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I started watching this show because it seemed I was exactly the demographic to do so — a grad-school-aged young adult who grew up on fantasy fiction. And maybe it's because of that that I can forgive the characters many things, despite how unlikable they initially start out as and how many frustrating/questionable decisions they make. Because it's true — I wasn't initially attached to the angsty characters with all their hang-ups, and even now I have mixed feelings towards some of them. But the premise of deconstructing fantasy series was very compelling and the settings are good all throughout — the trips to the darkly whimsical Fillory are always fun, and the show does urban fantasy very well, mixing mythical creatures with modern-day settings really well ala Percy Jackson, from higher concepts (eg. hedge witches are compared to magical drug dealers) to little details that help the worldbuilding (eg. the Roman god Bacchus is an Instagram influencer, that sort of thing). It helps that the show is immensely self-aware about its fantasy roots and the characters often engage in Conversational Troping. If you've grown somewhat cynical about things like Harry Potter or Narnia, this is worth checking out.
So the show made for decent entertainment even with the relative bumpiness of seasons 1 and 2, even if the plotting was sometimes disjointed and the acting was a mixed bag. For example, Julia's storyline is the best of season 1, but I wasn't a fan of it in season 2, while the Fillory scenes get more entertaining the more invested Eliot and Margo become in ruling it.
However, Season 3 was when the show really stepped up. Putting the Brakebills kids more or less on the same page about The Quest helped wrangle them all and improved the plotting so that it didn't feel as messy, resulting in a story that was exciting and well-paced, with well-balanced character development. There are still some story elements that I personally don't like (such as the Library, which I find rather nebulous and Diabolus ex Machina-y, although I'm sure others would disagree), but overall, it's been solid. I'm looking forward to watching Season 4.
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