4 September 2018
5 reasons you should be watching The Magicians
If you’re late to what The Verge describes as “one of the most consistently entertaining shows on TV,” The Magicians is about Quentin Coldwater, a 20-something secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child about a magical land called Fillory. When he’s admitted to a secret, exclusive college of magic in New York – and then discovers that Fillory is real – it’s all like a dream come true, but magic doesn’t bring the happiness and meaning that he thought it would.
Here are five reasons you should be watching The Magicians, which has been nominated as Best Fantasy Series by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Movies for three years in a row.
1. It’s like Harry Potter meets Narnia for adults
The Verge described the TV series as “Harry Potter meets The Chronicles of Narnia meets the cold, harsh realities of real life.” The Magicians is based on the award-winning trilogy of New York Times bestselling fantasy novels by former Time magazine technology writer and book critic Lev Grossman. The first series felt like Grossman had asked what would happen if Harry Potter had only discovered magic was real as an adult, and if Hogwarts was a university full of twenty-somethings who liked booze and sex. Season two feels like he asked what would happen if Narnia really had been ruled by immature humans (clue: it turns out about as well as you’d expect).
2. It’s “the most sexually aware show on TV”
io9 praised The Magicians for “becoming the most sexually aware show on TV” with its “smart, thoughtful and progressive portrayal of sex” in its myriad forms. “There’s no judgment on The Magicians… everything is permitted. Quentin and Eliot have openly explored their bisexuality (from opposing sexual preferences), Margo is straightforward and unapologetic about her desires, and Alice and Quentin took refreshingly open steps to help her orgasm. Group sex and orgies are a repeat occurrence, along with sessions of casual sex… Might be one of the most forward-thinking shows on television right now, because it’s exploring a great many aspects of consenting adult relationships in a remarkably honest — and mature — way.” No one ever said that about Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia…
3. It’s fantasy for fantasy lovers
AVClub hailed The Magicians as “a fantasy show for people who love fantasy shows.” Not just for the way the show’s storylines seem to talk back to the fantasy canon of Potter and Narnia, but also for the pop culture references that pepper the dialogue. In a key scene in season three, when King Eliot needs to tell Queen Margo she’s being watched, they have an entire conversation in pop culture, referencing everything from Battlestar Galactica to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter to Game of Thrones.
4. Critics love it
The Magicians has a 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes – 11% higher than The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and 20% better than Prince Caspian. As Salon says, The Magicians is “probably the most entrancing fantasy available on television right now.” Or as Collider wrote, “The Magicians has fully grown into one of the most entertaining and engaging shows on TV by carving out its own identity… Darkly hilarious, emotionally complex, wildly fantastical, and a little funky—there’s nothing else like it, and that’s precisely what makes it such a joy to watch.”
5. It keeps getting better
Season 3 started just after the removal of magic from the world, putting Brakebills, their university of magic, on the brink of closure. As Quentin and his friends set out on an epic quest to find seven keys that will restore magic, they’d never been so vulnerable. Season 4 picks up where Season 3 left off, with magic having been restored to the world, but at a terrible price to our heroes as their memories have been wiped out. And their skills have never been more needed, with a demon on the loose.
Season 4 is still so new that it doesn’t have a critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes yet, but Season 3 has a rare 100% rating, and, as Vox wrote, the “third season [was] as big a step up over its second season as the second season already was over the first.”
The series has been SyFy’s top performing scripted original for adults 18-49 for the past three years, and so there is no doubt that Season 4, which is now streaming on Showmax, will live up to the hype of previous seasons. New episodes land only on Showmax every Friday.