A secret university to train magicians? Check. A fantasy world full of enchanted creatures? Check. An occasional breakout of song and dance? Triple check.
Syfy’s The Magicians has been the little engine that could. When it started in 2015, I don’t think anyone really knew what it would become. Four seasons and three musical episodes later, it is hands down one of the best television series on the air.
The Magicians is a show about, well, magicians. And, yes, there are a bunch of shows out there that deal with supernatural elements so it can be hard to imagine what makes this show stand out. But what makes this show one of the greats is its authentic take on the realities of life – despite all the magic.
On Wednesday, April 17th, The Magicians will wrap what has been an incredible fourth season. It’s typically at this point in a series run that most shows tend to lose their steam, but not this show. In fact, each season continues to be better than the last – making me even more excited for what’s to come in season five.
Being An Adult Is Hard
Not too many shows attempt to tackle the reality of being fresh out of college with no real idea about what to do next. The Magicians takes a stab at it without shying away from the many difficulties that come with entering adulthood.
Take for instance the series lead, Quinten Coldwater. When we first meet Quinten, he is battling depression and is longing to escape to his childhood obsession: the fictional world of Fillory. His best friend, Julia Wicker, meanwhile is flourishing in her post-grad life.
Suddenly the gates of magic open for the both of them with the chance to study at the elusive Brakebills University. Essentially Hogwarts for graduate students, Brakebills University makes or breaks whether someone has the potential to become a great magician.
Upon taking an entrance exam, Quinten passes while Julia fails. One is given the ability to learn about the world of magic, the other is stuck with the knowledge it exists, but the inability to learn.
Despite being on diverging paths, they both fight the daunting possibility of losing the ability to perform magic. Quinten dives headfirst into his studies. Julia, meanwhile, joins forces with an underground organization of witches in an effort to cling on the magic that was so harshly taken from her.
Along the way, they both meet an array of characters that only add to the story. The ever-sassy BFFs, Eliot and Margo, are two of the most interesting characters the show has introduced us to. Margo, specifically, has transformed from this snappy supporting character to one of the fiercest women on television.
One of the greatest joys of watching this show is seeing the way each character deals with going through the highs and lows of life.
Julia undouble has had the toughest journey than any of the other characters combined. She not only got shut out from the magical world, but is also sexually assaulted at the end of season one. And in an unexpected and painful twist, Julia is given the opportunity to become a goddess as a result of her sexual assault.
This arc has become one of their most intriguing and heartbreaking storylines. Without giving too much away, it’s what she does with her newfound power that is truly inspiring.
Can Magic Really Solve Everything?
For a show called The Magicians, there is sure a lot of time spent without the main characters being actual magicians. After just two seasons, the show takes a drastic turn and asks the question, “What happens when the thing you thought would solve all your problems and make you happy is taken away from you?”
The first two seasons showed us that a lot of baggage comes with the ability to become a magician. But for Quinten, Julia, and co. that was a non-issue because when in doubt, they could use magic to fix everything.
So, when season three began with all magicians stripped of their ability to practice magic, it was a whole new world. It was a risky move story-wise, but it paid off in the long run.
Focusing on the desperation for magic, we saw what ends the characters would go to get it back. Embarking on a quest to get magic back, The Magicians took the viewers on an adventure filled with high seas, multiple timelines, and an amazing rendition of Queen’s “Under Pressure”. It almost seemed impossible that the story could get any better. But The Magicians has shown its ability to reinvent themselves each new season while still keeping true to the heart of the show.
Bigger And Better With Season 4
That brings us to season four. For the first couple of episodes, we had lost most of the characters we knew and loved. Their lives are taken over by personalities created by the corrupt governmental organization known as The Library.
There were new characters, but it still felt like the same show. Honestly, I would totally watch an entire spin-off dedicated to Kady’s Detective Sam Cunningham. But regardless, we needed our original magicians back. Fortunately, we got them with the help of some kick-ass magic.
Keeping us on our toes, one of the biggest villains we’ve seen has taken over the body of our beloved Eliot. Despite the heartache that comes with not knowing whether we will ever see Eliot again, watching Hale Appleman portray “The Monster” has been one of the highlights of the series.
The fourth season has been a wild ride. From an episode dedicated to sexually transmitting the werewolf curse, to another featuring a teddy bear that can kill you. Though, it would not be The Magicians without a musical episode thrown in the mix which also happened to be in the same episode as Margo’s dessert quest.
Like I said before, Margo has become one of the strongest characters on the show. Her journey this season specifically has been incredible to watch. She continues to lead as the High King of Fillory despite the agony of losing her best friend. But when she is given the chance to potentially save Eliot, she gracefully sacrifices her position to go on a quest she knows she may not survive.
In true The Magicians fashion, the only way for Margo to find what she is looking for is to get high on lizard acid. Yes, lizard acid. It is an episode you have to see to believe, but once you do, you will instantly want to rewatch the second it’s over.
Like Margo’s desert quest episode, The Magicians is a show that’ll leave you amazed and wanting more. As this season comes to a close, I look back and think about what a gift this show has been. It is escapism in its purest form which is what all television is, really.
I think we all wish magic existed and that it would make life easier. It probably would, but we will never know. At least for now, I can watch The Magicians and see the magical world through their eyes. It has been a real treat so far and I’m sure season five will be even better.
You tell me, what makes you love The Magicians? Is it the crazy storylines, the fascinating characters, or just the weird hand movements they do for spells? Let us know in the comments below!
The Magicians season finale airs on Syfy on April 17th.