Say what you will about the Syfy network as a whole, but lately it feels to me like more hits than misses in the realm of the far out. I was expecting to be unpleasantly unsurprised, but that wasn't what happened. At first it seemed a more mature version of Harry Potter (is Jason Ralph supposed to be Daniel Radcliffe?) but really, don't listen to me about that because I haven't seen a HP movie since 2002 (Chamber of... Crickets?) Oh, I see another reviewer states The Magicians is based on a book series... I can't comment on that, but I can tell you about these aspects of Syfy's production:
💀 Plot 💀
As yet another reviewer stated, a ton of material is condensed into the pilot; to me this is a strength, because  it tells me the showrunner is assuming we have the intelligence to keep up, and  a brisk pace prevents your mind from drifting to topics such as tomorrow's chores and errands. They throw us in the deep end, and I'd be willing to wager it'll be a while before we can come up for air. Oh, the plot, yeah: a secret wizard school, a shady society / alternative to said school, strange runes, strange bedfellows, and someone / something known as The Beast who will remove your eyeballs for you (free of charge!)
🍯 Actors 🍯
Fully 90% of the students are ridiculously easy on the eyes, which in turn makes The Magicians easier to watch; probably because they can act, these cosmetically pure actors don't turn The Magicians into [[ASIN:B00EC9UHWG Beverly Hills, 90210]] like the models (actors, if we're to be charitable) on MTV's [[ASIN:B018D0O4O6 Shannara]] do.
The Magicians cast all look familiar, yet most of 'em you can't tell where you've seen 'em. Charles Mesure (as The Beast) you'd recognize, if only he would stop being CGI'd for a second. Tembi Locke is from [[ASIN:B007USE5CE Eureka]], and Arjun Gupta from [[ASIN:B014DEGR6E Nurse Jackie]]. Olivia Taylor Dudley (the generic bookish hot girl archetype) has won me over as Alice, as well as Stella Maeve (the nongeneric likable hot girl archetype) as Julia, pal to the protagonist Quentin Coldwater.
🌀 Effects 🌀
The illusions are sufficiently realistic to suspend your disbelief. Kudos to the effects team who did well on a likely small budget. Although those two students who have sex without gravity: Didn't we see this just a minute ago on Syfy in [[ASIN:B018BZ3UWU The Expanse]]?