Despite fantasy seeing a resurgence after Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings blockbusters and the Harry Potter phenomenon, there are still somehow too few shows in television that explore the wonder and charm of magic. SyFy’s The Magician seeks to remedy that, premiering January 25th on the SyFy network at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard time.
The series is based on a trilogy of New York Times best-selling books, which chronicle the adventures of fresh high school graduates who discover that their career path does not have to involve a typical university. Instead, the protagonist Quentin and his friends stumble upon Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a fully-realized magic institute of higher learning. SyFy adapts the series to make the characters college post-grads, but preserves the exciting nature and harrowing plot turns that made the novels so popular.
Tune in to see magic come alive on the small screen. You can even catch a special early airing of the pilot by following the YouTube link after the jump.
Based on the Hit Novel Series by Lev Grossman
The Magicians began as a book series published by American author and journalist Lev Grossman. The first book in the series, The Magicians, was released in 2009 to wide acclaim. It follows the story of modern-day recent high school grad Quentin Coldwater who becomes somewhat of an outcast for his obsession with a fictional book series detailing the magical land of Fillory. Quentin’s unusual focus on magic along with some hidden talents cause him to attract the attention of the Brakesbills College admissions staff, who manage to recruit Coldwater through subtle means. Coldwater begins attending Brakebills in upstate New York, meeting new similar-minded friends and unlocking the hidden depths of the mysterious art of sorcery.
The first novel became an instant hit, winning author Lev Grossman the 2010 Alex Award for adult-oriented books that open young adult readers to new literary possibilities. Grossman was also given the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2011. The Onion A.V. Club and the New York Times both gave the novel favorable reviews, praising it for its dark, mature handling of a subject matter traditionally treated as juvenile.
The Magicians was followed by two sequels: The Magician King was published in 2011 and The Magician’s Land in 2014.
The Award-Winning Books Come to Life
Back in 2011, Fox optioned a television adaptation of The Magicians into a prime time series. Conceptual work and some draft scripts were created, but Fox declined to order a pilot. SyFy picked up the reigns in 2014 after the book series gained more popularity, greenlighting the production of a pilot episode. Impressed by the quality of the in-development pilot, SyFy went ahead and ordered a 12-episode season, due for premiere in January 2016.
Now, The Magicians finally has a chance to get the wider audience it deserves. The mature themes and art direction of the series are bound to resonate with a prime time cable audience hungry for thrills and intrigue. And while the skills the Brakebills students display are fictionalized, having sorcery and magic represented on television is always an exciting time for magicians.