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The Magicians us - (S01E02)

Horror . Fantasy . Drama

The Brakebills students struggle to deal with the aftermath of a catastrophe that befalls the university. Back in Brooklyn, Julia makes her first foray into the mysterious world of Hedge Witches.

Episode Title: The Source of Magic
Airs: 2016-01-25 at 22:00
  • Rob Owen

    There's little that's magical about the cold, poorly paced Magicians pilot. It takes 16 minutes until Quentin arrives at Brakebills and feels longer. The pilot is rife with drab colors and while the story has potential, it made me want to go find the book rather than watch more of the TV series.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    Most of the characters, however, are written and behave as if they are 14, and not 20-something graduate students. That said, the first episode ends on a terrific cliffhanger, when a creature from another realm--a man with a swarm of moths flitting around his head--attacks. A good three minutes does not excuse the hour that came before it. And the resolution is presented so poorly in the next episode that it sabotages any good will the first episode earned.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    There’s little time for texture or complexity in the first two episodes of The Magicians, which cherry-pick a series of important incidents from the novel and often fail to import the psychological or philosophical depth that accompanied each plot point. Even the production design seems more cheap than spare, and tends to make the mythical Brakebills look like a bland store selling Ikea knockoffs.

    Variety Full Review
  • Jeff Korbelik

    Fans of the books probably will like it because they know what the heck is happening. I was lost.

    The Lincoln Journal Star Full Review
  • Tim Grierson

    The best that can be said about The Magician thus far is that it has so many balls in the air that you’re tempted to stick with it just to see where it’s going. Even then, though, the show puts more stock in atmosphere and attitude than in distinguishing its characters or sci-fi fantasy terrain from those of comparable projects.

    The Wrap Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    At first, Ralph seems a little old for the part of Quentin, but he skillfully personifies a postgraduate man-child. The show’s special effects are deftly executed and the script is nicely crafted with twists, turns and surprises to hold our attention

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Molly Eichel

    The rushed plot leaves Grossman's rich world feeling empty. That world is still fun to live in--even if it's not as good in TV form.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    Some of the special effects are magical; others are genuinely terrifying. But with so many characters, and such an abundance of twists and turns and truths and lies, keeping up is exhausting even in the first two hours. And none of the characters, especially the mopey Quentin, is engaging enough to make it worth the effort.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Sonia Saraiya

    The Magicians tries to create three different worlds simultaneously--Quentin’s New York City, Fillory, and Brakebills, complete with different casts of characters and different sets of rules. It’s not as sloppy as it could be, but it’s hard to not feel rushed through the pilot.

    Salon Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    Just like a school like Brakebills wouldn't send its students to an advanced class before teaching them the basics, The Magicians loses something for not fully setting up foundational elements like how magic works in this world, what it's like to be a student (or teacher) at Brakebills, or the many ways it is very different from Hogwarts.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • David Sims

    Perhaps once the exposition is disposed of, it’ll pick up speed (the second episode, which also airs Monday, is a little better than the first). But to succeed, the show needs to more fully explore the complex and often terrifying world it introduces, tropes and all.

    The Atlantic Full Review
  • Heather Schwedel

    The show is at its worst when straining to be provocative and, in so doing, incorporating various Hollywood clichés (Hogwarts meets Gossip Girl, one review blared). But in terms of establishing a world and getting the plot going, the show’s first episodes are actually pretty promising.

    Slate Full Review
  • Allison Shoemaker

    It’ll take more than an episode or two to see what The Magicians becomes when it stops trying so hard to be the dark, sexy, thoughtful, sexy, and also sexy series it so clearly wants to be. There’s a lot to like here, and plenty of potential to make the show as engrossing and sometimes devastating as the books on which it’s based.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Mike Hale

    The series works well enough as a straightforward coming-of-age tale that the stock scenes of magic--a windblown sheet of paper leading Quentin to the proper doorway, a deck of cards forming castles in the air--can feel like cheesy intrusions.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    It promises to be a wild ride. [1-14 Feb 2016, p.19]

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Isaac Feldberg

    Like its protagonist, The Magicians demonstrates lots of clear potential to both follow and subvert that storytelling device, as well of flashes of poetic beauty, buried beneath a grim, world-weary exterior. You could call it an anti-escapist fantasy.

    We Got This Covered Full Review
  • Rob Lowman

    The students of Brakebills have never fit in and aren’t part of a hierarchy, and, like a lot of young people, can be their own worst enemy. So far The Magicians played off those reverse expectations fairly well, and has a more hip Gothic atmosphere to it. It will be interesting to see if it can keep all the balls flying in the air.

    Los Angeles Daily News Full Review
  • Jeff Jensen

    The pilot is an effective introductory chapter to a story that speaks to a moment cluttered with both escapist fantasy and neo-gothic gloominess. It’s Harry Potter, distressed with a Heavy Metal acid bath.... The world and perspective of The Magicians is more immediately interesting than the characters.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Sara Stewart

    The book’s fans may not be completely satisfied--dialogue often doesn’t do justice to Grossman’s withering prose--but the spirit of this dark-natured series is intact.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    Overall, this seems as though it will be one of Syfy’s most engaging new series as the channel continues to get back into the hardcore sci-fi and fantasy genres.

    Yahoo TV Full Review
  • Michael Slezak

    The Magicians may not have perfected every incantation in its spellbook, but it’s worth a look for viewers intrigued by the idea of a Harry Potter-esque weekly fantasy series.

    TVLine Full Review
  • Diane Werts

    Monday’s busy pilot (crammed with setting reveals and visual effects) leads to a sluggish second hour trading the thrill of discovery for downbeat foreboding. Yet the purpose-seeking characters emerge so starkly--Jason Ralph’s disturbed new student, Hale Appleman as his sardonic guide, Arjun Gupta as his itchy roommate, Stella Maeve as his left-behind soul mate. They feel worth following.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    It’s a mere two episodes, but The Magicians provided enough evidence that it has enough talent and ambition to keep the surprises coming.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Mary McNamara

    "Harry Potter" meets "Gossip Girl" in "The Magicians," Syfy's new adaptation of a Lev Grossman trilogy, and it's a good match.... The Magicians holds its own by making the students a bit older and complicated.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review

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