|Television in 2015 is shaping up to be all about magicians.
Syfy Channel is leading the charge, with at least two new shows that feature magicians. “Troy: Street Magic,” which debuted on Jan. 13 at 10 p.m., follows British street magician Troy von Scheiber as he travels through London performing tricks and stunts for enamored crowds.
Scheiber’s major tricks include making it rain in the financial district of London and teleporting himself across the Tower bridge. The unscripted reality series is expected to run 10 episodes.
Another Syfy series, simply titled “The Magicians,” will feature a group of fictional magicians based on the characters in Lev Grossman’s popular book trilogy, which has been described as a sort of Harry Potter for adults. The first book follows its protagonist from Brooklyn to a secret college of magic against a backdrop of sex, drugs, and magic tricks.
The pilot was recently filmed on location in New Orleans, partly in a location that served as a frat house in “American Horror Story: Coven.” Syfy has yet to determine whether “The Magicians” will be picked up as a full series.
Showrunner Sera Gamble discovered Grossman’s books through an Amazon recommendation and instantly asked her agent to pursue the rights. Eventually, she and a few other writers and producers obtained the rights and wrote a pilot on spec.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, BBC recently confirmed that the first episode in Season 9 of the ever-popular show “Doctor Who” will be titled The Magician’s Apprentice. The episode is currently being filmed in Cardiff, Wales.
Speculation is rampant about the title, which could be a nod to actor Peter Capaldi’s magician-like take on the titular Doctor or a signal that his companion Clara, played by Jenna Coleman, will play the role of a student in the coming series.
Of course, with the time-traveling nature of the show, they could also be traveling back in time to meet Houdini, so for now, most theories will have to go unconfirmed.
“As far as I’m concerned, magic in the public eye is always a good thing,” says mentalist Kevin Viner. “It makes people wonder: ‘Do they use camera tricks? Is it CGI?’ But from experience consulting on television myself, there really aren’t camera tricks. Just a lot of sweat and hard work. And behind every actor playing a magician, there is normally a magic consultant like myself somewhere behind the scenes to make sure it is presented correctly.”