Wizards of Waverly Place TV Poster Image

Wizards of Waverly Place



Magic, mischief, and lessons for young tweens.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show is primarily intended to entertain, but kids will take away pointers about being a good friend, sibling, and family member.

Positive messages

The show has positive messages about family, responsibility, friendship, honesty, and making good decisions, and each episode includes a lesson that's emphasized at the story's end.

Positive role models

Characters aren't perfect by any means, but they always learn from their mistakes. Typical teen and tween behavior includes sibling arguments, mild rebellion against parental authority (a girl tricks her father so she can go to a clothing sale, for instance), and bickering among female peers. Many teen girl characters are obsessed with physical image, clothes, and shopping.

Violence & scariness

Magical mishaps sometimes result in some bumps or collisions, but it's all fairly benign, and injuries are rare.

Sexy stuff

Some episodes deal with mild boy-girl issues like flirting, crushes, and first kisses.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's little to worry about in this Disney sitcom about a trio of siblings with magical powers. Each episode offers positive messages about responsibility, honesty, and making good decisions, and characters learn from their mistakes. Teen girls are sometimes portrayed as image-driven and shopping-obsessed, and some mildly rebellious behavior (a girl uses magic to help sneak out of the house for a clothing sale, for example) is common. Older tweens might find the squeaky-clean package a bit on the cheesy side, but it's fine for younger ones.

What's the story?

To casual observers, Justin (David Henrie), Alex (Selena Gomez), and Max Russo (Jake T. Austin) are typical siblings, living in Manhattan with their parents, Jerry (David DeLuise) and Theresa (Maria Canals Barrera). In truth, the siblings are anything but ordinary: They inherited powers from their dad's side of the family and are actually wizards in training, learning the ins and outs of their magical craft. But despite Jerry's best intentions, their focus often strays from his careful instruction when they realize their powers can be used for more entertaining endeavors. As their magical powers strengthen, Justin, Alex, and Max must learn to control them -- and identify appropriate times for their use -- or run the risk of losing them altogether.

Is it any good?


WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE is full of standard Disney TV fare: a nuclear family headed by two devoted (if often outwitted) parents, tweens and teens with woes that young viewers will easily relate to (a snobby rival who lives to embarrass a teen girl, for example), and squeaky-clean content. There's little here to worry parents of the show's target tween audience; while there's often some mild misbehaving of some sort going on, in the end, important lessons are learned and consequences are faced.

If you're looking for a worry-free series to transition your young tween into the next stage of entertainment, Wizards of Waverly Place might be right up your alley. But don't be surprised if older tweens -- who will easily see through the predictable storylines -- find the package a bit hokey.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how siblings relate to each other. Kids: Do you think the characters' relationships are realistic? If you have siblings, how are the show's characters similar to you and your brothers and sisters? How are they different?

  • Is it ever difficult to get along with siblings? Why? What do you do then?

  • Do you think you would be closer to your family if you all shared a secret like the young wizards in the show do?

TV details

Premiere date:October 12, 2007
Cast:David Henrie, Jake T. Austin, Selena Gomez
Network:Disney Channel
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Book characters, Friendship
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Adult Written bysydneypine April 9, 2008

beware of waverly place ESPECIALLY if you have a daughter

Diligent parents beware. Alex is a girl obsessed with how she looks and what boy likes her. She fails tests effortlessly and shows no concern for her poor grades. In fact, she tells her brother that she doesn't worry about making good grades b/c she's more worried about not ending up alone. What message are we sending our girls? Look pretty, act dumb and find a man that will want to date and take care of you. For a girl so young she has one singular obsession boys. Even her love of clothing is driven to get a guy. Her interest in spells are driven to get a guy. If this very disturbing lack of independence and self knowledge isn't disturbing enough. Look at the contrast between Alex and the other males. The males of the family are smart and achievers (father teaches the kids in magic). The sons are all competent in magic as Alex stumbles along usually lucking out in the end. Lesson learned? Men are naturally smart and achieve. Girls should have no interest in being intellectual and don't worry someone will save you in the end. Alex doesn't have to be be a "nerd" but Fs are unexceptable. In one episode, Alex fails spanish (she is half hispanic on her mother's side, while father teaches the kids his heritage mother does not. very patriarchial). The only reason she has an interest in passing is to (guess) get a date w/ a guy. Overall, i'd say watch closely and discuss these issues w/ your kids. If you are into female empowerment, stay clear!
Teen, 17 years old Written byJesusLuvsYew May 14, 2011


The "WizardsVs. Angels" episode was very offensive! They made the good angels look like a bunch of giggly idiots who can't protect themselves. Also there is no such thing as a "dark angel". Not at all for Christans. This isn't funny at all.
Teen, 14 years old Written by96grlpowrCE March 5, 2010

The fact that they gave this an Emmy is almost sickening.

Wizards Of Waverly Place is highly overrated. I'm surprised to see Common Sense calling it wholesome and whatnot. Whoever wrote the review clearly has not seen the average episode. The show is about three kids-- a pre-teen named Max Russo, and two older teens named Alex Russo and Justin Russo. Somehow, they inherited magic powers, and their father gives them magic lessons. The catch is only one of them can keep their powers when they grow up. The kids constantly go behind their parents' back and use their powers for their own gain, always causing some sort of problem. The kids are awful rolemodels, such as Alex, who is materialistic, irresponsible, and just unlikable in general. Her character is probably the worst in the show. For example, the other night my sisters were watching an episode in which she explicity says she hates helping people, and later in the episode, she criticizes others for wanting to help people solely for rewards and not wanting to help people out of the goodness of their hearts. She often makes rude remarks to her best friend Harper for being herself and wearing unique clothes, and to her brother Justin for being himself and being responsible. I don't know how Disney thinks that kids should be able to identify with such a mean-spirited girl. Without the character of Alex, the show would be a lot more wholesome. Not only does this show not send good messages to its viewers, but it lacks humour (the laughter effect button is practically abused), is not very well-written, and the special effects are terribly cheap for Disney. If you want to watch a more age-appropriate and more enjoyable show involving kids with magical powers, look for Sabrina: The Animated Series or The Secret World Of Alex Mack on video.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism


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