Today is a dark day in Fillory. According to major news outlets, including TV Insider, The Magicians is set to end with Season 5. SyFy has decided to put the kibosh on the fan favorite fantasy series. We learned that the Season 5 finale, which is set to air on April 1st, will now serve as a series finale. Hollywood Reporter also revealed that The Magicians suffered a drastic ratings decline, falling 30% in its key 18-49 demographic.
Now, I believe the aforementioned is due to the events in last year’s shocking season finale. Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph), the show’s protagonist, was killed in the Season 4 episode. Naturally, this decision was a divisive one, with many fans feeling that the choice to kill off a bisexual character adhered to the “bury your gays trope.” Not to mention, others felt Quentin was the heart and soul of The Magicians. So, was SyFy’s axing a complete surprise or a well-known fact to the writers/producers?
Thankfully, the writers crafted a Season 5 finale that’s multipurpose – it serves as both a season and a series finale. Now, I imagine most writers take that approach for their respective shows once said shows reach a certain point in their lifespan. Executive producers Sera Gamble and John McNamara revealed their plans to TV Insider, as well as their thoughts on whether this is truly the end for The Magicians. McNamara had the following to say in terms of the show’s normally uncertain fate:
It played out kind of the way it’s played out almost every season. With the exception of Season 4 into Season 5, we never knew whether or not we’re going to get picked up. It was always a discussion—never really about the creative—about the financials and you always know, with any show, that there’s this kind of fine line between what it brings in and what it costs.
Then, Gamble also added that both her and McNamara were aware The Magicians could be on the precipice of cancellation before going into Season 5.
And as the creators of the show, we understand that. We had the sense going into this season that Syfy, in particular as our first platform, was kind of hitting the point of “The cup is full and there’s no more room.”
In addition, the pair revealed that The Magicians was shopped to other networks, including NBC Universal. McNamara commented:
None of them seemed in the end like a perfect financial or creative fit. And so we reluctantly just decided, “Well at least we have this season finale that was crafted to also be a series finale.” It was kind of always going to pull double duty.
So, I suppose the knowledge of no loose ends is of some comfort. Certainly a cold one, but a comfort nonetheless. Of course, this is a show that’s profoundly impacted viewers across the globe. Naturally, SyFy’s decision was certainly not due to lack of creativity. Everything is about money, and the show is a huge undertaking by SyFy’s standards. Perhaps Amazon Prime can save our magical series as they did for The Expanse? Paging Jeff Bezos…
Now, the cast has shared their thoughts on social media. Olivia Taylor Dudley, who portrayed Alice Quinn, posted a lovely message on Twitter:
As much as I’d love for The Magicians to go on for at least 20 more seasons, I understand this is the way of the biz. May we all be grateful that we were blessed with five magical seasons. Thank you, Lev Grossman, for crafting a wonderfully nuanced world for us to immerse ourselves in. This is a show like no other, and we probably won’t see its like again.
What are the chances this is an intricate April Fool’s Day ruse? One can dream, I suppose.
The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 10pm on your SyFy affiliate.