The Magicians

 (1,481)
7.62016X-RayTV-14
"The Magicians" stars Jason Ralph ("A Most Violent Year," "Aquarius") as Quentin Coldwater, a brilliant grad student who enrolls in Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic.
Starring
Jason RalphStella MaeveOlivia Taylor Dudley
Genres
DramaFantasy
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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  1. 1. Unauthorized Magic
    December 15, 2015
    52min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    "The Magicians" stars Jason Ralph ("A Most Violent Year," "Aquarius") as Quentin Coldwater, a brilliant grad student who enrolls in Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic.
  2. 2. The Source of Magic
    January 24, 2016
    42min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Quentin is distraught as he faces expulsion for his involvement in an otherworldly attack on Brakebills, while Julia delves deeper into underground magic and takes a test to prove herself to the Hedge Witches.
  3. 3. Consequences of Advanced Spellcasting
    January 31, 2016
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Quentin and Julia have an unexpected - and volatile - reunion. Penny is overwhelmed by the power of his own psychic abilities and Alice is determined to find out what happened to her missing brother - at any cost.
  4. 4. The World in the Walls
    February 7, 2016
    42min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Quentin wakes up in a mental hospital and must set his panic aside to seek the help of the one person he least trusts.
  5. 5. Mendings, Major and Minor
    February 14, 2016
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Although everyone should be training for the upcoming Welter's Tournament, the students are each dealing with a personal distraction that keeps them from staying focused.
  6. 6. Impractical Applications
    February 21, 2016
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    The first-year students are put through The Trials, a series of unconventional and emotional tests. Those who pass will experience the journey of a lifetime. Fail, and their time at Brakebills is over.
  7. 7. The Mayakovsky Circumstance
    February 28, 2016
    42min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English, English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    The Brakebills students endure the rigors of Brakebills South and the harsh methods of Professor Mayakovsky. Eliot and Margo's friendship is threatened when Eliot finds a new love interest.
  8. 8. The Strangled Heart
    March 6, 2016
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Brakebills is thrown into chaos when Penny is violently attacked by someone they thought was a friend while Quentin tries to find a connection to The Beast. After entering a rehab facility, Julia considers giving up magic for good.
  9. 9. The Writing Room
    March 13, 2016
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Quentin, Alice, Eliot and Penny travel to England to Plover's estate in search of a missing magic button, but what they find is a hauntingly terrifying vision of the author's true self. Julia, now out of rehab, searches for real meaning in her magic, but it comes at a very high cost.
  10. 10. Homecoming
    March 20, 2016
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Penny travels to the world of The Neitherlands where he soon finds it's not as friendly as he thought. Quentin and Alice must work together, no matter how uncomfortable, to save him.
  11. 11. Remedial Battle Magic
    March 27, 2016
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Quentin and the others learn battle magic as they prepare for a showdown in Fillory. But this challenge leads to building frustrations...pushing some apart and others together.
  12. 12. Thirty-Nine Graves
    April 3, 2016
    43min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    After a night of drinking, the students wake up to foggy memories and a healthy dose of regret. But Penny is quick to remind them all that there۪s no time for talking out feelings -- their very lives depend on getting to The Neitherlands as soon as possible.
  13. 13. Have You Brought Me Little Cakes?
    April 10, 2016
    49min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Using time magic, Quentin and Julia have arrived in Fillory and now must try to catch up with the rest who are more than 70 years ahead of them, searching for The Beast.

More details

Directors
Chris FisherJames L. ConwayJohn ScottJoshua ButlerShannon KohliMeera MenonScott SmithCarol BankerGuy Norman BeeRebecca Johnson
Supporting actors
Sosie BaconArjun GuptaHale ApplemanSummer BishilTembi Locke
Season year
2016
Network
Syfy
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

1481 global ratings

  1. 80% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 7% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Steven KortusReviewed in the United States on September 13, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the best shows ever created
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From pilot to end this show was truly magick! Some of the best overall acting by the entire cast, every character owned their roles and along with entire production delivered an incredible, fun, moving emotional, expressionistic piece of art, at its finest!
Frosty Cold OneReviewed in the United States on January 12, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Harry Pott, er, uh, Hotter
Verified purchase
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 [1] it tells me the showrunner is assuming we have the intelligence to keep up, and [2] 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]]?
29 people found this helpful
Reasonable ReviewerReviewed in the United States on September 19, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Harry Potter-esque story set in the United States
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This series taps into the Harry Potter, magicians versus mundanes, genre.

This story takes place in the United States. There is a group of magically talented folks that are selected, attend, and culled at a magical graduate school in a warded location in upstate New York. The star of the show is Quentin Coldwater (played by Jason Ralph - you will probably recognize him from roles in a dozen TV series bit roles). He is a nerdy, magic adept that has somehow been targeted by "the Beast," the villain for the series.

