John Walker's Electronic House

More Phenomenon

by on Nov.08, 2007, under Television

I’ve finally managed to get hold of the full version of Phenomenon episode two, and it’s far more ludicrous than simply the fight. The bemusing format spirals off into madness. There are ten contestents, who will be gradually voted off. But not in any order the audience could ever guess at. In the first week four magicians performed their half-arsed routines with various degrees of pretending it was psychic power, and then the viewers were told to vote. This week, all four of them did a quick one minute trick (and it really was just lame tricks by this point, without the time to pretend it was the magic of their dead brother), and then the final six did the same. Now, two of the first four are getting thrown off. Huh?

It’s so astonishingly poorly conceived. But worse is Tim Vincent’s ludicrous, biased presentation. His script requires him to announce that we will “believe the impossible” and so on, calling them “remarkable people” rather than “mediocre magicians”. When they were going through some bullshit about channelling spirits to achieve that which most magicians can do without the help of the undead, it was silly. When they’re performing really standard party magic, especially with the dire sleight of hand on display from some, Vincent just sounds like a lunatic.

The only female competitor took part in episode two, and you’d think she was the first woman any of them had ever met. Obsessed over the fact that this magician contained a vagina, they asked her if she felt she was representing all women ever. Embarrassing fawning over her, even from Angel, had the exact opposite effect of their intent, seeming like something from the 1950s.

However, it did feature the first decent act by a man called Mike Super. He did an excellent prediction trick, based on multiple participants’ suggestions, with a wonderful finish where the audience found they had the final part – the time 3:13 – printed on their hands in UV paint. Which is just a lovely way to end a trick. So when it came to the judges, Uri of course didn’t like it. Why? Because as Criss Angel immediately pointed out, he hadn’t claimed he was psychic. To which Super immediately responded categorically stating that he makes no such claim. It was a refreshing moment in this pile of woo-woo tosh. Of course, despite this they edited his intro movie to try to imply that there was something there, chopping up his comments about his parents’ dying to sound like it was somehow involved in his act. Cretinous producers.

When I wrote about it before, I mentioned MAGICIAN Uri Geller’s pathetic moment where he gets to use his brainrape on the viewing public. When I joked that he’d be asking us to pick a number from 3 to 5, I also had in mind suggesting he’d stoop so low as to do the 9 planets trick. Where the nine planets (Pluto keeps his old status for this maths-based trick to work) are in a circle, you pick one, and the follow his instructions about counting back and forth. AND SOMEHOW HE KNOWS WHICH ONE YOU’LL LAND ON! Now, perhaps this nonsense could be gotten away with when most people didn’t have a VCR, but in the age of DVR and torrents, only a complete moron would attempt this, surely? It’s a simple maths exercise, whichever you choose always resulting in landing on Venus. So anyone with the show recorded can go back and check. So fine – if you’re watching a magic show and you figure out how something’s done, whatever. But when it’s presented as proof of psychic powers, it’s so astonishingly weak as to be unbelievable. Geller will sue anyone who suggests he is a CHARLATAN or even a MAGICIAN, and yet he’s happy to go on live TV and present one of the most excruciatingly obvious tricks, known to most children, as an example of his powers. It’s bewildering.

To see this for yourself, follow it through with any planet:


Pick any planet. Then starting on Jupiter, spell out the planet you chose. (So if you picked PLUTO, you go P: Jupiter, L: Earth, U: Pluto, T: Mercury, O: Saturn. So you’re on Saturn). Then carry on going clockwise, spelling out the planet you landed on. Then eliminate Pluto. Carry on clockwise with the new planet you’re on. Then eliminate Neptune. Spell out your new planet again. Eliminate Uranus and Mercury. Spell out the last planet. And you’ll land on Venus. Every time. Wow – I’m a psychic too.

1 Comment for this entry

  • bob_arctor


    Tim Vincent has gone downhill frankly. Especially while Richard Bacon is helping a Newsnight debate. My preteen years have been spoilt, while naughty druggie Bacon is still in reasonable work Vincent is presenting bilge.