The Magicians – Season 1

The Magicians – Season 1
Grade Average: B+

The Magicians started off incredibly. I was hooked from episode one and obsessed by episode four. It wasn’t a perfect season—it had a few lesser episodes, all still great though, but definitely improved significantly as time went on, mending all the complaints I’d been having throughout the beginning of the season in the second half. Most of those were pacing issues, connected Julia’s storyline to the main story, and needlessly adding sub-plots in episodes that bogged down the central storyline in certain episodes.

My only real issue is the ending of this season—the finale just didn’t blow me away like I wanted it to. It didn’t come to a satisfying conclusion or even end the episode well. It just sort of stopped. I’m glad that Julia’s arc did feel satisfying, it made sense and worked well with her story, but the overall storyline with the Beast didn’t quite feel finished—because it isn’t—and after all that, I was hoping that he would die and some new villain or season-arc story would pick up next season. I understand why they kept the Beast around, needing to that to keep the story moving for a entire series, but I just wanted a conclusion in some way.

Mostly there were incredible things—Eliot being hilarious and going through a lot in the second half of the season, Margo’s constant scene-stealing moments, Kady’s story, Julia’s story working out the way it did to connect to the maine arc, and all the best bits of magic throughout. The acting was always great and the visual effects were outstanding. More good than bad—and even the bad was never bad, just not great.

Because I haven’t read the books yet, I no little of what happened in it, though now I have an idea of what to expect. Overall, an incredible show with dark themes, magic, and a whole lot of humor. It’s definitely a new favorite and I’ll be sure to watch next season—even if I was a little less than thrilled with the finale cliffhanger.


HIGHLIGHTS

Margo,
though she wasn’t in the episodes quite as much as I wanted, was a scene-stealer. She is hilarious and makes every episode that much better. She quickly became my favorite character in the later half of the season when she was in more episodes.

Julia’s storyline
worked well, especially when it brought it all together in the end. Her arc felt more satisfying in the end than the rest and I can’t wait to see what she is going to get up to with the Beast going after Reynard the Fox next season.

Visual effects
were always fantastic all season and I’m glad for that. Anything under what they had and it would have been too hard to sit through and watch. The magic in the show looks great—and I love how they use hand gestures to visually show them casting rather than flicking their hands like it’s nothing; casting is hard and they showed that and never made it feel easy. Well, except maybe for Alice, who’s great at everything.

LOWLIGHTS

The cliffhanger
really did bother me. I won’t get into it here again because I’ve talked about it over and over, but I just wanted something more for the finale.

The pacing
of the first half of the season, while it had an excellent premiere, started off too quick and ate away storylines from the books (so I’ve read elsewhere) that made it more difficult to follow. It made the first half feel rushed and overloaded, then caused the middle of the season to sort of drag on, leaving the Beast and Fillory (the reason I became hooked so quickly in the first episode) as sporadic tidbits throughout, bringing them back here and there to keep us interested, instead of making the entire season about the main story arc. I’ve said it several times, but television adaptations of books should remain at ten episodes—Shadowhunters suffered from the same thing, too much in some episodes, not enough in others, leaving only a few great ones. Stretching the story too much made the pacing bounce up and down instead of staying consistent, telling a great story. With thirteen episodes, the writers were forced to create storylines to weave through the season, making it feel bloated. ten fantastic episodes would have worked better in both shows. Keeping to one storyline instead of multiple (in one episode, the Magicians featured four storylines in one following different characters) and it wasn’t needed. Sometimes keeping Julia out of an episode would have worked better. Maybe even giving her own entire episode would have worked, too. But all of it smashed into every episode just didn’t work well for episode by episode stories.

Overall, a really great show and I can’t wait for next season!

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