Quentin has a friend that happens to be a girl, but not a "girlfriend," who has lesser talents in magic, but has managed to discover some spells that "really work."

*beware spoilers follow*

Very few people in the series are either wholly evil or wholly good. Early on in the series, one of Quentin's best friends tells him that he killed someone using his magical powers, and that most folks at the school have dark secrets.

Also, the Dean of the school says in Quentin's entrance interview that the only purpose of the school is to develop talents. What you do with them is up to you up to and including world domination.

So, there is not a set of acceptable rules or a group that polices what the magically inclined do.

There are a number of clearly evil characters, and they demonstrate that evilness in the series on a regular basis.

Quentin's friend who is a girl ends up finding a group of hedge witches who practice magic without any of the training or discipline that he and his colleagues experience.

All in all, if you enjoyed Harry Potter then you are likely to enjoy this series set in the USA.

If you never quite "got" Harry Potter then you are not likely to enjoy "the MAgicians."
5 people found this helpful
Byline: AnonymousReviewed in the United States on September 7, 2016
1.0 out of 5 stars
A Pointless Exercise That is an Awful Hot Mess
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My review is not based upon the written book(s) since I haven't read them. But I think the author(s) didn't do themselves any favors by selling the rights to film their works if this is going to be people's introduction to their themes and characters. To put it simply this is an awful hot mess. Frankly I would give it no stars if I could, no I take that back. There was one decent episode and that was it. This production is so bad that if the book(s) fell into my lap free of charge I wouldn't read them. Yeah the show is that bad.

It didn't start off that bad, they rarely do. But how can you put into words something that is so awful that it leaves you speechless. I'll admit when I started to watch this show my hopes weren't that high - this is after all a production from the SYFY channel. And they did pull some of the same tried and true tricks that are used by several other networks. Such as, a show about either teenagers or young adults that are played by 30 year olds playing teenagers, etc. That was to be expected, so no surprises there. Said shows rarely having an "adult" character appear in every episode, let alone have any lines of any significance. Or a show that's supposed to be about magic, fantasy, etc. which barely has any FX in each episode to cut costs. Well check and check. Again no surprises there.

To put it simply, there's no decent scripts, bad direction is given and actors who cannot act. There was a good idea, which I assume came from the book(s), about a beast that seemed to be hunting the magicians. You start to see that the potential that it might have started with is quickly lost because there is no real world building. Just to give you a small sample of what is just so wrong with this show. The actor that plays the lead character is cute enough, although he's a little too old to be walking around with his hair constantly in his eyes. He walks around depressed because he fell deep into the world of some fantasy novels which was written for children. His one and apparently only friend who was into reading the books with him has outgrown them and has gotten a boyfriend. Naturally, this means that he has a crush on her. So do you think he can let go of the depression once he realizes that magic is real and that he can actually practice it? Why no. Now he has to be depressed that he cannot visit this fantasy world. And the world of these books are mentioned numerous times.

As for the rest of the actors. Well the pretty people start to pair up of course. And because they're twenty something's they naturally need to switch partners and have drama about switching partners. Not only can these people not act but they actually have no chemistry with each other as a couple. Other issues with this show are that Items are stolen off of the campus for who knows how long and it's not noticed. Wards are supposedly all around the college and yet people who are not students or facility can seem to come and go at will. Students conduct magic on the grounds that gets people killed and maimed and they're not expelled. The so called magic looks lame and is done with a million hand gestures. If you can recall Madonna's music video on Vogue, that's what it reminds me of.

One of the character's was maimed during an assault. The makeup done around their eyes looks horrific and no not in a good way. The same actor's hands get damaged and they add these stupid looking gloves with wires on them. It's as if every, or almost every person, hired on this show was the worst possible person they could have hired to do the job. I have seen plenty of bad productions before. But it's pretty rare for me to see behind the scenes work that turned up this badly. I've already spoken about the bad prosthetics done for the eye makeup. The bad production value that was the gloves. Do they even have a hair dresser as an example? Except for one overly elaborate french twist and braids thrown into one actors hair nothing much was done in that department. The same applies to the regular makeup artist nothing special there either. They also were not especially creative with their travel to another world either. And for kids supposedly going to college you don't see much of their so called classes or other students for that matter.

So in short, there was a germ of an idea which was probably pitched to the network which got the show on the air. I suspect that since the producers and/or the network wished to keep costs down with the "magic" they've thrown in this so called drama of the bed hoping. Just be aware they chose the wrong path to go down, especially considering they don't appear to have good writers, actors or directors, so going down a path which consists of infidelity, rape and murder seems pretty foolhardy. So you have bad actors who have no character development, no actual script, and directors who have no where to go. What you end up with is a hot mess that goes absolutely no where. So if you have no real destination in mind and you can't enjoy the journey what is the point?
9 people found this helpful
gamerReviewed in the United States on January 17, 2016
3.0 out of 5 stars
Oh man did this look promising!
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In the beginning of the episode we see a guy sitting by himself at a party and he clearly doesn't fit in. In the background, they're playing Mgmt's Time to Pretend and he's watching a girl dance and she's wearing a shirt with a unicorn on it. The whole scene reminded me of Neo in The Matrix with Rob Zombie's Dragula blaring where he sees a chick with a white rabbit tattoo before he starts his descent down the rabbit whole. Oh man was I feeling it!!

