I have been devouring Penn And Teller: Fool Us on YouTube (I believe is airs on the CW in America).
Many, many years ago I was tasked with learning some basic magic tricks (the kind that more or less work themselves) to help drum up attention for a community event. Yeah, it sounds really nerdy. Anyways, there is a thrill associated with leaving your audience wondering how you did what you did and I quickly adopted magic as a small hobby. I’m digging myself deeper here, aren’t I? I read books and I watched instructional videos and I learned that I will never have the dexterity to do what I wish I could do. This is all a preface to say that I quite enjoy the mechanics and the artistry behind magic, though many of the theatrics are not for me.
Penn and Teller are excellent magicians - some of the best of the modern era - but more so than that they are students of the art. You will not find anyone who knows more about the history of illusions and how the craft has evolved through the years. No matter what you think of their personalities, they clearly have a deep love and respect for the craft and don’t suffer some of the buffoonery that is often associated with it.
The hook of the show is that magicians are given a chance to perform a trick in front of the duo and a live audience in the hopes that P&T can’t figure out how they do it. Occasionally they are fooled and I take great pleasure in seeing master craftsmen astonished by what someone in their own field has accomplished. Whether they are fooled or not, though, the show is a highlight of some of the greatest practicing magicians and there are some truly astonishing acts.
On the plus side, there aren’t many of those lame Chris Angel street performers or the overly-dramatic Copperfoeld types. There is also a lot more slight of hand magic, so don’t expect to see many of the giant Copperfield-style stage performances.