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