SyFy’s The Magicians, inspired by the Lev Grossman novels, is one of the most unique takes on the magical boarding school of fantasy series. For that reason, it can be difficult to find shows like The Magicians that the audience will love just as much. While no series will be an exact match, there are a lot of science fiction and fantasy shows with similar elements to The Magicians that fans will enjoy.
The Magicians kicks off with Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) taking a test to become a student at the magical Brakebills University and finding out that the magical world in his favorite children’s books actually exists. Over the course of five seasons, The Magicians developed a fascinating mythology surrounding its magic and changed what fans thought about creatures like fairies. It even had musical episodes that charmed fans. These shows like The Magicians have enough in common that fans will find their next binge-watch among them.
20 A Discovery Of Witches (2018-2022)
Streaming on AMC+ and Shudder.
Just like The Magicians, the U.K. series A Discovery of Witches is also based on fantasy novels. In this case, it is Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy where a witch and a vampire begin working together to fight off magical creatures that begin to show up in their world.
ADiscovery of Witches is a supernatural romance show that lasted for three seasons with 25 episodes and starred Teresa Palmer as a reluctant witch named Diana who works with a geneticist vampire named Matthew, played by Matthew Goode. The main plot sees Diana find a book about magical beings, and she and Matthew set out to protect it at all costs from creatures who would use it for evil. Their quest to keep the world safe and their learning about new threats is similar to the friends in The Magicians finding themselves repeatedly responsible for saving the world from magical threats.
19 Shadow And Bone (2021- )
Shadow and Bone is based on the Grishaverse novels by Leigh Bardugo. The Netflix series takes the Shadow and Bone trilogy and adds pieces from the Six of Crows duology to the story. This is about a young orphan named Alina who learns she has special gifts as a Sun Summoner that can save her world. She meets a man named General Kirigan, who leads the Second Army and believes that Alina can defeat their enemies in the Shadow Fold. However, he is a Shadow Summoner, and Alina quickly learns that there are people she can’t trust in the world.
Like The Magicians, there is an interesting system in place of class division in this fantasy world. The same is true in Fillory when the main characters begin to spend more time there. There are also people in both series who seek to control magical gifts and the flow of knowledge associated with them.
18 Shadowhunters (2016-2019)
When it comes to modern shows like The Magicians, Shadowhunters might offer some of the closest comparisons with its group of young friends who are in the middle of a magical conflict. Shadowhunters is based on the Cassandra Clare book series, The Mortal Instruments. The series premiered on Freeform and was one of that network’s most successful shows. In this series, when Clary turned 18, she learned she was from a long line of Shadowhunters, which are human-angel hybrids who hunt down demons.
The problem comes when her mother disappears, and she has to use her newly discovered powers to save her from the villain, who also happens to be her dad. It also doesn’t help that the Shadowhunters are narcissistic and arrogant, and Clary doesn’t fit in with them in any way. Just like Clary, Quentin struggles to adjust to a world in which everyone has more magical knowledge than he does at first. Also like Clary, he takes responsibility for quests himself and has to learn to work with his new friends.
17 Fate: The Winx Saga (2021-2022)
Fate: The Winx Saga has a story that is very similar to that of The Magicians. In Fate: The Winx Saga the main characters are enrolled at a magical boarding school where they learn how to use their powers. However, the difference here is that the students are fairies, and they have different powers based on their type (light, water, earth, fire, etc).
Things go bad for the kids when evil tries to get inside the walls of the school, and there are traitors in their midst. Both Fate and The Magicians see the students rally to save their school and defend the larger world against magical threats. As with many of the shows like The Magicians, Fate also sees a division between the magical world and the human world.
16 Carnival Row (2019- )
Streaming on Prime Video
Carnival Row is a Prime Video original series that shows the hate and distrust between frightened humans and the magical creatures that live among them. In this series, war has ravaged the home of the fae and other magical creatures, and they flood into London looking for sanctuary. However, the people of London hate them and discriminate against them quickly. When the police start investigating a series of murders, the focus quickly turns to the magical community, but there is one inspector who has a strong connection with the magical beings, and he sets out to find the truth.
