the magicians season 4 set visit

Real talk: The Magicians is one of the most jam-packed series on TV and has been since it debuted in 2015. As die hard fans know, there’s always a wrench being thrown into the plans of the students at Brakebills, the home base of our core group of characters who’ve gone from young magicians-in-training to queens and kings to people who have grappled with personal conflict as they fight to save the world. To put things lightly, there’s been a whole lot going on—including fascist librarians, evil fairies, and wicked gods who continue to prey on the group in literally every timeline they visit (yes, time traveling is also a thing on this show).

And the ever-evolving plot continues to raise the stakes in season 4, which picks up where season 3 left off with Hale Appleman as the magician formally known as Eliot who’s now been possessed by The Monster. Oh, as for much of the group—Quentin (Jason Ralph), Julia (Stella Maeve), Penny (Arjun Gupta), Margo (Summer BIshil), Kady (Jade Tailor), and Josh (Trevor Einhorn)—their memories were wiped cleaned after they went against the powers that be to restore magic (which was consumed by the Library throughout most of season 3). So, for a moment at the beginning of season 4, these characters have no recollection of their magical selves and have assumed different identities.

Meanwhile, when we meet Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy) in season 4, he’s dealing with the fallout of his students’ actions and their punishment. Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) has been imprisoned for disobeying the Library (a crime nearly impossible to not commit). Fen (Brittany Curran), who’s sort of still Eliot’s wife from the royal realm of Fillory, is now embedded in the group and their main objective (once things really get going this season) of getting Eliot out of the clutches of The Monster, unscathed. Man, that’s a mouthful.

Here are 10 more things we learned about season 4 of The Magicians from the Vancouver set.

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deadly class trailer

If you’ve seen the commercials for SYFY’s new series Deadly Class, in which young misfits are trained to be assassins in a school called King’s Dominion, then you’ve probably already determined that this show is going to be ca-razy (in the best way ever). But beyond the switchblades and the characters’ devilishly deceptive private school uniforms, the show—derived from writer Rick Remender and artist Wesley Craig’s comic book series of the same name—seeks to confront resonating themes of morality, antiestablishment, and mental health that present a conflict among the characters in this 1987-set narrative.

The series also boasts a large young cast of mostly newcomers who take on the roles of diverse youth living on the fringes of society who must fight Battle Royale-style for the acceptance of headmaster Master Lin (Benedict Wong). The story is told through lead character Marcus Lopez (Benjamin Wadsworth), who’s half Nicaraguan, as he enters King’s Dominion after living on the street for two years.

Here are 10 things we learned from the Vancouver set.

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Green Book Whitewashing

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: Green Book whitewashes a black story into oblivion.)

Someone on Twitter asked me the other day, “How do you whitewash the Green Books?” It’s a valid question, given how the new film Green Book sidelines its eponymous subject in favor of its racist white male character (Viggo Mortensen), a professional driver who heads down south from New York City during Jim Crow on tour with a famed black classical pianist (Mahershala Ali) and is effectively cured of his bigotry. As a result, the historical Green Books (or The Negro Motorist Green Books, as they’re officially titled), an invaluable series used by black people to protect themselves from the horrors of racism while traveling, become a mere prop in what’s initially presented as its own story.

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As The Walking Dead zombie crawls to season 9, the question that’s been on many fans’ minds is how the series will keep things fresh and exciting after so many years. Turns out, the answer is completely turning everything we know about this apocalyptic world on its head. With the ascension of writer Angela Kang as the new showrunner and the impending departure of Andrew Lincoln as leader Rick Grimes, change is most definitely in the air.

Here are 10 things we learned while visiting the blistering Atlanta set.

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The Nun imagery

There’s a moment in The Nun when I thought I had it all figured out. It’s when Father Burke (Demian Bichir), the priest sent from the Vatican to investigate the mysterious death of a nun in 1952 Romania, falls and is subsequently trapped inside an open coffin while following behind an ominous presence outside at night. It’s because he comes this close to being yanked deeper into the ground by the creepy phantom fingers of a rabid demonic nun while inside the box. He’s a priest. He shouldn’t be so susceptible to demonic presences, right?

