SYFY Channel’s New Hit Series “The Magicians” – A PopCultHQ Review

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I AM LOVING THE MAGICIANS!!! It’s just like Harry Potter without the pesky kids, owls and fantasy magical worlds with make-believe characters. The Magicians is like Hogwarts meets the true-life college kids of today with real-world issues. What if magic was a drug of sorts, maybe a popularity contest of who’s more powerful and skilled than you are. Can real magicians that possess these gifted ‘powers’ still have to deal with social levels or even ‘cliques’ that college kids deal with? What happens when dark forces that don’t like these so-called ‘students’ of the ‘arts’ and want to destroy them? Students who study in a school so secret and so exclusive that many who might have these ‘gifts’ can’t even get in without passing strict requirements and testing.

That is what we get so far with The Magicians, the new hit show on SYFY network based on the novels of the same name by Lev Grossman. We first meet lonely, reclusive, socially awkward Quentin Coldwater (played by Jason Ralph). Like most lonely, reclusive, socially inept kids, he hasn’t yet found himself or his real purpose in life. He really loves magic tricks but that’s not helping him get out of his shell or meet girls. That’s when his best friend and roommate’s girlfriend Julia (Stella Maevehelp poor Quentin find his way.

The way is shown to both of them as they pass through into a new world (just like they would in Narnia – The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe), into a wondrous new world. The grown-up young adults who have found to be capable of doing ‘real magic’ strangely arrive in the school named Brakebills University, a secret institution specializing in magic. Quentin gets to stay since he passes his tests but his friend Julia, who is the more stable one, begins to unravel as she becomes obsessed with getting back to that secret school of magic, even if they think she’s not good enough.

What I love, of course, is the adult theme and concept of a magic school for students. There is sex between students that ends up with floating acrobatics. There is the dealing of magic as a drug for those not ‘gifted’ enough to make it to the school. While Quentin, the shy one, is now becoming more of a butterfly, his best friend Julia is becoming the one lost in a shell of herself. Magic is NOT for kids, as they show in one of the tests to gain admittance to an underground magic school, is to survive being trapped in a frozen meat locker with a zombie corpse. Or that the evil magic wanting to get into the school is so vile and sinister that after killing a teacher in front of fully aware frozen-in-time students, it also plucks the eye balls out of the Dean of schools and makes a smiley face out them with blood. Wizard, that is awesome!


Yes, this is why I’m loving The Magicians. It’s trying to be as real as ‘real magic’ in our world can be. But it’s also not doing it wearing any kids gloves, as we see with some really fantastic original concepts at ‘Magicians’. Decent acting from most of the cast but stellar acting from Stella Maeve is bringing this series to another level. Julia’s character, and the evil darkside of magic, is what keeps me watching every week now. Even if there can be a bit of predictability to the episodes so far (3), there have been some very creepy moments that make it all worth it.

PopCultHQ 4.5 out of 5 stars
*** PopCultHQ 4.5 out of 5 stars ***

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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