I have the script for the Magicians pilot. OK, I had it all weekend. I’ve just been told that I can talk about this.
First let me say: I can take zero credit for this thing. It’s by Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz: they did X-Men: First Class and Thor, as well as a ton of TV work on Fringe, the Sarah Connor Chronicles and Andromeda. Frankly I didn’t want to get too involved: it took me 40 years to figure out how novels work, I wasn’t going to understand screenplays or teleplays or whatever right they are right off the bat. I’m not a Scalzi or a Gaiman, leaping nimbly from medium to medium with the grace of a gazelle. We chatted back and forth quite a bit while they worked, but I’ve never met them in person. I didn’t know what to expect.
I certainly didn’t expect this: it is fantastic. Amazeballs would not be too strong a word to use about this script. I’m not even trying to be funny. If I didn’t think so I would have just kept mum, but I can’t keep mum. It’s just too good.
I also can’t tell you too much in the way of details yet. But I will say:
– I laughed my ass off, start to finish. It’s funny.
– It’s edgy. This isn’t HBO, so there’s a limit to what can happen and what can get said, but somehow the darkness is there, all of it. I don’t know how they did that.
– It’s TV. The big challenge was always going to be to reshape the bones of the story, to take it apart and put it back together so it fit into episodes instead of chapters, and seasons instead of books. The Magicians (book) is a slow burn, but in TV you can’t afford that. This first episode — it’s a monster. It’s this dense, intense mystery that sucks you right in. I was dying to know what happens next, and I already know!
– It’s moving. I’ve said elsewhere that what great fantasy does best, for me, is longing. When I read the script, I felt that — I felt the longing. I’ve never seen anything else like this on TV. These are just smart writers who know their medium and know fantasy. We got very, very lucky.
With a little more luck, you’ll get to see what I mean. It’s with the network now.