The Magicians (2015): Season 2
Ever since television and movies became the dominant source of entertainment, there is always a few genres that are considered a perennial favorite. People in professions regarding medicine or the various aspects of law enforcement have always found their place of both big and small screens in recent years it appears that tales of the supernatural have supplanted the very popular western. With the tidal wave of popularity created by the Harry Potter franchise magic has been one of the standard aspects of popular entertainment. One television series that is found its niche on the SyFy channel is the ‘Magicians.' It is a story concerning young adults as they navigate the postgraduate studies of magic in the illustrious institution known as, ‘Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy.' This is the type of school that the exceptionally talented practitioners would gravitate. At the foundation of the series is a Joseph Campbell inspired heroic journey by the show’s principal protagonist, Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph), a lifelong fan of the magically infused the adult series literary series, ‘Fillory and Further.' Among the mind-bending impact of discovering that magic is real in the old ways to perfect your technique and power, he discovers – Fillory is indeed an actual place that can only be found through magical means. This TV series is based on the exceptionally popular franchise of books written by Lev Grossman. As the case whenever a literary franchise is more to another medium accommodation are made with the translation from the written page to the TV or movie screen. Fans of the books must keep this in mind before exploding on social media about inaccuracies. The series has made every attempt to retain the spirit of the literary origins, but the dramatic license was a necessity in this project. The result was an exceptionally exciting television series with incredible character development imaginative situations in a compelling storyline that will grab your attention, probably holding it from episode to episode and season to season.
Several students at Brakebills discover that Fillory is not just a flight of fancy or construct of the imagination, but a real place. They then discover a means to visit the site of childhood dreams. Unfortunately, the powerful magic necessary to make this migration possible unleashed a malevolent entity upon the real world. His love interest accompanies Quentin, and best friend, Alice Quinn (Olivia Taylor Dudley) helps him in navigating this new terrain in the world of magic. Quentin is joined on this mysterious journey of discovery by the hedonistic yet trustworthy best friend Eliot Waugh (Hale Appleman, and his friend with benefits, Margo Hanson (Summer Bishi). An integral part of this cadre is Penny Adiyodi (Arjun Gupta), Quentin’s roommate. Penny, who possesses the very rare and powerful ability known being a traveler. This is a magician able to teleport himself t just a little spice to the proceedings the powerful demi god out for their demise has aligned with Quentin’s childhood friend, Julia Wicker (Stella Maeve), who try to enroll in Brakebills with him but washed out in the first week. Junior is still in possession of a strong natural ability returns to the system of hedge witches for further training. Hedge witches or practitioners of magic will not have completed formal training and are considered Maverick.
Understandably the first season will be read this slower pace necessary as the amount of exposition to establish the boarding the context of the story and the foundation for character development greater than what is found in most serialized stories. The first season was magnificently executed which leads to substantial expectations for this sophomore year understandably higher than usual. Whenever a TV series has such an auspicious beginning fancy dread the sophomore curse. This occurs when a showrunner faces the arduous but necessary task of keeping their interest during the second season. This requires maintaining elements that the fans in the first place while making sufficient changes to keep the show exciting and viable. The nature of the story is highly conducive to making such changes within the fabric of the overall story. In this season Eliot becomes the high King of Fillory a with Margot as his High Queen and cranking Quentin and Alice as co-ruling King and Queen. Along with the responsibilities, this entails in Eliot obliged to remain as ruler. In this season, the millennial students each displaying one form of generational affectation have been forced to face their demons and mature literally. This process resulted in greatly enhanced inherent abilities as well as the knowledge and refined perspective of their new reality making them formidable magicians. I have not had the opportunity to watch the series on its hosting SyFy channel, but its presentation as streaming episodes does place the content beyond the typical TV14 restrictions. Last season the usual use of scatological euphemisms abounded with the dread ‘F’word omitted by dropping the audio instead of the rather annoying ‘Beep’ sound. This season the numerous f-bombs are fully audible accompanied by an increase in violent imagery and sexually charged scenes. The result was not obscene per say but was utilized in a fashion indicative of telling a mature story not intended or suitable for younger viewers.
The elements that contributed most to the initial success of the series have been retained and permitted to organically grow inexorably enticing the viewers to remain enthralled as these well-defined characters as they are forced to extend the limits of their maturing supernatural abilities. There is a noticeably greater reliance on imagery and substantially intricate and highly nuanced hand gestures. The magicians utilize more than ancient incantations to wield their spells; they imbued them with their physical energy as expressed through the movement of hands and fingers weave the magical energies binding them with their will. There were scenes of magical dueling in the first season, but now, the stakes are more than their status at school the very existence of the supernatural realm and the survival of the mortal world on in peril. The primary nemesis has always been ‘The Beast,' his face obscured by a swirling group of moths. This season the dreaded being takes on a human form as Martin Chatwin (Anthony Marble). His backstory is substantially dark and mature in content than typically found on basic cable. He was the former High King until banished by the mercurial Ember (Dominic Burgess), the Fillorian God of Chaos. Like most supernatural dirties of disorder much like the Loki who fills this role in Norse mythology. True to the archetype the god of the disorder is a trickster, might not lie, per say, but will exploit semantics and whimsical interpretations. Superficially, Ember is overtly silly but intrinsically is quite de4adedo7 deadly.On the formal study at Brakebills aligns herself with the Hedge Witches, self-taught partitions of various levels of expertise. Julia becomes closely allied expelled just before graduation.
As previously noted there is a significant increase in sexual content although not using gracious nudity. A ménage à trois between Eliot, Margo, and Quentin, sparked by a lusty spell and psychotropic portion is presented with the expected broadcast friendly artful angles and positioning preserving a modicum of modesty. This is later followed by the necessity for Alice to drink Ember’s godly seed to attain the deity level power required to vanquish the Beast. Every feasible joke regarding semen is included in as definitely TV-MA barrage of dialogue. The mature tone set in this series is achieved without resorting to the usual graphic language and nudity but through the clever use of innuendo and suggestion. An inherent part of the mature demographic this series targets is how it is crafted for an audience beyond the typical puerile expectations that so many TV shows pander to in their typical viewers. The themes here are more mature, fitting for a group of young adults who have passed beyond the puerile antics of high school and undergraduate college. These characters are individuals who are seriously exploring the intricacies of the magical calling. There is a substantial amount of alcohol consumed. A modicum of cigarette, mostly with the darkly conflicted characters and sufficient profanity to qualify this as an R rated movie. Even those usually abhorrent of profanity are likely to agree that when your perception of the world is knocked askew and supernatural demigod is determined to bring about your painfully prolonged demise, sometimes "darn," "draft" and "shucks" are underqualified to describe the situation realistically. This is a magic oriended series featuring actors approaching the thirties who possess incredible talent having found a nurturing platform in this show.