2016 was a huge year for magic on television. Astounding effects on shows like Penn & Teller: Fool Us, AGT, and The Carbonaro Effect, have left us, as well as millions of others, begging for these miracles to be revealed. But while we’ve seen effects that are utterly incredible, some fell short of the mark. Here we provide a brief showcase of what 2016 had to offer, as the year draws to a close.
Eschen’s performance is what we long for in magic. Anyone can churn out a few good tricks in rapid succession, but it takes a real performer to truly entertain. As Penn says in the afterword critique of Eschen--the guy is really funny. Eschen’s deadpan sense of humor made what was otherwise a simple trick into a genuinely enjoyable performance. Eschen is the kind of magician that gets us excited to perform and for that we thank him. We’re sure we’ll see a lot more of him in the future.
This year on America’s Got Talent, The Clairvoyants proved to the magic community just how powerful mentalism can be by taking their act all the way to the final round. The charming European duo created magic that didn’t just impress, but actively inspired wonder within everyone in the theatre. In the above video, watch and appreciate how The Clairvoyants are both playful and enthusiastic in their performance, and marvel at the sheer impossibility of their feat.
Brundage’s magic is utterly refreshing. These days with magicians we either see cards, coins, mentalists, or grandiose illusions the likes of David Copperfield. Steven Brundage turns this all on its head with his baffling Rubik’s Cube magic. Although Brundage didn’t win it all, his effects were some of the most incredible we’ve seen. If you haven’t witnessed his special brand of miracles yet, we implore you to watch the video above-- you won’t regret it.
We’ve all seen it--russian roulette with a spike and three paper bags. It still makes our hearts pound when we see it--but when it’s done well, it’s one hell of a trick. Unfortunately for one unlucky presenter, an Easter European magician used not his own hand but that of his spectator’s, when the trick went horribly wrong. If you’re not one to practice these kinds of tricks, stick to D-Lites and the we’ll all be much better off.
Gertner’s effect on Fool Us was astounding, but what was more incredible was his approach to the difficult task of fooling two titans of magic. Gertner raises a crucial point-- to fool a magician you must take advantage of not what they don’t know, but what they know already. On his appearance, Gertner did just that and took home the coveted title of “Fooler.” For more of Gertner’s thinking be sure to check out Magical Thinking, Episode 25.
David Blaine’s newest special is part magic show, part documentary. Of course there are great card magic, mental magic, and delightful celebrity reactions to enjoy, but this special in particular follows a much more emotional journey - the conflicting feelings amongst the team regarding David’s most dangerous stunt, the bullet catch, and his obsessive need to put himself in true danger. It’s great television, and we’re excited to see how David’s new special resonates within the zeitgeist.
While the year’s not yet over, and more magic is sure to come, we’re excited and inspired by what we’ve seen so far. And we’ve learned that people should really stop performing that Russian Roulette routine.