The Magicians

The Magicians

TV-14

netflix

A charmingly tongue-in-cheek fantasy drama that steadily builds endearing characters

7.2

TV Show

Canada, United Kingdom
English
Action & Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
2015
Arjun Gupta, Hale Appleman, Jade Tailor
45 min

TLDR

If this won't make you like musical episodes, nothing will.

What it's about

A graduate student who begins to study the use of magic discovers that the fantasy books he enjoyed as a child are based on real magic that threatens our world.

The take

Despite a particularly rocky and self-serious freshman season (not to mention a less-than-optimal finale), The Magicians overcame the budget constraints typical of a series on Syfy and found a heart and a sense of humor that only grew across its five seasons. So even if its story can get convoluted and its adventures a little corny, it anchors itself on a core cast of likable characters whom the show isn't afraid to separate, hurt, or throw into impossible situations. And once you get used to its tone, its themes become easier to appreciate—of magic being a finite resource that ultimately hurts more people than it helps.

What stands out

As The Magicians started growing into its skin, it gradually became more and more unafraid of being silly and playing around with different storytelling gimmicks in genuinely inspired ways. For example: the musical episode has become a sort of staple of mid-budget American TV shows, and they tend to vary wildly in quality, from the irritating to the surprisingly touching. And The Magicians' multiple musical episodes radiate pure, cheesy joy and pick exactly the right songs—and they manage to find sensible reasons to have characters burst into song, in ways that are still generally consistent with the lore.

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