The cast and showrunners of The Magicians gathered at the “Hall of Magic” in New York City on Thursday to talk about what new magic fans can expect out of season two of the Syfy series.

“I think that season two is a lot bigger, broader, darker,” shared Stella Maeve who plays Julia Wicker on the show, which follows the misadventures of 20-something misanthrope Quentin Coldwater. In season one, Quentin discovers that the magical world he has always read about in fantasy novels is actually real and that he’s just been admitted to the magician’s version of Harvard.

Scaling up is a big theme for the show’s sophomore season as producers both expand the magical universe that the show explores and also try to broaden the series’ fan base.

“I think at any time when you’re dealing with a season two in this new dis-aggregated media market is that you can’t take anything for granted,” said Alexandra Shapiro, executive vice president of marketing and digital for USA Network and Syfy.

“We have this amazing built-in fan base from season one, many of whom were lovers of Lev Grossman’s books [on which the series is based], and it did incredibly well for Syfy, but for season two we asked: how can we scale this? How can we expand and introduce this to new audiences?” Shapiro said.

Part of the answer was releasing season one on Netflix, a move Shapiro described as “a big scale play for us,” introducing the franchise to a whole new audience.

But the show’s producers have been meticulous about “superserving” its rabid fan base, Shapiro said. Thursday’s event – an immersive experience dubbed the “Hall of Magic” that takes fans through theme rooms – like a library with flying books and a potions room featuring a mixologist whipping up enchanted cocktails – is part of connecting with the show’s “hungry” fans while exposing a broader audience to its charms.

Olivia Taylor Dudley, who plays Alice Quinn, said she was surprised at the diverse audience the show is reaching.

“The most fascinating part for me on the show is that I think I expected the Harry Potter fans or the Dungeons & Dragons fans – that’s who I am, I’m a big nerd – but what the show has attracted are all these people of many different generations. So many people have come up to me and told me their grandparents watch the show too!”

Dudley credits the show’s racier themes with drawing in a generation of viewers who grew up with Harry Potter but are now looking for something a bit more adult.

“I think that the show connects with the audience because it has more humanity in it than Harry Potter does—when you get older you’re dealing with more adult situations,” Dudley said.

Hale Appleman, who plays Eliot Waugh, said fans will be impressed with the show’s technical leaps as well.

“This season you’re going to get a more physically beautiful show,” Appleman said. “The way it’s being shot is exquisite. It’s all taking a huge step forward.”

The Magicians returns to Syfy on January 25.


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