A bid back in 2012 to bring Lev Grossman’s Magicians fantasy trilogy to TV fell through, but round two has proven a success: Syfy has given its new pilot a 12-episode series order, and it will begin filming this summer.
As Deadline reports, producer Michael London was also behind the earlier Magicians adaptation that did not get greenlit; this version was co-scripted by John McNamara (Aquarius) and Sera Gamble (Supernatural).
Based upon Grossman’s books— the first of which was published in 2009 — The Magicians stars Jason Ralph (A Most Violent Year) as Quentin Coldwater, a brilliant grad student who enrolls in Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic. He and his twentysomething friends soon discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real — and poses a grave danger to humanity. Stella Maeve (Chicago P.D.), Hale Appleman (Teeth), Arjun Gupta (Nurse Jackie) and Summer Bishil (Towelhead) also star in the one-hour drama.
Author Grossman told Deadline that he’s, understandably, “beyond thrilled” that the project is finally hitting the screen.
London, who originally optioned the books, first set up a drama adaptation of The Magicians at Fox in 2011 with Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz as writers. That incarnation did not get a green light, but London redeveloped the project with McNamara and Gamble and took it to Syfy.
“Ever since The Magicians was published, I’ve wanted to see this story onscreen,” said Grossman. “The people, the school, the other worlds, the magic. I’m so thrilled that it’s finally happening, and I’m beyond thrilled that we found the right people to do it.”
This is the second drama project London has navigated from one network to another, leading to a green light. On Friday, FX gave a pilot order to John Singleton’sSnowfall, also produced by London, which originally was set up at Showtime.
The Magicians joins Syfy’s roster of scripted and development projects, including the upcoming 10-part series The Expanse, starring Thomas Jane; Arthur C. Clarke miniseries Childhood’s End, also set to premiere this December; Gale Anne Hurd’s 13-episode thriller Hunters; David Goyer’s Superman prequel Krypton;and Incorporated, a thriller pilot from Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.