Special effects save the magic


The Syfy channel’s new series, “The Magicians,” based on Lev Grossman’s novel of the same name, is a show that has it all: sex, drugs, magic, and moody college students. It’s as if the author and director combined the fantasy aspect of “Harry Potter” and “Narnia”, and the grittiness of “American Horror Story” with this show being the outcome.

With clear influences from several other works, the plot of “The Magicians” isn’t unique by any means. But the show has impressive special effects, beautiful scenery, and unique concepts that give it the potential to become a great show. However it is somewhat hindered by the acting of the main cast.

“The Magicians,” which premiered with its first two episodes on Monday, Jan. 25, is a fantasy show set in modern day New York, where magic is only known to those who believe and can dabble in its mysticism. The main setting of the show is in a magical school similar to Hogwarts, from well-known book series “Harry Potter.”

The fictional school of Brakebills College chooses people they consider to have potential, and test them to see if their assumptions are right. If the person passes the test, they are then invited to gain the knowledge and skills to be a magician. Now what they do with the knowledge and skill they gain will be entirely up to the individual. And of course, this show wouldn’t be complete without an evil force threatening the world.

The show is centered around Quentin Coldwater, played by Jason Ralph, a clinically depressed graduate student who can’t seem to find his place in the world. However, this is where the main problem of the show lies. Ralph’s acting is more in line with that of a sporadic, paranoid drug addict rather than someone who is clinically depressed. He is constantly twitching and stuttering, which can be distracting during scenes where other characters are conversing with him. But when he isn’t acting like the world is out to get him, the magic of the show starts to shine.

The special effects in the show are impressive and help immerse the audience in the world of magic it is building. From the spells people cast to the background scenery, the amount of detail the show puts into its special effects is apparent. Like making a magical glass horse’s movement fluid and realistic, or adding a shimmer to the glass that made the magic more imaginable. “The Magicians” is a beautiful show. Even the way people cast their spells is stylish.

The way spells are conjured up in “The Magicians” is quite distinct. It’s not as straightforward as flicking a wand or chanting a curse. It is actually quite similar to the hip-hop dance style of “Tutting,” which uses mainly the arms and hands of the dancer. It’s a unique and intricate way of casting magic, and it flows beautifully with the special effects.

Like the students who join Brakebills College, “The Magicians” has the potential to be an outstanding show. It’s plot, although simple, seems like it is building to something complex. The special effects and overall visuals of the show is dazzling and is the grabbing point of the show.

So if “Harry Potter,” “Narnia,” or “American Horror Story” appeal to you, then give this show a shot. Just try to ignore the main character’s awkward acting, and you can fully immerse yourself in the magic.