TV Review: ‘Criss Angel BeLIEve’

Criss Angel BeLIEve TV Review Spike

Magician brings his act to Spike, but despite moments doesn't conjure much, you know

Criss Angel loves TV, but the feeling isn’t entirely mutual. After having done the A&E series “Criss Angel Mindfreak,” the magician is back with a Spike showcase, “Criss Angel BeLIEve,” which injects a bit of reality-TV razzle-dazzle into the act, including behind-the-scenes hand-wringing over Angel’s apparent death wish. Mostly, though, the hour presents its star as an egomaniacal eccentric, someone seemingly determined to make David Blaine look like the ordinary Joe next door. Come for the magic, if you enjoy that sort of thing, but spending time with its purveyor is something of an endurance test.

Clearly, Angel brings a showman’s flair to his tricks, which, in the premiere, consist of several smaller ones played at a personal level, and a larger stunt — walking blindfolded across a pair of elevated beams — that’s built up to throughout the episode.

Angel prides himself, he says, on being able to perform “anywhere, anytime, with everyday objects,” which he demonstrates to the rapper Ludacris (in the show’s most “wow” moment) as well as to various bystanders.

He also introduces his team, who, not surprisingly, are not keen on their meal ticket engaging in a risky elevated walk, apparently having not paid attention to the ratings for Discovery’s Nik Wallenda special. “High-wire acts die. You know that, right?” one of them asks Angel during a planning meeting, while the star sits, with unintended comedic effect, in a chair that vaguely resembles the Iron Throne.

The notion Angel braves stunts that “can result in death” if you try them at home, as the advance script warns, prompts him to indulge in a chair-throwing fit when it’s suggested he must wear a safety wire on his walk, which, unlike Wallenda, is performed without delivering a recurring testimonial to Jesus.

Ultimately, a project like “BeLIEve” (named after Angel’s Vegas stage show) is both an effective commercial for the performer and a front-row seat for his routine. And it has found a logical home on Spike, whose testosterone-fueled lineup has used shows built around death or bodily harm (think “1000 Ways to Die,” “Deadliest Warrior”) as a come-on to guys weaned on extreme sports and mixed martial arts.

In a niche environment, there will always be room for magic, and thus for talent like Angel or “Dangerman’s” Jonathan Goodwin on BBC America. The rest of the window dressing that makes up “BeLIEve,” as they say, is pretty much just smoke and mirrors.

TV Review: 'Criss Angel BeLIEve'

(Series; Spike, Tues. Oct. 15, 10 p.m.)


Produced by Prods. and LBI Entertainment.


Executive producers, Criss Angel, David Baram, Erich Recker; supervising producer, Jennifer Hutchins; magic producer, Banachek; camera, Michael Millikan; production designer, John Farrell; lead editor, Carol Carimi Acutt. 60 MIN.


Featuring: Criss Angel

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  1. From @CrissAngelBuster we are preserving the art of magic and exposing his BS! Enough is enough!This new show is load of crap! Criss Angel is a fake magician! His nonsense is detrimental to the magic industry and real world magicians.

    • Alicja says:

      This is magic, you know, what is the magic? Imagination! it does not hurt! Just watch :) and gives a lot to think about life and be in the world.

  2. Taylor says:

    I love criss angel I think his shows are amazing and he’s talented at what he does he’s a mind freak and since I was a kid I always loved watching his tricks and shows it’s just amazing I always watched his shows and I still do

  3. aztral says:

    If you watch all of criss angels tricks including when he first entered into tv he puts david to shame..david blaine is good but he hasn’t done half of the amazing things criss has..has Blaine levitated more then a couple feet? Nope..I rest my case…tk care

  4. Donna Holland says:

    I watched tonight on spike tv and I can so tell he is trying to be David Blaine. David caught a Bullitt in his mouth he was buried alive under concrete and
    he the levitation is so fake compared to David.

  5. Jaz says:

    I like the tv show except I want to point out that producers screwed up by recycling the actors. The woman whose body was pulled apart is the same woman seen with the tattoos at the sushi restaurant, the one who volunteers with the fish tattoo which he pulled off her arm and spit it out into a cup as a live fish… Same person from the park…

  6. Exposer says:

    The show is total bullshit. More stunts than magic. Also, during that Ludacris bit, the camera man zoomed in making it seem real fake. They do little things like that consistently.

  7. Manny Blu says:

    Criss Angel needs to let go of TV. There’s no room for magic on it. Especially in today’s world where you can do so much, which he’s clearly taking advantage of to their fullest extent. Magic should be left for the stage and in person, it’s original form. It earns more respect that way.

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