- Image Courtesy Netflix
- COMEDY MEETS MAGIC Justin Willman hosts the Netflix show Magic for Humans, which released its second season in early December.
What's it rated? TV-14
Fake or real, staged or authentic, Magic for Humans is an entertaining combination of an on-the-street magic series and sketch-comedy show.
Magician and comedian Justin Willman hosts the show, which just aired its second season on Netflix in December. Each season has six episodes of less than 30 minutes each, making it extremely easy to breeze through without overstaying its welcome and becoming redundant.
Produced by Abso Lutely Productions—the company behind Nathan for You—the show centers each episode on different human-based themes, like love, guilt, and wonder. The show comes across as heartfelt, but thankfully it never gets too serious or too full of itself.
Willman, who is incredibly charming and charismatic throughout, performs illusions for random people on the street or in the park that often involve cards or making objects appear in sealed containers. These fast-paced shorter segments are shown in between larger, more elaborate illusions that somehow relate to that episode's theme.
For example, in the fourth episode of the first season, titled "Seeing is Believing," Willman uses a crowd of people to convince two people that he's turned them invisible. It's incredibly entertaining to watch one of the participants absolutely lose it while Willman steps away for a phone call in the middle of the stunt, leaving the dude to continue thinking he's invisible.
Because this is a TV show and not an in-person performance, there's always the lingering suspicion that stunts, such as making people believe they're invisible, are only possible through actors and fancy camera tricks. Willman states this isn't true during the episodes, but that hasn't stopped a lot of people from discrediting the work. Browsing through the reviews on IMDb returns a plethora of one-star reviews slamming the show for relying on green screens and camera editing.
Willman has continued to deny this is the case and has even responded to people on Reddit backing up his assertion. During an illusion in the second episode of the second season, he doubles down on the claim that the show is totally authentic while brilliantly trolling his critics.
As a reporter, I come equipped with a healthy dose of skepticism, so I understand where these critics are coming from. In one episode, Willman throws a glass bottle tied to a string into the ocean, and then throws somebody's cell phone in the water shortly after. When he pulls on the rope and retrieves the bottle, the phone is somehow inside it. I genuinely don't understand how that's possible.
But regardless, I've chosen to believe Willman is telling the truth, if only because it makes the show much more entertaining. Besides, with all of the serious shit we have to deal with on a daily basis, it's nice to just sit back and allow ourselves to be amazed every once in a while. Δ