The discrimination against fairies is actually what makes Carnival Row like The Magicians as it also featured a similar storyline in which people used the bones of fairies to increase their own magic. Fairies in The Magicians, however, get even for the way they are mistreated.
15 Legion (2017-2019)
Legion is an FX Marvel series that isn’t like anything else in the Marvel realm. It follows David Haller (Dan Stevens) who discovers that the voices in his head are actually real, and that he is a mutant with dangerously powerful abilities. The series follows David’s journey as he discovers a world of magic and superpowers hidden from society. Similar to The Magicians, the best episodes of Legion have dark moments, funny moments, and a confusing plot at times that any Magicians fan would enjoy.
14 His Dark Materials (2019-2022)
His Dark Materials is an HBO series based on a book trilogy and follows a young protagonist who is thrown into an otherworldly conspiracy that she has to fight against to save everyone. It’s similar to The Magicians near the beginning when Quentin doesn’t realize that magic is real before he finds and attends Brakebills University. There is magic throughout His Dark Materials and Lyra searches for her missing friend, with the help of her dæmon animal, and other stolen children throughout the series and uncovers a dangerous plot during her search. Lyra going back and forth figuring out just who she can trust is not unlike the plight of the central characters in The Magicians who get double-crossed by allies looking for power on a regular basis.
13 Grimm (2011-2017)
Streaming on Prime Video.
Grimm is a dramatic series that follows Detective Nick Burkhardt as he tries to fulfill his destiny and protect his town. Burkhardt comes from a long line of warriors, referred to as Grimms, who hunt magical creatures to protect humanity. Grimm is a dark show about killing magical monsters and certainly has enough magic for any fan of The Magicians, but it is also melded with a police procedural that grounds it in reality similar to The Magicians going back and forth between reality and the magical world of Brakebills.
12 American Gods (2017-2021)
Streaming on Starz and Prime Video.
American Gods follows Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) as he tries to cope with the recent death of his wife and is thrown into a world of magic and dangerous Gods, both Old and New. The series follows Moon as he joins in with the Old Gods who try to recover their influence over the world as the New Gods have taken over.
Being a Starz series, American Gods is able to explore darker themes and not have to worry about censoring its content much. Similar to The Magicians, there are enough adult themes and magic throughout American Godsfor any fan of The Magicians to enjoy. The Magicians also has its own take on the old gods, and the storyline of Julia ending up as a goddess will be the most similar to American Gods.
11 The Librarians (2014-2018)
Fans searching for shows like The Magicians that have a lighter style of humor will like this one. The Librarians is a series that continues the story of The Librarian movies starring Noah Wyle. The series continues the idea of a secret society of people who collect and protect magical artifacts, so others can’t use them for selfish and evil purposes. The series expands the team and introduces new characters to help Flynn Carsen (Wyle) from counterterrorism agent Eve (Rebecca Romijn) to skilled thief Ezekiel (John Harlan Kim). The series is more family-friendly than The Magicians, but there are still engaging and creative storylines that always include some sort of magical element.
10 Supernatural (2005-2020)
Supernatural is one of the longest-running fantasy shows of all time. Following the adventures of two brothers as they hunt all manner of things that go bump in the night, the show has many of the best qualities of The Magicians. The show has a rich mythology, intriguing characters, and the perfect combination of emotional storytelling and heart-stopping plot twists. Therefore, it is no wonder that Sera Gamble, the co-creator of The Magicians, used to be a showrunner on Supernatural.
9 The Shannara Chronicles (2016-2017)
The Shannara Chronicles is equally as underrated as The Magicians. Focusing on a trio’s quest to save their lands from the Demon World, it is a perfect watch for fans of The Magicians who loved the fantastical world of Fillory. The Shannara Chronicles has one of the most unique worlds in TV history, as it takes place in a distant atomic war-ravaged Earth, where magic has emerged to replace science. Importantly, fans of The Magicians will come to love the show’s intricate main characters, who eventually grow to become the heroes that they need to be.
