On January 25th, Syfy will pull back the curtain on its adaptation of the Lev Grossman novels, The Magicians. Fans of the books already got a sneak peek of the first episode last month, but the series about a group of young adults studying magic at a clandestine school hopes to be a breakout hit early this year. (Check out Allison’s review here.) Since this is a new project for Syfy, and one that may not be all that familiar with the wider viewing audience, executive producers Robert McNamara, Michael London, and Sera Gamble shared much more about the show’s tone and how far they’re willing to go.
While at the 2016 TCAs, the EPs fielded questions about just how much into the horror realm The Magicians will delve, what it was about the source material that they found enticing, how the show will deviate from the books, and just how long they think the show could run. Now’s a good time to get an early jump on this series and the skinny behind the scenes just in case it becomes TV’s next big thing.
From Deadline, here’s McNamara’s summation of just how much horror imagery fans can expect The Magicians to conjure:
“The thing about Lev’s books that drew me, because I’m not a huge fantasy fan … everything truly terrifying in these books is what humans do to each other. So we’re going to lean right into that. Hard. I find the books hilarious, and that’s one of the most fun things to adapt and play with. It’s not pastiche or camp or satire, but the books are very self-aware and extremely funny. The release of writing funny right after horror is … probably the best day job you can have.”
THR had more from McNamara and company, including the EP’s thoughts on just how long the show could conceivably run, if well-received by audiences:
“I think there’s enough material for six seasons.”
“The collection of books has a lot of characters and a lot of storylines that can actually go off in infinite directions, so we’re actually excited about doing more that exists in the three books.”
With all that material and potential for new storylines comes the freedom to adapt the books in ways readers may never have imagined, and may or may not like. That’s the case with any adaptation. For now, The Magicians will follow the first book early on before dipping into the second, according to Gamble:
“The process in the writers room is sort of the Talmudic interpretation of Lev’s text. Sometimes we veer left; sometimes we find another way into the door. But I think most of the big plot points that people love from the books, we’re getting to them. There’s so much about the feeling and world building that Lev Grossman did that really compelled us.”
London confirmed that Grossman is an integral part of the process, as well:
“We also work very closely with Lev. If we made any left turns or right turns, it’s always with his blessing and cooperation.”
Look for The Magicians Monday, January 25th at 9pm on Syfy in a two-hour, back-to-back episode special.