The Magicians - TV

SYFY showed the first episode of the new show based on Lev Grossmans the magicians after the Childhoods end. At least from the pilot, it was pretty good. They kept the adult themes from the books. The special effects weren’t bad. It’s been awhile since I read the trilogy but it did feel like they are condensing from all three books at once. Worth a watch when it comes on at the end of January.

Hey, cool. I really enjoyed the first book, and the other two weren’t bad though I think not quite as good. Does SYFY do episode streaming somewhere if you don’t have cable? I don’t have the TV channel.

I don’t know anything about the books or series, other than the wife recorded it. We’ll check it out once we’re done with Childhood’s End.

I read the first book. It was ok but I found the characters, for the most part, were so unlikable that I didnt have any real drive to continue with the series. I will probably grab the others when the price on them drops to an under $5 price point.
That being said, I will watch this as see how they adapt the story to film. It may actually be more entertaining in video format.

I’ll definitely be watching this-- very adult treatment of the harry potter theme.

I didn’t like the pilot at all. I’m a fan of the books but I had no idea what was going on in this show. None of the characters are developed, the pacing is breakneck. The writers pull a lazy, ‘we haven’t had time to establish stakes so lets throw in a rape-threat’ scene.

I didn’t like this at all, and I don’t think it’s book-bias. Curious to hear what people actually liked… It all felt like one big rush to the final scene because they didn’t trust people would be interested at all without a cliffhanger.

We’re three episodes in, and this is pretty good! It’s Harry Potter, if the kids were American 20-somethings and all looked like models. The writing, acting and production values are all reasonably good, and there are the occasional memorable scenes (e.g., the first appearance of The Beast).

I have not read the books, so fidelity to the source material is not relevant to me.

I haven’t read the books either (in fact until about 10 seconds ago I didn’t realize it was based on a series of novels) but my wife and I really enjoyed the first two episodes and will have a few for next weekend, too.

After watching the pilot, my interest was piqued, and I blew through the the books in the last month. I liked them. As noted by others on this forum, they’re a whole lot less “Potter in college” and more “an adult perspective on Narnia”. I have no idea how they’ll adapt this to the screen, as so much of the book is about the psychological state of Quentin, but I’m intrigued enough to find out.

Unfortunately, I don’t have cable, so I’m hoping this shows up on Netflix sometime soon- not as unlikely as it sounds, syfy’s Dark Matter showed up pretty quick!

Blarg - this is cable locked on Hulu.

So damned good, though. Two series that I’m super into back to back from Syfy isn’t something I’d have envisioned 5 years back (I never caught the BSG hype train, so it’s been a long time since SciFi was providing anything that piqued my interest).

The “gorgeous models face emotional relationship drama amidst Fantastical Scenario A” element of it feels unusually CW for the network (and wasn’t a problem I had at all with The Expanse, but honestly, the bulk of them are turning in performances I’m very okay with. A few are a little hammier than needed, but the element of comedy that imbues is needed given how grim everything else seems to be going.

I will say that I’m not in love with the actress for “Jules,” who feels very much like a poor man’s Katie Cassidy (and Katie Cassidy isn’t going to be picking up any Oscar’s anytime soon, either), but then again, since her character arc’s one of (what seems to be) several where the individual continuously makes things worse by being an idiot, it may just be my distaste for her character as much as the acting behind it.

The SFX are way better than I’d expected going in, and the scene-setting and even costuming are surprisingly great, even if it all feels like a a mid-90s drama nerd’s most perfect envisioning of grad school at times (unless the whole goth schtick Jules and Kady seem to be rocking 80% of the time suddenly came back and I missed it–and I’d be sad if I did, having had my own formative adolescent experiences in that era!).

I think I occasionally misread tone (having gone into the series with an extremely cursory knowledge of the source material), so things like the Dean dropping f-bombs and an out-of-nowhere performance of a cheesy modern pop song still take me a little out of my comfort zone. I have no idea how “true to the books” all that is, but I think the story’s all the better for it, helping keeping it from simply being a re-tread of Narnia or HP with slightly older kids. I heard it get a lot of praise when the original book came out, so I assume it’ll continue to set itself apart, play with tropes, and keep me guessing, though :)

The show is better than I expected. I was kind of neutral on the book as there were really no like-able characters to get vested in. The CW feel is not coincidental, that’s pretty much how the book felt as well. Its focused on a group of hedonistic and self serving young adults who haven’t really figured out that they are not immortal yet but are going to and rather quickly. For me that seems to play better on film than in novel form.

Syfy is really starting to get decent again. The Expanse was excellent, the two shows that premiered last summer were decent, although nowhere in the same ball park as The Expanse, production wise. 12 Monkeys was a bit of a surprise, as well. It was a pretty good show. They have more new stuff in the pipeline as well that looks interesting. Not a bad comeback so far, for Syfy.

I like the show but it isn’t very faithful to the books and most of the ways it diverges seem to be to introduce stupid cliched tropes, so it’s not better for it. For example, the whole “is the protagonist really crazy!111!1!!!” plot in episode 4 is purely made up for the show and it’s so tired. They did a couple of funny things with it so I forgive them, more or less, but…jeez. Also, the whole “chosen one” thing they’re doing with Quentin is the show and not the book, and that is also a dull and cliched trope. (Or at least, it’s way less subtle on the show…) But I like Penny and Eliot a lot and while Quentin’s not exactly likeable (in either the book or the show), I enjoy the way the show’s portraying him and the actor’s performance.

I was about to turn it off when Quentin made a comment about these types of dreams being so tedious, so at least it was self aware. Still not my favorite episode from an otherwise great so far series, but I did like how they revealed the root cause of the dreams and the friction that is going to create.

Overall the whole series is much better than I was expecting. SyFy is getting much more of my attention these days than it has… ever.

Which of course means Syfy is dooooooomed.

Is it just me or does it feel like someone read every 5th page of a book and then made TV based on it? I just feel like there is a ton of stuff that is missing. And not like, “Wow, I wonder what the subtext is here? I wonder what’s really going on?” There’s some of that, too, but each scene seems too disconnected from the whole, and each story arc seems a little too underdeveloped. It feels like they are rushing through some stuff to get to the good stuff, but skipping a lot of world and character building to do it.

This may be one of those series that is better for those of us who have not read the source material. I’m enjoying it tremendously.

I have not read the books, it just seems like a lot of good stuff has been cut out.

They have been massively accelerating some stuff but instead of rushing to the good bits they’re inserting weird stalling crap instead. Don’t ask me why.

I’d be cool with losing the whole hedge witch story arc (is it an arc? side story?). But I doubt that’s what they decided to add vis-a-vis stalling crap.

Well, actually…
Okay, so they didn’t completely make it up. Julia’s quest for magic is told in retrospective in the second book, and I don’t remember much about it but I think it’s at least vaguely like it’s being told in the show. But it’s not onscreen at all in the first book and certainly doesn’t interact with Quentin - I think he maybe runs into her once or twice but doesn’t realize what she’s been up to.