When trying to describe a show like “The Magicians,” it can easily be called an “adult” version of “Harry Potter” with a splash of “The Chronicles of Narnia.” While the comparison isn’t wrong, “The Magicians” is so much more than a grown-up version of childhood stories.
Based on the series of books by Lev Grossman, “The Magicians” follows a group of young adults who attend, a college of sorts for magic. Brakebills Academy can sometimes feel a bit like Hogwarts, with students doing magic everywhere one looks. But with wild parties and lots of romance from across the spectrum, the students at Brakebills are nothing like Harry Potter and his friends.
When Quentin Coldwater and his best friend, Julia Wicker, are invited to take a test for entrance to the school, both of their lives are set on new paths. Quentin passes the test, and is accepted into the academy, where he becomes something of a legend for his skills with magic.
Julia, on the other hand, fails the test and goes back to her everyday life, but keeps searching for a way to practice magic, with or without the school. As he learns more about magic, Quentin discovers that Fillory, a world from his favorite books as a child, is real, and ends up going there with his new friends from the school.
The show, soon to begin airing its fourth season, has been nothing short of a roller coaster. Bringing in supernatural creatures like fairies seems like it would make the show childish and fairytale-like, but the show never loses its grounding, even when bringing literal gods to life as Quentin searches for a way to keep his world safe.
The show is gritty, and while it sometimes borders on the ridiculous, “The Magicians’ isn’t afraid to make fun of itself as characters quip about how utterly ridiculous their lives have turned out to be, and old fantasy tropes are turned on their heads.
The series has one serious flaw that may turn some viewers away. That flaw is the plot. Zooming from one world to the next, creating alternate timelines and finding impossible loopholes means that the story can become confusing. Blink and you might miss a crucial plot point that completely alters the story. In other words, if you are a casual viewer who likes to play on their phone or do homework while watching TV, this show may not be the one for you.
Despite how strange “The Magicians” seems when compared to other popular fantasy titles, it is a series that is worth the watch, it puts a fun, more grown-up spin on the types of stories that we grew up reading.