Syfy has renewed the, well, sci-fi TV series The Magicians for a second season. The highly anticipated drama is based on the brilliant trilogy of novels by author Lev Grossman, which revolve around a young man named Quentin Coldwater who discovers his potential to become a magician when he becomes enrolled in the secret magical school of Brakebills University. Mature themes of depression, identity, and addiction are explored within Grossman’s novels, making this much more than a simple “grown up Harry Potter”, which gave Syfy the opportunity to traffic in a series that’s both conceptually and intellectually engaging.
As a massive fan of Grossman’s books I came into the series eager but skeptical, and indeed came away somewhat disappointed with the show’s first episode. Not to be “one of those people,” but the key character of Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley)—a girl with whom Quentin strikes up a complicated relationship at school—has been seemingly “dolled up” for the show, taking away some of the character’s unique quality in terms of a female protagonist. Regardless, the series is visually engaging and, while the story inevitably had to be altered and recontextualized for the television medium, star Jason Ralph makes for a solid Quentin.
I plan on continuing to watch the show just because, well, I love the books so damn much, but I am curious to see what direction Syfy and the series’ producers take the story in the second season. Grossman’s trilogy is one of the most satisfying I’ve ever read, as the structure and tone shifts significantly from book to book, with each novel feeling simultaneously like part of a whole and like an entirely different kind of story, despite maintaining many of the same characters throughout. The second book’s central conceit also poses some serious budgetary challenges should the series delve into that part of the story in the next season, so I’m curious to see how that shakes out as well.
Ralph and Dudley are set to reprise their roles in Season 2 alongside Hale Appleman as Eliot, Arjun Gupta as Penny, and Summer Bishil as Margo, with Rick Worthy’s Dean Fogg and Jade Tailor’s Kady also returning as regulars. The second season is expected to air sometime in 2017.
I’m curious to hear from you, readers. How are you enjoying the show thus far? Any of you also fans of Grossman’s source material? What do you think of the changes? Sound off in the comments below, but please be courteous and keep things spoiler free.
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