Just Add Magic

Ages: 6 - 10Producer: Amazon Studios

An ancient cookbook inspires more than simple dinner plans in this Amazon Original series for kids ages 6 – 10. The live-action half-hour episodes blend modern-day tweeer life with sci-fantasy touches, and they toss in mystery, curses, and magical spells for good measure.

In Season 1, friends Kelly, Darbie, and Hannah discovered the mysterious cookbook and soon realized that they could use it to cast spells. Just Add Magic Season 1 stories followed a continuing storyline about a curse plaguing one of the girl’s grandmothers and they looked for clues to break the curse. By the end of Season 1, their efforts manage to bring back an old enemy, a teenage boy named Chuck who has been missing for 50 years.

Season 2 follows the girls as they battle this new enemy, who possesses the power, and intention, to wreak havoc. It’s up to the girls to stop him, not such an easy task when they have to gather unusual ingredients and tweak the recipes so they actually work as intended. Along the way, they also chance upon conflicts in their lives and they deal with the temptation to whip up magic recipes to address the issues. Those side plots resolve within that episode’s half-hour.

In an episode titled “Just Add Secrets,” Kelly attempts to battle Chuck using a recipe from the cookbook, and in the process, everybody starts spilling their secrets to Kelly, leaving her perplexed and uncomfortable. In another particularly interesting episode, titled “Just Add 1965,” the girls can’t get a straight answer about past events from the people in their lives so they cook up a recipe that allows them to observe the past for themselves. It’s an inventively shot and edited episode, conveying the time shift in a delightfully eerie way.

According to press material, this series is loosely based on the book of the same name, by Cindy Callaghan. The program is nicely shot and the young actors are capable of conveying the more fantastical elements of the storylines. For young viewers looking for serial entertainment they can sink their teeth into, Just Add Magic is a tasty little snack break, and could even inspire a guilty-pleasure session of binge-watching.

Gina Catanzarite ©2018 Parents’ Choice

Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster’s Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.