A Kind of Magic

Small Screen Specials, Series and Direct-To-Video
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A Kind of Magic

Postby droosan » September 20th, 2009, 11:58 pm

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For the past few years, I've been following the development of a french animated TV series whose english title came to be A Kind of Magic (it is now known as simply Magic in France; though, for a long time before it had aired, it was titled La Famille Féerique -- "The Magical Family").

I had mainly become interested in this show due to the involvement of Arthur De Pins, who is among my favorite current illustrators. He had posted some early design work for the show on his website several years back, and it immediately struck me that this would be a whimsically wonderful cartoon TV series.

From what little I have managed to see of the finished show, that first impression seems to have been correct. It feels kinda like someone mushed together classic 'magical' TV series such as I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, and The Addams Family .. mixed in a dash of japanese 'magical' anime series like Minky Momo, Witch Sari, and Urusei Yatsura .. and filtered it all through a slick and appealing (yet, nearly abstract) graphic 'look' which can be compared favorably with modern TV design gems like Samurai Jack or Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.

Take a look at the main title:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgj3bHhzImI[/youtube]

The series began airing on France 3 (and also on France's Disney Channel) in December of 2008. 26 episodes were ordered; though, I am unsure how many have been produced/aired, thus far. The show is also seen in Germany, Italy, Spain, Asia, South America, and Australia. Sadly -- although an 'english-language' voice track has been produced for that last market -- I have yet to find any news of A Kind of Magic seeing release in North America or Great Britain. :(

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The mother and father are Willow the fairy and Gregore the (vegetarian) ogre. Their relationship is apparently frowned-upon in their 'magical' world -- so, the couple emigrates to the 'real' world to escape this prejudice, and to raise their son Tom and daughter Cindy (short for Cinderella..?) in relative peace. Unfortunately, the sharp-tongued witch Ferocia, stuffy Monseigneur (an aged frog prince still in search of that elusive kiss), and fast-talking G the genie (who has eschewed living within lamps in favor of laptops or cell phones) have also tagged along.

Most of the humor stems from the magical immigrants' 'fish-out-of-water' antics which threaten to expose their 'magic-ness' to the decidedly normal next-door neighbors. It is usually up to Tom (who seems to be the most 'normal' member of the family) to reign-in the silliness and save the day.

Several clip scenes from the show can be viewed by clicking the various characters on the official Magic website .. though, of course, both the clips and the website are in french language only.

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Have any of our Continental (or Australian) A-N&V members seen the show..? Any word of a DVD collection coming soon .. :?:

Of course, if anyone has learned for certain whether this show will make it to North American/British broadcast -- I'd certainly be interested to know!

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Postby Ben » September 21st, 2009, 5:54 am

Hey Droo...I haven't seen anything on this before now, and I don't recall seeing it listed in the recent MIP catalog of children/family shows, for good reason as it turns out, as it was actually at the market being sold in 2007.

It's certainly got very high production value, and I'm loving the look and fluid animation, and was going to guess and say it won't be very long before <I>someone</I> picks it up for English language viewing, but looking into it I see the production date was 2006/07, which is odd that no-one's picked it up before now, especially considering the popularity it had at MIP.

How strange that a show could come and go like that? I'll certainly keep my eye out to see if it airs here at all or if there's a DVD. The best bet is probably to keep checking Amazon France, since their DVDs often have English options.

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Postby droosan » September 21st, 2009, 8:28 am

Thanks, Ben. :)

It is strange that A Kind of Magic seems not to have any 'buzz' in the english-speaking media world .. especially considering the big 'splash' which it had apparently made at the 2007 MIPCOM -- and the fact that Disney Channel France supports the show. It is also a bit odd, as you'd noted, that the series was 'sold' (with great enthusiasm from a number of world-wide markets) in 2007, but didn't air in France until very-late 2008.

I think it was around 2005 when I'd first discovered Arthur De Pins' character designs for the show. Since then, I have poked around french websites and blogs every few months looking for info. David Gilson (known to some here as the artist behind the 'concept' drawings of Princess Tiana, which were actually just his own 'fan-art') also works on the show, and posts info on airdates, etc on his blog from time to time.

Although, ever since the french title was changed from La Famille Féerique to the thoroughly generic one-word Magic .. these occasional online searches have become more frustrating. :?

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Postby droosan » September 22nd, 2009, 6:36 pm

Here's a batch of fun promo interstitials featuring each of the main characters ..

bonus: no knowledge of french required! :)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ5BC9AO4tY[/youtube]

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Postby GeorgeC » September 29th, 2009, 5:43 am

I'd be surprised if this show didn't appear in Canada at some point.

A lot of the British and French shows do get exported to Canada.

Heck, a lot of shows now are co-productions between the Brits, Cannucks, and French!


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Agreed about Arthur de Pins' style. Interesting.

He has a couple of sketchbooks out. They show up in Previews once in a while in the international section of the catalog and I know Stuart Ng has a few of them for sale on his website, too.

De Pins' student film, Geraldine, caused a bit of a storm a few years ago and is can seen on the web or downloaded.

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Postby droosan » October 6th, 2009, 12:14 am

Arthur De Pins has also been creating a series of vignettes chronicling the problems faced by a species of crab which can only walk along a single axis for their entire lives .. the latest of which is this absurd gem:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc5kfJv4hO8[/youtube]

De Pins not only wrote and animated this piece; he also provides the voice for the male crab. :)

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Just to keep this 'on topic', here's some of Arthur De Pins' development art for A Kind of Magic:

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.. I'm still keeping an eye out for this series on either european or australian DVD (or -- dare I hope -- american or canadian TV). No sign of it, thus far. :(

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Re: A Kind of Magic

Postby Ghostbuster Man » July 22nd, 2010, 1:24 am

I hope they put it out in America soon.

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Re: A Kind of Magic

Postby droosan » July 22nd, 2010, 3:05 am

In the time since starting this topic, I have -- by the good graces of a friend from Australia -- managed to see some episodes of this show, by .. 'less-than-legitimate' means. :oops: I can happily report that the show's storytelling is every bit as delightful and whimsical as its visual style!

It is kind of annoying that the similarly-themed Neighbors From Hell is airing in prime-time on TBS, while this gem of a show remains absent from american airwaves. :?

Still no word of even a DVD release anywhere in the world, however. :|

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Re: A Kind of Magic

Postby Chris-One » February 19th, 2011, 3:31 pm

You saw the similarities to A Kind of Magic and Neighbors from Hell too?