Magic hour

Visit Syfy’s school of witchcraft and wiz­ardry in The Ma­gi­cians

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red alert -

Lev Gross­man’s fan­tasy se­ries The Ma­gi­cians heads to Syfy.

An older skew­ing mash-up of the worlds of Harry Pot­ter and Nar­nia, Syfy’s adap­ta­tion of Lev Gross­man’s The Ma­gi­cians re­volves around the mag­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion of Quentin Cold­wa­ter (Ja­son Ralph) at Brake­bills Col­lege. A grad stu­dent who has al­ways felt like an out­sider, Cold­wa­ter is wooed to the se­cret school and dis­cov­ers he has in­her­ent mag­i­cal abil­i­ties.

Ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers John McNa­mara (Trumbo) and Sera Gam­ble (Su­per­nat­u­ral) tell Red Alert they both loved the books for their “smart and amaz­ing char­ac­ter work”. Gam­ble in par­tic­u­lar ad­mired that they were writ­ten “from a know­ing place by some­one who owns be­ing a fan of genre. It feels like the fan­tasy story where the main char­ac­ter is the guy who shows up in cos­tume at Comic-Con and that was very ap­peal­ing to me.”

For their adap­ta­tion, the char­ac­ters have been aged up be­cause Gam­ble ex­plains, “We knew we were go­ing to take them on a long jour­ney of more than a decade and that’s much eas­ier done with ac­tors in their early twen­ties. Also, the kind of com­ing of age sto­ries we were ea­ger to tell are adult and dark in their na­ture. Once we moved our char­ac­ters into graduate school that opened things up be­cause the course of study isn’t reg­i­mented to the same ex­tent as un­der­grad­u­ate sto­ries, so we had more free­dom to tell the spe­cific in­ci­dents at Brake­bills in the or­der we wanted to.”

Gam­ble says the first sea­son of the se­ries will fol­low Gross­man’s first book but also fea­ture Brake­bills stu­dent, Ju­lia Wicker (Stella Maeve) and an­other ma­jor char­ac­ter from book two, The Ma­gi­cian King. “We took Ju­lia’s story into [sea­son] one so we could see her story and Quentin’s story play out si­mul­ta­ne­ously and bounce off one an­other.”

Sea­son one will con­sist of 10 episodes which Gam­ble says, “Will go much more deeply into the sto­ries of the other char­ac­ters. The book is deeply fo­cused on Quentin’s jour­ney, but we get to take th­ese char­ac­ters apart and fig­ure out what makes them tick. It be­comes more of an ensem­ble and you get to care about all of the char­ac­ters.”

And the show won’t shy away from its fan­tas­ti­cal heart, which Gam­ble says is what makes this se­ries spe­cial. “One thing that’s fun to me is the el­e­ment of pure fan­tasy just for the love of it, which is a fun ar­ray

of colours to play with.”

The Ma­gi­cians airs on Syfy US from 25 Jan.

With a name like Quentin Cold­wa­ter it was un­likely he’d end up a truck driver.

She has a big old book of magic, and she’s not afraid to use it.

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