But then it started getting very derivative.. spoilers..

So here's the plot. The main character is a good looking guy in his early twenties and he's kind of an odd duck. He's applying to Yale Grad school for philosophy and he's a bit too obsessed with a book series that's apparently made for children. I really like the guy a lot; but the other aspects of the show.. not so much.

The Magicians is too modeled after Harry Potter. The idea of Harry Potter works well for kids, but not so much for supposedly serious people in their twenties. His classmates are supposed to be misfits/outsiders and they show how they don't fit in by peacocking. And when people are good looking and they're peacocking they come off like night club douchebags to me. I think The Magicians needs to tone it down a bit..

And likewise with the actual magic.. Because Harry Potter is for kids, it's alright to have magic that's really sensational. But for a series with people who are supposedly more wordly, magic should be a more subtle thing. I think it should have been treated like psychic ability in legitimate sci fi in that it's precious and rare. I started out really psyched because The Magicians seemed more serious- like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but without stuffy Englishmen. It seems to be fast becoming yet another Librarians or superhero series. As if the world needs more of that.
5 people found this helpful
Emily RKReviewed in the United States on January 12, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Brilliant Book Adapted
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Fantasy writers tend to sacrifice quality of writing for world building, but that is not the case with The Magicians. Lev Grossman wrote this trilogy, and it's as close to Pulitzer quality fantasy writing as I've ever read. Don't think fantasy first. Think hollow post-adolescent yearning. So, obviously I'm a fan. The show has big shoes to fill for me. I'm not usually a Syfy originals fan. The dialogue is usually trash. So, I was nervous here. I don't think I've ever seen a Syfy show so well done, though. Jason Ralph nailed the leading role. He is just the right mixture of self deprecating train wreck and arrogant intellectual. The dialogue is subtle and real - the best of the books. This first episode does move quickly. I am guessing it is much easier to follow having read the story, but I'm already hooked. The book is enormous and the distance traveled from one cover to the other is pretty insane, so I understand why a bit of cramming was necessary. Even if fantasy isn't usually your thing the show is a good choice. The characters remind me of a bunch of artists squatting in Paris in 1880, drinking absinthe and congratulating themselves on being fabulous. Imagine that inserted into a fantasy novel and you have the basis for this show. And then imagine life smacking them right in the face. I can't wait to see how this unfolds on screen
116 people found this helpful
BernieReviewed in the United States on May 20, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Top-notch
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I don't have much to say about this show, except that it exceeded all my expectations and left me wanting more. I just finished the final episode of season one, and I wish I could stay up all night watching season two and then continuing onto season three ... but those haven't been made yet. If you're expecting Harry Potter or Narnia, well, you'll find some of that here. But it's viewed through much darker lenses. Infinitely darker. I love that about it. Others may find it way too intense. There are a lot of sex scenes, which don't necessarily do much for me, but there's no denying the blonde with the glasses is hot. The real beauty of the show has nothing to do with the actors' good looks, though. It's the intricacy of the narrative and the sumptuous world-building. It's the blackness at the heart of the show. I confess that I figured out one of the big mysteries about four episodes before the reveal, but it was satisfying to learn I was correct, unlike "The Sixth Sense" and movies like those that rely on a gotcha gimmick. Anyway, I just bought the first book in the series so I can stay on this binge-watching high. Can't recommend this enough for intelligent adults, but I wouldn't let kids watch it.
3 people found this helpful
dbReviewed in the United States on March 29, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Not for Children, But for Children of All Ages
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I am surprised at how much I am enjoying this show. I bought the books at the same time I subscribed to Season One, and the investment has helped make senses of what happens in the abbreviated weekly presentations. I suggest you at least read the first novel before you get too far, it really helps. For example (spoiler alert) when classmates are turned into geese, I don't think I would have even realized what had happened if I had not had the novel to lean on. All of that said, it is the character development that is the primary enjoyment I find in watching the show, especially Penny, who is cast much better that he is drawn in the novels. Another caution, however, this is definitely a series "based on" the books, and events neither unfold, nor conclude as they do in the novel(s). Events, also, happen fast, and the sound quality is not always good, so I have found myself backtracking to find out what happened or what was said. For the first time in my video watching career, I have not objected to rewatching, or backtracking, I think this is a result of the underlying ricjness of the material. I hope you enjoy this as I have.
56 people found this helpful
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