but overall very solid with an excellent finale.
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2/10
Butterflies Anyone?
westsideschl26 July 2017
1. Not the "Mothman" again; so he's still haunting the movie horror genre. That's called creative writing. And, we learn he's from another world. Has to be, moths are too butterfly cute on this one to be evil. 2. Not another supernatural killing dagger. You would think we would have moved on from kitchen knives that save the world. Maybe I should buy those infomercial knife sets for $9.99 and not a penny less. 3. Lollipop house! Yum, and dumb! Props dept. must have had fun with that one. 4. "Alice is God powered."? What does that mean? Is it like an additive you put in your gas tank? 5. Not another hieroglyphic, spinning, magical device to another dimension or wherever? How many times has that been used? 6. High school robotic acting; dumbed down dialogue; fake stereotyped Hollywood props & clothing; script is loaded with scenes of just talking heads, but we do get the stand by of CGI flashing eyes and blue flashing lights/events to represent mystical magical machinations. 7. Curious how every female looks as if she just left the beauty salon.
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2/10
Dumbed Down
westsideschl27 July 2018
Why do most sci-fi/fantasy TV series always use really dumbed down, middle school level, dialogue (short words, short sentences); science/reality based concepts made of a nothingness-vacuum w/no possible science based support; redundant simplistic plot lines; over reliance on cheap weird costuming/make-up; and limited CGI always of the same brief flash hype. Anyway, we have in The Magicians a Time Loop (used in other sci-fi movies; means nothing; and not even possible); we have an ever present evil thingy "The Beast", well they did keep his name simple; some made up concept called a "Tesla Flexion" - name sounds sciency; a Fairy Queen - well, two birds w/one stone kind of character. The other consistently cheap production technique is lots of time looking at "talking heads". If you ff you see 90% screen filled with a head - talking, that's it.
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9/10
A Journey Into A Dark World of Excitement
atlasmb27 January 2016
After two episodes, this new series by the Syfy Channel has already captured my interest and my imagination. "The Magicians" is a supernatural tale adapted from the books of Lev Grossman, which I have not read. It will inevitably be compared to the Harry Potter saga, but it operates on a different level.

When we are introduced to Harry Potter, he is a young child, full of hope and fascination. Hogwarts is a Disney-like playground, full of wonderment. The main character of "The Magicians" is Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph)--a college senior who suffers from a general malaise, as if he never feels comfortable in the world.

His path is set--the obligatory applications for ivy league schools, probably followed by an unfulfilling career in something uninspiring. But he is sidetracked (just as Harry literally was) by unknown forces, and finds himself sitting for an exam. The purpose of the exam is obscure, but Quentin (Q) feels an opportunity is at hand.

The show is about Q's introduction to magic. At the same time, the viewer learns that destructive forces are at play. From its beginning, "The Magicians" lets us know this is a dark and sinister story, full of foreboding and impending menace. It feels more like "His Dark Materials" than Harry Potter, and that is a good thing.

The story moves quickly. We are introduced to competing factions and a world of dreams that may be real. A villain--one of the creepiest ever created with special effects--makes an appearance and leaves his mark.

There is also humor, mostly via the whimsical nature of magic. It provides a welcome relief. Otherwise, the show would be nothing more than a battle among dark forces.

Early on, Q feels like an underdeveloped character--one with potential and plenty of room for blossoming. Into something special, we feel. Into a person who knows his place in the universe. But there is plenty of time for that. We want to enjoy the journey.

