Wizard Wars



Magic competition features fun; some iffy images.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

It's a competition but highlights the kinds of skills magicians must have to put on a good overall act that's both exciting and appealing.

Positive role models

Penn and Teller, along with the other judges, act as mentors and offer constructive advice. 


Illusions often include actions that are seemingly painful or appear mildly violent. Toy soaker guns, fencing foils, axes, and other weapons are visible. One trick is based on stealing and stabbing someone. 


Occasional mild sexual innuendo.

Not applicable

Occasionally brand-name items such as Spam and Altoids are used for props; their labels are prominently featured. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Wizard Wars features magicians competing for cash by performing sequences of magic tricks. Some of the acts rely on mildly violent material (references to stabbings and so on) and occasional, subtle innuendo that likely will go over the heads of younger viewers. Props include real and fake weapons, cigars, and even noted food items such as Spam and Altoids. Young magic fans might be drawn to this show, but older kids will be able to appreciate the magic lessons taught here a bit better. 

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What's the story?

WIZARD WARS is a competition series that pits illusionists against each other to see who can give the most magical performance using everyday objects. Hosted by Ellen Fox, the series features a panel of resident magicians, aka "wizards," made up of two-time World Championship of Magic winner Gregory Wilson, Las Vegas magician Shimshi, YouTube celeb Justin Flom, and Angela Funovits, an internationally renowned mentalist. They watch as two teams of guest magicians try to impress judges Penn and Teller, magician and astronomer Christen Gerhar, and World Champion of Magic Jason Latimer by performing tricks using the same three ordinary props. The winning team then moves on to a wizard war, where they face off against two wizards for $10,000. In between challenges, the judges teach audiences some of the principles of magic.

Is it any good?


From amazing card illusions to mind tricks, the show offers viewers the chance to see how magicians use universal tricks of the trade to showcase their individual talents regardless of the props they use. Meanwhile, it also shows some of the skills they must have when working with other illusionists to create acts that both impress and entertain. 

Most of the tricks featured here will appeal to magic fans of all ages. However, there are a few that appear painful or seem potentially dangerous. Some of the acts rely on some subtle sexual references as a way to be funny. But for those old enough to handle it, there's a lot to enjoy here. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about magic. What are some of the principles of magic? Can anyone learn how to do magic tricks by learning those principles? Where do people go to learn how to conduct tricks and illusions? Can aspiring magicians really learn by watching TV shows such as this one? 

TV details

Cast:Penn Jillette, Miles Teller, Ellen Fox
Genre:Reality TV
Topics:Magic and fantasy
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byjgfox October 21, 2014

Wizard Wars ... a contest that generates superb Magic

I’m not a Magic Groupie or, as one Magician called them “Wand Waxers”, but I found the format and the performances fascinating. It is produced by Penn & Teller who are the greatest Magical Showmen of our times. OK if not the Best … in the top Two. Two teams of amateur Magicians compete with each other by producing the best Performance and Trick as determined by a panel of Wizard Judges. That Team then competes against a team of two professional for the $10K prize. I think the real Prize is the “jump start” of their careers by winning against the Pros. And the Tricks developed using some strange assigned props and under tight time pressure are amazing. In the first episode the Canadian Team use Penn as a “volunteer” and performed a burning card trick in his hand that even amazed Penn who exclaimed ... “I never saw THIS one before!” No camera wizardry is used and the performances are in front of a live audience. I found the Judging as interesting as the Tricks. The panel judges Total Performance and not just the Trick. How cohesive was the presentation? What was the chemistry between the two partners and how their command of the audience? It’s rated on its Totality as an Act. The Host, Ellen Fox, does a great job in moving the show along. She is a self-declared Muggle, who acts as an Ambassador between the Audience and the Magicians.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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