Author Lev Grossman’s trilogy of The Magicians books is one of the most compelling, satisfying, and engrossing reads I’ve had in quite some time. Crudely described as “Harry Potter for adults”, the novels revolve around a precocious, introverted young man named Quentin. On the cusp of entering college, he finds himself admitted to a secretive and exclusive college of magic in New York. His time at the school is not unlike that at most normal colleges—new friendships, burgeoning romantic relationships, debauchery—but he still finds himself yearning for adventure and happiness when he stumbles upon a secret that promises something much bigger, darker, and more dangerous.
The trilogy touches on subjects like depression, maturity, and relationships with a depth and complexity that one may not expect to find in a book about a secret world of magic, and so I was thrilled to learn that a TV series adaptation was in the works. To be more precise, a TV adaptation has been in the works for a while, with a pilot at Fox never getting out of the development stage a few years ago. However, Syfy shot a pilot and picked the show up to series, and now the first trailer is online thanks to Buzzfeed.
The pilot was directed by Mike Cahill (Another Earth, I Origins) and, as you can see, there are a few changes from the books. Most notably, the characters have been aged up, with Brakebills acting as grad school instead of college. Additionally, Janet’s name has been changed to Margo.
As a massive fan of the books this isn’t necessarily what I was expecting, but I kind of dig it. It’s not hiding from the darkness or maturity of Grossman’s storytelling, and I like that it presents magic as much more dangerous than it’s handled in a lot of other fantasy stories. Syfy isn’t exactly a network known for its prestigious or critically acclaimed dramas, but my hopes are high for The Magicians.
The 12-episode first season premieres in 2016. Written and executive produced by Sera Gamble and John McNamara, the show stars Jason Ralph (Quentin), Stella Maeve (Julia), Arjun Gupta (Penny), Hale Appleman (Eliot), Summer Bishil (Margo), and Sosie Bacon (Alice).