Update 3/1/16: A world of magic should be unbound by the rules and conventions of the natural world. And that is the world "The Magicians" has proved to be. The world of magic is revealed to be inventive and unpredictable. It is freewheeling, nearly anarchic, full of surprises and possibilities. I am upping my grade to "9".
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10/10
Magical Drama for Grown Ups
tabuno12 January 2019
12 January 2017. What makes this television services stand out is its amazing hard-hitting, edgy script that defies traditional storyline plots. Taking Harry Potter to new heights, this foul-mouthed, sexy version of magic offers up a Naria that is far and away mature, dealing with death, intimate relationships, betrayal, and plot-twists that elevate this series beyond the tame, juvenile pablum that has been produced so far. Oddly enough, the perhaps only weakness to this series is the sincere effort that scriptwriters have gone to be so different as to almost seem manipulative and desperate to ensure the audience experiences something truly different. This much darker and serious take on magic informs and reflects nicely on contemporary life in today's societal complexity. One on the most daring, bold magical presentations out there. Well worth the effort to watch, if you dare to experience the darkness with a glimmer of smudgy hope.
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7/10
Harry Potter goes to College - The Magicians
arthur_tafero20 January 2021
This show has nothing to do with Harry Potter, although the characters in Harry Potter are much better developed than these stereotypes. With the exception of the indian guy, who has real acting potential as a star, the rest of the cast is fairly mundane. It is the stories and the settings that are fascinating. I like the devil man of bad magic. I like the Indian guy, and the rest....meh. The stories, however, are quite interesting, and some of them are completely innovative. The special effects, of course, are outstanding. On the whole, the show is very entertaining despite the wooden characters. and predictable emotional outcomes. Particularly annoying is the gay guy who tries to give the impression he is heterosexual. Please; no one believes you are heterosexual. His role would be much better utilized if he had a gay partner. The blonde nerd is not convincing, either. Luckily, the writers of this show are very talented; and they rescue the wooden crew time after time. They even are capable of making viewers watch despite the wretched characters.
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7/10
déjà vu
myriamlenys30 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I've watched the whole of the first season, but I'm not going to watch the later seasons. This is not a bad series : there are moments of fun, whimsy and wit to be found, and some of the young actors show genuine promise. However, the series is constantly referencing other, earlier works. (I suppose that exactly the same goes for the source material.) These references are many and manifold, to the point where one could organize a quizz evening for science fiction and fantasy lovers - who is going to be the first to spot the reference to Rowling, Lewis, Zelazny, Tolkien, Dickens and others ? Yes, and once again it is table 8 that has spotted the likeness with "Amber" - well done, table 8 !

The makers of the series aren't plagiarists : they use other, earlier elements, but transform, mock, question or subvert them. Still, after a while an unpleasant sense of déjà vu begins to set in. It illustrates a truth about artistic endeavor : an artist needs to find his or her own distinctive voice, which becomes difficult if one is constantly quoting or repeating the words of others.

This unremitting use of other (and often superior) works is also pretty lazy. Now and then a character will look at some strange scene and go : "Wow ! This is just like X !", "Boys, do you remember what happened in Y ?" or "Watch out, you wouldn't like to end up like Z!" In other words, the person who wrote or created X, Y or Z is supposed to do the heavy lifting. And yes, one can get too much pop culture.

"The magicians" oozes existential ennui, disenchantment and aimlessness - which, strangely, probably wasn't what the makers of the series wanted to showcase. I recognize at least part of it very well - it is rich kid's syndrome, where a child grows up spoiled and pampered and protected. Such children grow up expecting Life to pour them wine, constantly - and not just any old wine, nay, it needs to be rare, delightful, costly, exhilarating wine, from Life's most wondrous cellars. And then the child becomes an adult and discovers - oh horror - that reality has a sad habit of being boring, wayward and complicated, or of offering mixed and mediocre blessings. At university, your teachers actually expect you to study ; your partner falls in love with someone else and leaves you, even though you've got a stunning haircut ; a foreign country crosses your travel plans by refusing a visa because it doesn't like the shape of your ears ; you discover that some random neighbor is far, far more intelligent than you are ; the cop who arrests you for speeding isn't impressed by the fact that your grandfather is a Justice of the Peace in a town 200 miles away ; you lose two toes which strangely, disappointingly, refuse to regenerate. It is all so, so unfair ! Life wasn't meant to be this way - it was supposed to be one hundred percent excitement, pleasure and ease !

I remember a Jesuit, who told his audience : "Do not seek to become rich, as you would get such unpleasant children and such truly awful grandchildren". The various characters getting whiny, nasty, addicted or suicidal in "The Magicians" rather prove his point.
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2/10
Lackluster......
s32761699 February 2016
There's something rather lackluster about The Magicians. This is a twenty something, adult, Harry Potter, with its own varsity version of Hog warts.

Its an interesting idea that fails from the get go. The storyline, characterizations and narrative are a little too cynical and obsessively introverted for the series own good. The result is a supernatural drama that really never engages or connects on an emotional level with the viewer. Instead what you get is a sense of pervading lethargy and jaded disinterest. Think of one of those irritating "sophisticates" who claim to "know" everything, have "done" everything and have a depreciatingly caustic critique "of" everything and you are there.

