Magic and Meaning

(Feature image still from The Magicians, “Unauthorized Magic”, Episode 1, Season 1, 2016

In a show where everything is out of this world, sometimes quite literally, “The Magicians”, a new Netflix original, adds a new element to media that I have not seen yet, and it could save lives. We all know that much of what we see on television today tends to lean towards the more negative aspects of life.

Whether it is drugs, sex, shootings, rapes, kidnappings, or the many other sad events that occur almost daily, our minds are constantly being filled with horrible images of our world, and then we are reminded of those facts of life in our fictional shows that we binge watch. “The Magicians” is no excuse. Many of the episodes are filled with drinking, drugs sex, and horrifying actions of one group to another; the difference is that this show is trying to help.

At the end of a few episodes during its first season, the show has been including hotlines that pertain to a major event in that particular episode. In the final episode of the first season there are allusions to a rape that occurred to one of the characters. This was extremely traumatic occurrence in the life of this particular character, as it is in real life as well. At the end, just before the credits, information for the “National Sexual Assault Hotline” pops up with an anonymous phone number and their website link.

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 5.44.22 PM.png(Still from The Magicians, “Have You Brought Me Little Cakes”, Episode 13, Season 1, 2016)

When one of these information pages popped up at the end of an episode, I remember thinking how amazing it is for a producer to add this in. Going back to the fact that most of what is on television, or in movies today contains a lot of horrible things, it is great to see that there are people who truly want to help. Unfortunately it has become so common in television to have such dark themes to create a more ‘entertaining’ story, what this show realized is that just because the show contains some disturbing parts within the story, doesn’t mean that they can’t try and bring awareness to the reality of these themes.

The following article highlights some of the sexual scenes, particular revolving assault, as being sometimes a little much, but still executed better than most shows would have shot them. Similar to their additions of help hotlines after difficult to watch scenes, The Magicians is certainly taking steps in the right direction towards a better type of television.

With the number of people on social media, and watching television today, many of those people may be able to relate to many of those themes, but not know what they can do about it. “The Magicians” knows that many of their viewers can probably relate to all of those themes, so they make sure their viewers know that they can get help. I think that this added feature is an amazing addition to the TV show, and made me like it much more. Not only is their the entertainment of a good TV show, but also respect for the fact that they are using their platform in attempt to help people, bringing meaning to their magic.



Michael Cyphers, Blog1.

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5 Responses to Magic and Meaning

  1. mediaphiles says:

    “The Magicians” sounds like an incredible show. I love the fact that the producer integrated help hotline numbers in the end credits. It’s interesting that they have chosen to do this. As a journalist, I’ve been taught not to include hotline numbers in any articles with the assumption that people will seek these numbers if they need them. This is not the case, however, and many people benefit from having the information presented to them. I haven’t seen the show, but I am interested to know if all problems are as severe as rape or alcoholism? Does the show deal with less flashy mental health issues that viewers may connect with? I definitely want to check it out.

  2. What a unique choice. It is always interesting to me when directors choose to acknowledge the social influence of their work. The influence of the media is almost impossible to tease out because it is so heavily integrated within our culture now. We had a discussion last semester about the American rating system and how it is so lenient in allowing violence, yet is more cautious around sexual acts. I think your post is very relevant to this discussion.

  3. mediaphiles says:

    Wow, really interesting! I definitely want to check this show out. I agree with you that it is often the case that very real (but, very disturbing) themes—from drugs to rape to murder—have become a point of interest in the media. Far to often, these issues are glamorized rather than addressed as serious problems that a lot of Americans are familiar with. I think it’s so interesting that the makers of this show are recognizing their responsibility to act as a voice and a source of safety for people who are experiencing these all-too-real situations.

    -Lydia Geisel

  4. marymdalton says:

    Interesting post. Have not seen this, but I’m intrigued by your perspective and Caitlin’s point. Lots to think about…

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