Last year around this time, SyFy brought us an underrated gem of a television show, The Magicians.
Based on the series of books by Lev Grossman and brought to life by Sera Gamble (Supernatural) and John McNamara (Jericho, In Plain Sight), the show focuses on Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph), an outsider who is suddenly enrolled as a graduate student at Breakbills College for Magic.
Even better, he soon finds out that his favorite childhood story, which he lives and breathes as the ultimate fanboy escapism, is actually real. And very dangerous.
The first season consisted of 13 episodes and introduced us to all of our new favorite magicians. There’s the traveler, Penny, who’s a bit of a dick, but wondrously so. Quentin’s sort-of girlfriend Alice, who’s a bit of a nerd, but is easily the best in her class.
And who can forget our favorite BFFs Eliot and Margo, who rule the roost as upperclassmen but have some really, really big issues (with each other and the world). Rounding out the main cast is Julia, who is Quentin’s best friend in the real world who doesn’t get into Breakbills…but doesn’t let that stop her from learning magic.
The show mixes the overt sexual nature of college, with all the familiar drinking, drug use, and other overused tropes found in series such as these…BUT uses them to actually drive plot points and build character development.
There are real themes of rape, religion/faith, child abuse, fantasy versus reality, and an overall feeling of wanting to belong mixed with relatively clever writing and quality acting. In other words, it isn’t your garden-variety fantasy show.
Which means it’s really damn good.
Season 2 premieres January 25, but if you’re like me and cut the cord, that wait for it to hit streaming can be very, very long. In the meantime, here are some shows you may have forgotten about to get you through your The Magicians drought.