8 Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina (2018-2020)
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a darker and more twisted take on the original series. Following Sabrina Spellman as she tries to balance her magical side with her human one, the show is full of mystery, intrigue, and teenage angst. Fans of The Magicians will love the show’s complex and deep mythology, while also appreciating the show’s realistic understanding of the darker sides of magic.
7 Galavant (2015-2016)
As fans of The Magicians know, the show could be ridiculously absurd at times. For fans who loved this aspect of the show, Galavant should definitely be on their lists. While much of Galavant isn’t like the university setting of The Magicians, the show does have one element fans will enjoy even more than the absurdity – musical numbers.
Created by Dan Fogelman, who is best known as the creator of This Is Us, this medieval musical comedy follows the adventures of a knight on a quest to redeem his reputation and win back the love of his life. Fans who loved how The Magicians incorporated different fantasy genres will appreciate how Galavant expertly draws from well-known fairy tale tropes.
6 Charmed (1998-2006)
The original Charmed is probably the most iconic show concerning witches and magic. Following the Halliwell sisters, a trio of witches as they battle everything from warlocks to demons, it is one of the most successful witch-themed shows of all time. The Magicians has a range of well-developed and complex female characters and therefore, fans will easily fall in love with the Charmed Ones. Although, the show can sometimes border soap opera-like drama, its rich mythology, and enthralling storylines will keep any viewer entertained.
5 Once Upon A Time (2011-2018)
One of the most enchanting aspects of The Magicians was Fillory, a fictional mystical world that turned out to be very real. Similarly, Once Upon A Time, follows the adventures of a woman who quickly learns that the fairy tales of her childhood are not as imaginary as they seem. The show has everything, from the Evil Queen to Captain Hook, and fans will adore how it cleverly combines the fantastical elements of a fairytale world with the modern town of Storybrooke. The movement between the two is not unlike the movement between Fillory, Brakebills, and the non-magical city in The Magicians.
4 Lost Girl (2010-2016)
Lost Girl is perhaps one of the lesser-known fantasy shows. It follows the life of a succubus named Bo, who has to come to terms with her new abilities while trying to figure out her origins. Just as in The Magicians, there is a whole new hidden and mystical world for fans to discover along with the main character. Progressive, well-written, and full of zany characters, the show has a unique take on the fantasy and supernatural genre.
3 Misfits (2009-2013)
As with all great fantasy shows, the success of it depends on the quality of its characters. The Magicians had an interesting, complex, and memorable ensemble of characters that helped ground the show’s otherworldly storyline. Another show that perfectly did this was Misfits. This British sci-fi comedy follows the story of a group of juvenile offenders who unexpectedly gain superpowers. Diverse, clever, and a little silly, the show’s mysterious and sometimes dark storyline will keep viewers glued to their seats.
2 Merlin (2008-2012)
Streaming now on Prime Video and Peacock.
Following the adventures of the legendary Merlin in his younger days as he protects Camelot and Prince Arthur, Merlin is a must-see for fans who loved the medieval aspects of The Magicians. While so many shows like The Magicians have a focus on modern young people discovering magic, Merlin is a new take on the story of King Arthur and his mage and an attempt to hide magic.
Full of exciting adventures, humor, and a complex overarching villain, the series gives viewers a fun and heartfelt look at magic and its consequences. Fans will also be kept entertained by the slow-developing relationship between Guinevere and Prince Arthur.
1 The Order (2019-2020)
Although often more dramatic than scary, The Magicians did have some terrifying and intense moments. Therefore, fans will easily get hooked on The Order, perhaps one of the shows most similar to The Magicians on this list. Following the story of a college student who joins a secret magical order to avenge his mother’s death, the show is unexpected, intriguing, and a little absurd. Fans of The Magicians will also be delighted to see a familiar face in Adam DiMarco (Todd), who plays the resident advisor Randall Carpio in The Order.