“We’ve had eyeballs and severed heads [on TV before], and I’m all in favor of this,” a TV critic told The Magicians exec producers and cast this morning at TCA, eliciting laughter in the room. “How much horror imagery” can she look forward to in the first season, the critic wondered, speaking volumes.

“More,” EP John McNamara responsed. “The thing about Lev’s books that drew me, because I’m not a huge fantasy fan … everything truly terrifying in these books is what humans to do to each other. So we’re going to lean right into that. Hard. I find the books hilarious, and that’s one of the most fun things to adapt and play with. It’s not pastiche or camp or satire, but the books are very self-aware and extremely funny. The release of writing funny right after horror is … probably the best day job you can have.”

The Magicians is adapted from Lev Grossman’s bestselling fantasy book trilogy. Last month, Syfy aired a commercial-free “sneak peek” of the show following the final installment of miniseries Childhood’s End. The series debuts in its 9 PM Mondays time slot on January 25.

The Magicians comes from Michael London’s Groundswell Productions, Universal Cable Productions and writers McNamara (Aquarius) and Sera Gamble (Supernatural). Jason Ralph stars as Quentin Coldwater, who enrolls in Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, an upstate New York university specializing in magic. Stella Maeve, Hale Appleman, Arjun Gupta and Summer Bishil also star.