Warning: This piece contains minor spoilers for The Magicians S1 and early S2.
The Magicians will sneak up on you. At first it might seem like a cheesy CW show about angst and magic at an exclusive east coast college. But suddenly, it gets seriously twisted and frightening. Seemingly adolescent rivalries bleed into murder and erupt into cross-dimensional authoritarian regimes. There’s a nasty, dark sense of humor nipping at the edges of the story. Perhaps most importantly, the characters are multi-layered and their magic has real-world consequences. The Magicians‘ second season premiered last night on Syfy, but you’ve got plenty of time to catch up with the most interesting fantasy series on TV right now.
A book of lies
Based on Lev Grossman’s bestselling series of novels, The Magicians sometimes gets compared to Harry Potter. It’s about young people learning magic in school, and it centers on an unlikely group of friends/frenemies. But that’s pretty much where the comparison should end. The series is creepy and messed up in ways that Harry Potter never is, and it also deals a lot more with the non-magical world. Main character Quentin (Jason Ralph) has been in and out of mental hospitals for depression, and he’s spent far too much time obsessing over a series of Narnia-like fantasy novels about a magical land called Fillory. When he finds out that magic is real and that he’s been accepted to a magical Ivy League school called Breakbills, Quentin basically soils the bed with glee.
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