A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series reveals the secrets behind some of the most famous illusions of all time, including levitation, disappearances, and being severed by a buzz saw. There's no violence, but some of the stunts involve dangerous equipment or situations (underwater escape, for instance) and could be life-threatening, so you'll want to remind kids that the performers they're watching are seasoned pros. Though the narrator often remarks about the attractiveness of the scantily clad female assistants, on the whole this captivating series is perfect for inquiring families with older kids and up, and it's sure to change the way you and your kids look at magic.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In MAGIC'S BIGGEST SECRETS FINALLY REVEALED, a professional magician lifts the cover on some of the trade's most impressive illusions. Like the original series from 1998, this version stars illusionist Val Valentino as the Masked Magician, who takes viewers behind the scenes to discover how the pros make assistants disappear, catch bullets in their teeth, and walk through steel walls. The series also includes tutorials that teach viewers simple party tricks like making a toothpick disappear and pressing a cap through a glass bottle.
Is it any good?
First, a word of caution: If you like being mystified by magic and illusions, then this series will be a major letdown. By the end of one 60-minute episode, not only will you be an expert on the stunts you've seen revealed, but you'll come to view any others you see in the future with a highly critical eye. The narrator's explanations of how the pros use lighting, props, and assistants to channel an audience's attention toward -- and away from -- certain aspects of a trick means that from this day forward, you'll find yourself analyzing every move a magician makes to discover what it hides.
But if you crave knowing the tricks of the illusionary trade, then this riveting series is for you -- and with virtually no worrisome content, it's a great choice for families with older kids and up. Magic aficionados of all ages will also enjoy the show's how-to sessions that break down simple tricks that they themselves can use to amaze their friends. Just be sure you restate to kids the obvious caution against trying the more dangerous tricks (those involving buzz saws, for instance) on their own.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how performers control the image that they present to audiences. What kinds of tricks do illusionists use to shock their viewers? How is this made easier by using cameras for a recorded show? Does that strike you as dishonest, or is it just the nature of entertainment?
How are camera tricks used to create an image for celebrities? How do
the images you see on television or in magazines affect your idea of
Talk about Valentino's decision to break the magicians'
code. Why do you think he made this series? How do you think other
professional illusionists feel about what he's done?