All in all there's not a lot to recommend The Magicians. Its a nice idea but its so busy being bored with the world and so bleakly self absorbed, there's no reason the viewer should feel otherwise.Two out of ten from me.
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4/10
often cheesy bad over/acting but sometimes great moments/magics/nmore
surfisfun1 March 2018
Low budget, its have sometimes great writing. truly the actors are not that proficient or likable in story. still, its a decent fantasy show at times and they are rare! for that reason, i watch it anyway. thanks.
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Potty Potter !
Dr_Sagan17 December 2015
This is a boring adaptation of a novel of the same name by Lev Grossman. I haven't read Lev Grossman's books, so I can't tell you if The Magicians is faithful to his work or how it deviates from it.

Quentin Coldwater a student from Brooklyn joins Brakebills College for ...Magical Pedagogy. So the basic premise sounds like a U.S. Harry Potter. I know there's a Quidditch equivalent too, but the material is more adult and even has some sex scenes.

I am not sure but I think what I saw was the 2 first episodes joined in a 52 minutes boresome (except the somehow creepy ending which is somehow interesting). For the most part you will find yourself expecting for things to happen, but either they don't or their impact is dull. The ending of the episode(s) though which includes a cliffhanger of some sort may give some hope but I doubt this series will pick up later on.

Overall: As I said I haven't read the books but I'm pretty sure the fans will be disappointed. For the fresh viewers, I don't think that they must invest time in this.
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6/10
Great start but gradually going downhill
roxmewild4 April 2019
I loved the first 2 seasons it was quirky and fun however seasons 3 and 4 have taken a somewhat strange turn and sadly I don't think for the better I have lost all track on the story if one still exists? I can't see the show lasting past another season tbh
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3/10
I'll give it 4 for Jason.
ZinQ7 August 2019
Jason is very cute, but the series bores me silly. I cannot watch without something else to do. Stella Maeve needs subtitles. I just cannot understand half of what she says and her half closed eyes make me sleepy. Eliot, I loathe.
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3/10
Loved it till...
ZinQ7 September 2019
Season 4, or should we say, Season bore? The story, or lack of one is confused and messy. It seems like the clan will never be back, and I don't care now. I think I'm done.
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3/10
Is this for Millenials or Super Dorks?
EvanKevelson23 January 2019
If it's for super dorks this show is so awful it's not in the same universe, as any descent science fiction/fantasy program from the Twilight Zone, to the Startrek series, from Starwars to Lord of the Rings, to Game of Thrones... 1. Acting horrible. 2. For 13 episodes a season even ADD med don't help the constant and radical character changes. 3. It does have good comic relief, and it's so hurrendous that is the only reason to watch. Just as you think it can't get more ridiculous, it does. So if you enjoy "Jackass" you'd enjoy a more sarcastic, wisecracking friend to watch it with.
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4/10
Twisted Harry Potter
fcabanski16 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The book, and thus this series, is a poor man's copy of Harry Potter. The main character even has a pair of best friends, one male and one female, just like Harry Potter has.

"Hey," thought the author, "JK Rowling made a mint with her story about a magic school, so I will too. Only mine will be grittier with older people, and it will be hipper." This is Harry Potter for college graduate students. Lots of reviewers call it "gritty". And hey, someone important dies in the first (the preview) episode. Of course, that person wasn't important. That person never made it into the series proper. So it's just like killing off a one episode character.

But don't worry, it's gritty. And graduate students are hip!
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1/10
Season 1 was good.
Eli_Elvis23 March 2019
Season 1 was good, intriguing characters and mythology. Good antagonist. What the F happened after that? Season 2 transformed into a gay twilight CW show. It's so silly and cringe it's unwatchable. It's as if the only writers left are fan fiction tumblrites with a degree in stupidity.
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10/10
Best looking female cast on TV
confidential-678977 March 2019
Good show, some very funny moments, but I mostly watch it due to the seriously hot female cast. Everyone of them is a 10.
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2/10
Its got the four staples
the_doofy28 July 2017
A good college fan fare has the four staples, 1. Lots of Sex content 2. Lots of booze drinking 3. cigarettes and drugs 4. Not much book studying

I really wanted to be able to enjoy this, but I guess I just want too much, I need to want the four staples in my magic movies and TV shows, then I would love this