That is, unless this latest installment in the Conjuring series went the way of an early example of modern religious horror — The Exorcist. That 1973 classic also follows a priest sent from the Vatican to investigate a demonic presence, in that case one that overtakes a young girl, and is so terrified by the sight that he drops his Bible right out of his hands. I figured that, like what happens in the William Friedkin-directed film, The Nun would reveal that Father Burke had been struggling with his faith, which effectively leads him to become prey for demonization. I was wrong.

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Women of Crazy Rich Asians

One of the most profound things about Crazy Rich Asians is how it shows Asian and Asian-American people simply living. It sounds basic, but when you consider Hollywood history, much of which erases Asian characters and Asian culture altogether, you know that this is major.  As nearly every advertisement has read: “it’s not a movie; it’s a movement.” But beyond its breezy, romantic, and genuine laugh-out-loud moments, it also shows the power of single women — particularly single women of color. And even more significantly, it highlights the grace, strength, and sheer self-efficacy that embolden so many single mothers and their daughters.

Spoilers for Crazy Rich Asians lie ahead.

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The Purge TV Show Characters

If there’s one thing The Purge movies have taught us, it’s that there’s no telling how someone will react when presented with criminal impunity. Throughout the films, we’ve seen everyone from the poor to the rich, the white to the black, grapple with the spaces they occupy in a capitalist and white supremacist society, and how that motivates them on the night of the Purge — when all crime, especially murder, is completely legal. But while the films have raised questions of morality in a lawless state, they don’t delve into each character’s story and the personal conflicts they’ve faced throughout this intentionally established dystopia.

That’s where the new TV adaptation comes in.

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I’m not one to champion a whole bunch of sequels, prequels, and spinoffs, but let me tell you something — when it was announced that there was going to be a TV adaptation of The Purge, I perked right up. I’m a fan of the film franchise — and its unflinching indictment of our real-life dystopia highlighting our history of violence and rage — and I was interested to see how creator James DeMonaco and producer Jason Blum would expand the story in an episodic format. After visiting their New Orleans set back in June, I can say that at this point I am truly invested.

Premiering September 4 on USA, The Purge will be a 10-episode series that follows several characters as they struggle to survive on the one night of the year when all crime — including murder — is completely legal. As the night wears on, each character is forced to reckon with their past and their own self-motivations as they determine just how far they’ll go to confront the horror around them.

The series, which revolves around the Purge’s standard 12-hour period, is written and executive produced by showrunner Thomas Kelly. Here’s everything we now know from the set visit.

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(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: Spike Lee’s latest movie is his first to cater directly to white audiences and that’s something worth talking about.)

At first glance, BlacKkKlansman checks all of director Spike Lee’s typical boxes — it’s black, unapologetic, and confrontational. It’s distinctly told from the point of view of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first black male police officer-turned-detective in Colorado Springs in the 1970s. That description alone is loaded with conflict, and Lee doesn’t shy away from any of it.

But the crux of the film tells an even more poignant story about this real-life hero, who boldly decides to go undercover in the Ku Klux Klan — with the help of his white Jewish colleague (Adam Driver) as his physical proxy while he infiltrates the hate group behind the scenes and through covert phone calls. It’s a radical plan and a subsequently radical film that succeeds in illuminating, through a common ground of oppression embodied by these two very different men, the true function of the KKK: absolute power and hatred of everyone who is not a white Protestant man.

But it’s the very thing that makes BlacKkKlansman as compelling as much as it is extremely palatable.

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sorry to bother you spoilers

It’s easy to get swept up into the sheer WTF-ness of Sorry to Bother You. A black male telemarketer (Lakeith Stanfield) becomes a white man over the phone in order to accelerate his professional success, subsequently gets swallowed up into the system, and tries to fight the power only after he becomes the mutant creature “the man” has always seen him as. It’s a lot to wrap your head around. But for many black people, this metaphorically captures the struggles that so many face on a day-to-day basis in Corporate America. 

(The rest of this post contains spoilers for Sorry to Bother You.)

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