The Wizards of Aus is an Australian television comedy series set to screen on SBS from 19 January 2016. It’s the work of talented 24-year-old Melbourne filmmaker Michael Shanks (not the Michael Shanks from Stargate), who is already a well-known name in certain circles online. Screen Australia provided most of the funding for the miniseries. They found Shanks on YouTube, where he releases his video game parodies, attracting millions of viewers.
Shanks stars in this upside down fantasy/reality show, where the worlds of high magic and the relatively mundane suburbs of Melbourne, Australia collide. He directs as well, and shares the writing credit with Nicholas Issell. Originally devised as a six part web series, it became a three part television series.
Shanks plays Jack, a wizard from the fantasy realm where epic battles of sword and sorcery happen pretty much every day, day in and day out. Tired of the routine, Jack comes to the human realm for a little peace and quiet. Unfortunately, trouble follows him there, and once Jack lets it slip that he is a wizard, he finds it increasingly harder to renounce his powers and live a normal, magic-free life. Surprisingly, there is a serious theme underfoot here, one of immigration and intolerance. It is, however, swathed in so much light hearted fun and fantasy bad-assery that the fun of it rules the day.
Before you watch this, note that there is some profanity in it, so you might not want to play this with the sound up while at work, or in earshot of children.
Wizards of Aus debuts Tuesday, January 19 on SBS2 at 8:30 pm in Australia. If you don’t happen to live in Australia, once it has had its run on the SBS web site as video on demand, it will be released on Michael Shanks’ YouTube channel, TimTimFed.