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There are a lot of elements that actively work agains the conceit of BBC’s The Magicians. Celebrities that barely have time to get in sync with magic routines they don’t know the beats to, the sheer volume of tricks (four per magic act, 12 total) performed, a live element that doesn’t add a lot but does leave flabby timing miscues on display not to mention a profoundly silly “forfeit” challenge at the end of the program which dares the viewer to believe a bit of geek magic they’ve seen a million times is somehow more dangerous than getting hit by a bus, which they saw survived 15 minutes prior.

The Magicians - Series 2 Episode 1 - YouTube-1.jpg

But with all that said, there was a lot to like in the debut episode of the program, which you can find if you go to a very popular video uploading site and search for BBC The Magicians before the powers that be yank it down.

It all comes down to one word: personality.

The addition of Jason Latimer and Pete Firman were very shrewd. Latimer brings an inventiveness to his routines while Firman stands apart as the performer most comfortable on-screen with embracing the live format. In his live routines he hams it up with his chatterbox celebrity companion giving a much needed likability to what could otherwise seem like a magic death march of dry trick after dry trick after dry trick.

Barry and Stuart also demonstrate why they were the lone act brought back from last year’s run. There is a genuine, unique charisma along with staged multi-level bits that always remember to trigger laughs as well as magic moments.

The more likable our performers are the more the celebrities feel comfortable and the show succeeds. Simple as that.