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Spellbound

Spellbound season 1

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

Cece Parker-Jones lives, eats and breathes dance. 

Growing up, she attended a dance studio that encouraged her to move her body, to connect with the earth and to focus on movement as emotion. A whimsical dream. 

Unfortunately, the studio didn’t quite prepare 15-year-old Cece for the real world of dance. Or for her move to Paris after her acceptance into the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet School. 

Here, technique matters. Pointed flats matter. There’s no room for heartfelt, carefree movement, for bare feet or for dance as a form of emoting. No one cares. Especially not the rigid dance instructors. And their opinions matter. A lot. Especially this year.

Typically, only 16 students are admitted into the school, but after an administrative oversight, 26 show up on the first day. That’s 10 people too many. And the only way to make it fair is to have everyone re-audition for their slot.  

Cece is not ready. There’s no way she’s going to make it. In fact, she’s not really sure how she made it in the first place. 

Or, at least, that’s what she thinks. Until she goes back to her aunt Ginger’s home apothecary and finds a mysterious, family book full of spells. 

Turns out, Aunt Ginger is a witch–more commonly known as a Wizen in the magical world. So is Cece’s mom. And she cast a spell that allowed Cece to get into the ballet school without interference. 

The only trouble with that is that Cece will have to actually stay at the school, learn new dance moves, keep up with rigorous academics, balance her love interests and hide her newfound identity as the most powerful Wizen in the witch world. 

Oh, and she’ll have to ward off her magical enemies (known as The Mystics) who are on the prowl to rob Cece of her magical gifts by any means necessary. 

No pressure. 

I Put A Spell On You 

The world of witches, wizards and magical beings isn’t new to entertainment. Hello Bewitched, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina or Harry Potter, to name a few. 

Hulu is adding to the collection with its latest series, Spellbound

This tween fantasy show comes from creators Jill Girling and Lori Mather and is a spin-off of Hulu’s Find Me In Paris. Both shows are set at the Paris Opera Ballet School, but in this go-round, time travel is replaced with magic. 

Cece is the show’s protagonist, of course, but she has a few core friends, some of whom know about her magic and others who don’t. And, after an accidental spell, Cece attracts the attention of her nemeses, The Mystics, and must learn to fight them off in subsequent episodes. 

Yes, there’s obviously magic at work here. It’s nothing too “dark,” at least not yet. But Cece is also a normal, loud teenager who loves to dance, flirts with many cute boys, as she says, and cares deeply about her friends. 

Unlike many teen- and tween-aimed shows, this one (at least judging from the first episode) doesn’t include much-if-any profanity or risque sexual behavior. A male character exudes feminine characteristics, but his sexuality isn’t discussed in the first episode either. 

If we’re ranking it on the same platform as HBOs Euphoria or The CW’s Riverdale, Spellbound is a comparatively “tame” show. But we’re judging from a small sample size so far. And no matter what, it most certainly has spiritual issues and other elements that parents will want to consider before letting their kids watch.

Episode Reviews

Aug. 31, 2023–S1, Ep1: “W Stands for Wizen”

Cece Parker-Jones gets accepted into the Paris Opera Ballet School but is thrown off when the instructors announce that everyone must re-audition to maintain there; Cece accidentally finds out that she’s a Wizen, the most powerful witch in the magical world.

Cece and her aunt Ginger cast magical spells, and they’re surrounded by magical potions within Ginger’s apothecary. A dark, magical force makes its way toward Cece, but she wards it off with her own powers. Ginger mentions that Cece accidentally burned down her elementary school using just her mind, a fact unbeknownst to Cece.

A male character acts effeminately. Cece flirts with a few different boys and seems a bit boy obsessed. Female ballerinas wear leotards.

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kristin-smith
Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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