How times have changed for The Magicians. A planned TV adaptation of Lev Grossman’s urban fantasy novel, the project was originally housed at Fox but fell through after the failure of Terra Nova, prompting a disheartening blog post from Grossman. Now, though, Syfy has taken the series under its wing, green-lighting a 12-episode first season to begin production this July.
Jason Ralph (A Most Violent Year) stars in the ambitious series as Quentin Coldwater, a brainy grad student who uncovers the existence of Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a secret college in the heart of New York City that instructs its students in the field of magic. Along with a group of twentysomething friends, Quentin begins his education, only to discover that the magical world he read about as a child is not only real but poses a grave threat to everything he cares about.
Stella Maeve, Hale Appleman, Arjun Gupta and Summer Bishil all co-star in The Magicians.
Impressing the blend of gritty realism and ambitious fantasy that the show is aiming for is the fact that the showrunners include Prime Suspect‘s John McNamara and Supernatural‘s Sera Gamble, certainly an odd couple. The Magicians is a big undertaking for Syfy, and it’s treating it as such, having tapped Another Earth helmer Mike Cahill to direct the pilot. Evidently, Cahill turned in a very solid end product; Syfy prexy Dave Howe said, announcing the pickup, that “The Magicians pilot beautifully delivers a world filled with wonder, fantasy and intrigue.” He added:
“We can’t wait to delve deeper into the lives of Quentin and his college friends, as they struggle with the enormity of their burgeoning powers — and unleash them upon the world.”
The Magicians joins a burgeoning cluster of originals at Syfy, including 12 Monkeys and the upcoming series The Expanse and Childhood’s End.