The Badger On: The Magicians (TV Series)

There are things that just stick with you once you done with them. You know the kind the ones that you think about during of the day or in the middle of night when you can’t sleep. Entertainment of any kind can do that to you. Over the last year three TV shows have done that to me. They are the Netflix series Marvels: Jessica Jones (for obvious reasons I think), Mr Robot and todays review The Magicians.

Like my previous TV review on Shadowhunters, The Magicians is based off a book series by Lev Grossman. I do own a copy of the book but lent it out before reading it to my sister-in-law and have since bought a copy of the audiobook which has just become available on audible and have almost finished listening to it. I also have gotten the second book in the series now that Magician King.

Admittedly I torrented the first episode when the show was first aired as it was not available here in Australia and I couldn’t get invested in it to begin with it but I think that was again due to distractions and maybe a little to do with the quality of the torrent. It has become available here and I bought a season pass via iTunes and though only six episodes available so far I am enjoying it.

The show consists of 13 episodes and airs on Syfy. It is created for TV and produced in part by Sera Gamble who I know from my love of Supernatural and despite what she did with that show and the dislike most Supernatural fans have for her I have to say she is doing a good job so far with The Magicians. Like most adaptations is has deviated from the source material but for the better.

Speaking of the material it has been described as being like Harry Potter for adults or Harry Potter at university. Both are accurate to a certain extent. The story is about friends Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) and Julia Wicker (Stella Maeve) who after attending a failed interview for Princeton (failed because the interviewer died) are instead whisked away to sit an entrance exam for Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy. Quentin is accepted and Julia is not and is supposedly wiped of her memory of the experience.

It show follows their experiences Quentin’s at Brakebills and Julia’s in New York as she remembers Brakebills and learns magic from Hedgewitches, led by Marina (Kacey Rohl). Quentin makes friends with Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), Eliot (Hale Appleman) and Margo (Summer Bishel) and is frenemies with Penny (Arjun Gupta).

As mentioned the show has deviated from the book in so much as Penny has a bigger part in the story than he initially did in the book and that is a much better character, so much so that he is probably my favourite of the main cast. They have added a the character of Marina and another called Kady (Jade Tailor). The main antagonist is a character called The Beast (Charles Measure) but he is much more scarier in the show.

The staff at Brakebills are aware of him from the beginning, however, unlike they are in the book. The staff including the Dean of Brakebills, Henry Fogg (Rick Worthy), teacher Pearl Sunderland (Anne Dudek) and the mysterious Eliza (Esme Bianco) who has been assisting Quentin from the beginning, seem to think that there is something special about Quentin, Alice and Penny as it relates to The Beast.

All in all this a very enjoyable show and I recommend it highly.

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The Badger Compares/Reviews: Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse



I am not a Marvel girl at all and though I have seen all the movies and have watched some of the Marvel television I still prefer DC. I feel more emotionally invested in DC characters than I do with Marvel and never really got excited for Civil War or X-Men the way I got excited for Dawn of Justice or the upcoming Suicide Squad or anything TV related within the DCU.

The one property of Marvel that I do have an affection for is the X-Men. My older brother read the comics when he was a teenager and we both were fans of the cartoon. I have seen all the X-Men movies at the cinema and do have an affection for Bryan Singer as a director as he directed one of my favourite movies of all time in the Usual Suspects. He was also an Executive Producer on one of favourite TV shows in House MD which he also directed a couple of episodes in the first season.

Despite this affection I can’t honestly say that X-Men: Apocalypse was a great movie in this franchise. On the other hand Captain America: Civil War could be considered such a movie and it is definitely the best of the Marvel movies under the Disney banner that have been released.

That’s not to say that I don’t have some quibbles with it. I don’t particularly like how they treated Wanda/Scarlett Witch  (Elizabeth Olsen) but then Marvel has never been great in treating their female characters right. I thought it was a little long and I didn’t care too much about how they flashed up the locations up on the screen. I have to say Captain America (Chris Evans) and his Avengers for and against sure did travel this time around and you could say that Iron Man (Robert Downey Jnr) could be up for kidnapping considering he took a minor in Spiderman out of the US without a passport or Auntie May’s (Marisa Tomei) permission.

Speaking of the Peter Parker I thought that Tom Holland did a wonderful job considering that I have absolutely no love for the character what-so-ever, actually I have only ever seen half a Spider-Man movie and that was the second half of the Amazing Spider-Man (2012). Also the introduction of Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) was delightful. That whole airport scene was spectacular. T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) was wonderful and another great addition to the line-up and I am looking forward to his stand-alone.

Apocalypse on the hand was also a little long and the they never once referred to Oscar Isaac’s character by any name what-so-over, actually I think he dodges the question when asked. Also his mutant powers were not really defined except that they seemed to be sand related, that he could forcibly inherit powers and give other power that could make them stronger.  A little too much time was given over to Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and that was probably because it is Jennifer Lawrence.

The new/old mutants in Jean Grey/Phoenix (Sophie Turner), Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler (Kodi Smith-McPhee), Ororo Munroe/Storm (Alexandra Shipp) did well with what they had as did Psylocke (Olivia Munn). My niece particularly loved Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver (Evan Peters) and I have to agree that his slow motion scenes were as good as the ones from Days of Futures Past.  

Eric Lensherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) was wonderful and his scenes with his family where wonderful and their deaths were incredible heartbreaking. Though there acting was not bad I really can’t say much about Professor Xavier (James McEvoy), Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne) and Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult). Hugh Jackman’s cameo as Wolverine was a good follow up from his part in Days of Futures Past.

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The Badger On: The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness (Book Series)


Finally….. and the first of two posts today: 

Admittedly this is not something brand new to me but it is 3 book series that I continually listen to and enjoy immensely. From that statement you can tell that I have the audiobooks for them but I also have hard copies of the first two and own digital copies of all three. That is how much I have enjoyed these books. 

The series consists of:

The Discovery of Witches

Shadow of Night

The Book of Life

It is a urban fantasy with romance and a little bit of adventure. In this world there are humans, witches, vampires and demons (described in the first book as either Rock Stars or Serial Killers). There are more humans than there are of the other three ‘creatures’ and they live in plain sight. They are however not allowed to dabble in human politics or religion or allowed to mingle with each other in public as they become more noticeable to humans.

The stories revolves around Diana Bishop, who is a witch and a descendant of Bridget Bishop who was executed at Salem, she is a history professor specialising in the history of science and in particular alchemy. She is a non-practicing witch who decided to not use magic after her parents died in Africa, they were both powerful witches and anthropologist. The problem is that she is also very powerful and the magic is seeping out.

She unwittingly calls up a manuscript Ashmole 782, also known as the Book of Life, which has a spell placed on it that it will only open for her when she needs it. The breaking of the spell alerts the other creatures of its existence and bring her to the attention of Matthew Clairmont, a 1500 year old vampire who has been searching for the manuscript for a very long time. 

This unlikely pair of witch and vampire will fall in love and with the congregation, a council of 3 of each creature, and a more dangerous foe wanting not only the manuscript but to keep them apart Diana and Matthew will not only need to find out what secrets that Ashmole 782 holds but learn all they can about the magic that Diana possesses.

The books are set in England, France, Upstate New York,  Tudor England (Diana’s a Timewalker) and various locales in Europe. All three a great read or listen, if you are so inclined, with all three read by Jennifer Ikeda in the audiobooks version. She reads it well though she does change the way she voices the character of Gallowglass from an English accent in Shadow of Night to his actual Scottish origins in the Book of Life.