How refreshing that Syfy's "Wizard Wars'' on Tuesdays does not involve Hogwarts.
Nothing against Harry Potter, but these wizards are magicians, using basic principles of magic and common objects.
Any one of the contestants would be the sort of person who never has to pay for a drink at a bar. But a couple of them are talented enough that it doesn't take much to envision them holding Las Vegas audiences enthralled.
The show teams up two magicians, who haven't worked together before, and gives them mundane objects to create illusions.
Even watching closely (and rewinding a few times), it is impossible to see how some of the tricks are done.
Penn & Teller are among the judges.
In one tremendous trick, the magicians worked with a deck of cards, a water gun and a whole lot of Spam, the meat in the can variety, not the pesky emails.
One team impressed Penn & Teller by having Penn write his name on a card. One magician covered Penn's hand, and steam wafted out from between their hands. When the card was shown, his signature was gone. The second magician peeled off the top layer of the card, where the suit and number are, and Penn's signature had somehow moved to the middle layer of the card.
When they used the water gun, it sprayed green paint to make for a splattered portrait of Penn, and once that was done, the Spam was found inside the water gun.
And as wonderful as they were, the judges, in last week's premiere, were slightly more impressed with another duo. They worked the crowd well, and Penn maintains a true magician has to know his audience and pick the right person.
Many in this small club setting were used in the tricks. In one, a fencing foil is used. OK, maybe that's stretching the everyday objects part, but one magician somehow extracted the foil from the purse of a woman in the audience.
And, there's something sweet, even magical, about a show where even Penn & Teller are surprised.
Photo/Video credit: Syfy