What to watch: The Magicians season 1-5

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University students Quentin
Coldwater (Jason
Ralph) and Alice Quinn (Olivia Taylor Dudley) explore the dangerous world of magic in The Magicians. (PHOTO: SyFy)
University students Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) and Alice Quinn (Olivia Taylor Dudley) explore the dangerous world of magic in The Magicians. (PHOTO: SyFy)

Rating: 4/5

This fantasy series, based on the books by Lev Grossman, can best be described as “Harry Potter for adults”. It’s centred on a group of university students who attend a secret school of magic, Brakebills College of Magical Pedagogy, in New York.

The TV show starts off with Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) as the main character, a depressed high school graduate who grew up reading a series of books on a magical land called Fillory. As the series – and the seasons – progress, it becomes apparent that Fillory is real. But Quentin’s character is eclipsed by his friends (and in some cases enemies), who turn out to be far more nuanced and interesting.

One duo stand out. Margo (Summer Bishil) is the traditional mean girl who during the course of the seasons turns out to be a strong woman fighting for her place in the world. Her bestie, Eliot (Hale Appleman), is equally entertaining and the two often end up stealing the scene.

The plot is an insane romp between worlds and magical realms – not for the faint of heart. There’s violence, death and sex, along with plenty of deliciously dark humour. Be warned: you need to watch this from the start, or you’ll be lost as the plot is extremely intricate and at times tough to keep up with. But it’s absolutely worth it. As one reviewer put it: this is easily the most underrated show on TV. – LIZ DE VILLIERS

2015-2020. 65 EPISODES. 18LVSH SV.

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