Critic Consensus: The Magicians' impressive special effects and creative storytelling help compensate for a derivative premise and occasionally sluggish pace.
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The result ends up feeling like a knock-off of the genre works that inspired Grossman, lacking in the wry commentary that made the original books feel so fresh.
In terms of establishing a world and getting the plot going, the show's first episodes are actually pretty promising.
Even as a genre fan, The Magicians compels me less for its supernatural side than its feel for the social alienation that makes fantasy so appealing in the first place.
Magicians is just the latest attempt to conjure up something special. The new series is about a magical school for wizards, but it's not Harry Potter's Hogwarts. Not even close.
The television show, anxious and impatient, rushes through the bullet points of the book's plot and forgoes the emotional complexity that made the books more unique than just the Potter imitation they seem at first blush.
Audience Reviews for The Magicians: Season 1
Confusing. The deviation from the source and the changes to the characters made this adaptation almost laughable.
The first season of The Magicians is a little unbalance, but it's also quite daring and has an inventive concept with a lot of potential. The show follows a group of students who are recruited to join a special academy to study magic, but the school is soon attacked by a supernatural creature bend on destruction; meanwhile, a rejected student looks into secret societies and the magical black market to learn spells. The season begins fairly strong and is full of intrigue; however, before long the school fades into the background and the show become more about the character's relationships and sex lives. Still, the mythology is quite compelling, with magical worlds, demigods, and supernatural powers. Also, the cast is rather impressive and has good chemistry together. And the show’s not afraid to go dark, and can be surprisingly graphic and violent. Yet Season 1 of The Magicians isn't quite sure of what type of show it wants to be, and comes off as unfocused.
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