Review: The Wizards of Aus

Late last year we shared the trailer for the Australian comedy mini-series The Wizards of Aus and last night it hit our screens and (thankfully) was made available worldwide thanks to SBS and the SBS On Demand streaming service.

Having watched all 6 episodes, I can heartily recommend it to fans of Australian comedy, the fantasy genre and geeks in general, though I admit I fall right in the middle of the target demographic as a comedy loving fantasy fan from the western suburbs of Melbourne.

While there are six episodes (Honk, Lotus, Magic By Moonlight, Canvassing, The Ballad of Baby Bones and Molten Gelatinous Sex Ball, though the OnDemand app doesn’t do the greatest job of explaining that as the episode order) the total run time is around 85 minutes, with the finale Molten Gelatinous Sex Ball clocking in the longest at 17:47 and the second last episode The Ballad of Baby Bones only 11 minutes and 39 seconds as the shortest episode.

We join hapless and socially inept Wizard Jack as he moves from the wizard world to the most liveable city in ours, Melbourne, leaving behind some flashback references to fantasy icons like The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter to navigate the mundane challenges of applying for a recycling bin and speed dating while facing the politics of immigration and the media circus, and the premise doesn’t fail to deliver.

Michael ShanksMenik Gooneratne and Mark Bonanno all nailed it in the leading roles and Guy Pearce didn’t fail to impress in the first episode as an all too familiar conservative media type, but I definitely have to single out Mark Mitchell‘s performance as Senator Quinn as one of the absolute highlights of the series, with some true blue, dinky die slang and a campaign song that speaks to the green and gold in our veins.

While the high fantasy elements were sometimes noticeable for their less than Hollywood quality, for the most part the effects were suitably fantastic to keep the show rolling along, making magic part of the world of the show without breaking attention away from the smart writing and hilarious performances.

While the frequent matey potateys and swearing might tip the show onto the wrong side of ridiculousness for foreign viewers, or Australians that are used to a different tone of comedy, I absolutely chuckled my way through the amusingly nonsensical segments only to be caught by the genuinely hilarious moments that are woven throughout.

If you’re yet to watch The Wizards of Aus, not only are you missing some great new Australian comedy and one of the better original geek programs going around, but you’re yet to witness one of the most beautiful romantic conclusions ever captured on film.