I really liked the Dresden files, so of course it got cancelled after one season

I really liked Haven for the first three seasons

This TV series also has violence and drama

The one thing it really does not have is how one goes about learning magic, that just comes w/ the staples
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10/10
One of the few Greatest shows ever
gtenalokes10 February 2019
Season 4 came back with a bang, I was ready to quit after season 3... I'm glad I didn't
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6/10
It lost momentum
rdamian196318 February 2021
I enjoyed the series for the first 2 seasons. I have not read the books; therefore I don't know if the series held true. Acting was decent throughout, however the characters all just became annoying by mid season 3.
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10/10
to you reviewers...
imizrahi20023 September 2021
Who said, ''it gets better later''? Those stars are for you... thank you...i would NEVER have made it past the first few episodes if it wasn''t for that feedback...much appreciated... it, of course, DID get better...even if the lead character is still annoying.

The story started getting more solid...i think it was episode 8...the first one i was mostly entertained and impressed by....but it stayed good thereafter... although, truth be told, i've only seen 10 of the 13 episodes of the first season...but, if it continues to be as good as it is now for the last few episodes, i''m sure to go on to season 2...so, again...thanks to you that gave just enough away for me to pull myself through the first 2/3rds of the season...
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8/10
Can be a hit, especially with less sex...
WatchAndSmile28 December 2015
Well, I really enjoyed the start of this show. I wasn't the biggest fan of Harry P movies nor I ever read the books as I am not into little children running around. This one revolves around young adults, which is much-much more believable and so far the acting and special effects have been awesome. The sense of suspense is thrilling and I hope they can keep this up.

One thing the bothered me slightly is un-needed sex scenes. By cutting it down considerably, they can attract 10x more of younger audience, which will drastically help with the ratings. I bet no parents will allow their 12-14 years old children watch this, yet those are the kids that love Harry P and would be the die hard fans

Overall, a strong 9 so far
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9/10
Harry Potter/Narnia for Adults
fake_moviestar13 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Wow, this show is really something. (Non-specific spoilers ahead). It's like a mixed bag of every magic book and show you have ever read/watched, and it has a little something from everything. The pop-culture references, as well as references to key source material like Harry Potter are very refreshing, and The Magicians finds a way to not take itself too seriously, which somehow makes it even more enjoyable. Potential viewers be warned, this show is not afraid to "go there" - there is some pretty explicit material and scenes, including strong cursing, drinking semen from a jar, and a violent rape scene. I watched the show on Netflix, and while there was a mention of RAINN at the end of the episode, I do feel like there should have been a trigger warning at the beginning. This show also deals with some pretty big issues, such as the aforementioned rape, PTSD, feminism, and abortion, and it handles these issues very well, in my opinion.

That being said - The Magicians really finds itself in season 2: all the characters and the worlds have been thoroughly established, and so the writing really seems to work. It feels like the first season was almost "experimental" in a way, with the characters learning and growing along with the writers, culminating in a very exciting, well-written second season that was much, much better than the first. Awkward sex scenes and a sporadic sprinkling of curse words gradually turns into a raunchy, "no-holds barred" environment that really suits the show. I grew to like every single character, even the minor ones, and the CGI really holds up well. Congrats, SYFY, you have 2 great shows airing, and I may have to officially change my low opinion of a network that has for years produced really terrible television. Perhaps this is truly a new era of Science Fiction TV, and as a huge fan of Scifi, it is an era I will welcome with open arms.
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3/10
Seriously unlikeable characters
yettygutschow8 November 2020
What a great concept. I'm a fan of HP, Narnia, Harry Dresden and Alex Verus. The concept of this show has a mix of all of these worlds. Yet the writers and directors completely lose this great idea in seriously unlikeable characters and super bad writing. The stories themselves are actually quite good. But the characters are just so awful. Foul mouthed, unappreciative and demeaning, everything about them wants me to see them die in a fiery, yet magical death. Don't get me wrong...I love good swearing where it's needed (or funny). But they run around swearing all the time...for no good reason. And tell me why it's okay for a female character to call a man a "c#nt"??? Moronic, amateurish love stories and bad writing really ruin what could be a fascinating adventure. Sprinkle in some jabs at anti-conservatism and hate speech on non-liberals and you get the usual Hollywood bull crap. Add this all up and I'm struggling to finish season 2. What a waste of a great concept. Maybe Hollywood needs to stop their hate-filled protests and actually get down to work and write some decent shows. I leave you with the words of literally every character in this show..."FU B$tches" (best when using a high pitched, condescending voice).
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