Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blacke's Magic - Barney Miller with a Top Hat

Blacke's Magic was a rather dull retread of Bill Bixby's "The Magician", which aired for thirteen episodes in 1986. Despite having a fine cast including Hal Linden and Harry Morgan, the shows writers were the real culprits every episode. Jim Steinmeyer was the magic consultant (at least for the pilot), and apparently was unable to steer the producers away from utilizing optical effects and cheap gimmickry instead of sleights or stage illusions when they couldn't come up with plausible explanations for their story points.
Though it's a bit of a throwaway show, it's worth a watch; especially if you can see it for free. The pilot, "Breathing Room", is available (as are several episodes) for viewing on Youtube.

Though Linden is a good actor and has personality, the series lacks the panache of "The Magician", and definitely the clever characterization and writing of "Jonathon Creek."
Blacke's Magic is not currently available on DVD, and I can't imagine there are legions of fans clamoring for its release.

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