Target Age Group: Tweens
Length: 30 minutes
Network: The Disney Channel
Starring: Selena Gomez, David Henrie, Jake T. Austin, Jennifer Stone, Maria Canals Barrera, David DeLuise
Wizards of Waverly Place - Overview
Siblings Alex (Selena Gomez), Justin (David Henrie) and Max (Jake T. Austin) masquerade as ordinary New York teenagers, but they are in fact descended from a long line of wizards (on their father's side), and magic is in their blood. Their father, Jerry Russo, had to relinquish his powers to marry their non-wizard mother, but he is determined to help his children master the magic arts. Wherever they go, the Russo siblings have magic wands and powerful spells at their disposal -- at least they would have, if their parents didn't set such strict limits on the use of magic in every day life.
Wise parents that they are, Jerry and Theresa insist that their children avoid using magic to slack off or cause trouble. The rules usually apply for Justin and Max, but they rarely stop their somewhat selfish and reckless sister, Alex. Trouble of the supernatural sort follows her wherever she goes, and Justin and Max usually get mixed up in her magical mayhem somehow. Having the ability to do magic may seem like it would help three kids trying to wind their way through the maze of teenagerdom, but in this case it only serves to make life's challenges even more chaotic, confusing, and above all -- entertaining.
Wizards of Waverly Place - Guide Review
The premise of Wizards of Waverly Place -- three kids with wizard powers dealing with school, family, and friends -- provides a whimsical escape for kids that is entertaining and comical. Often times, the show is very funny, but the jokes are most often at the expense of another character or due to situations which arise from blatant disobedience resulting in minimal consequences.
The character Alex is the prime disher of sarcastic put-downs and disrespectful dialogue, although most of the characters in the show are very skilled in the art of sarcasm. Most of the bantering occurs between Alex and her brother Justin. They engage in typical brother-sister bickering, but the often overly sardonic tone is portrayed as cool and hip. What Alex cares about: being trendy, being better than everyone else and letting them know it, having fun and getting her way. What Alex doesn't care about: school, her parents' rules, respect.
Alex's rebellious nature and diva attitude, and the way in which everyone else deals with her, is part of the core plot of many episodes. While these dynamics make for entertaining and comical sitcom situations, the fact that she is a role model for tweens and is portrayed as this gorgeous and strong-willed free spirit who thrives on being better and putting others down may be concerning for some parents.
To her credit, though, Alex will come through for her friends and family in a pinch. Also, the Waverly Place kids usually learn positive lessons through their experiences as portrayed on the show. The lessons are relevant to the kids who are watching as well, and the show generally promotes smart and responsible behavior by showing how the Russo kids' missteps result in some mild and silly undesirable consequences.
Wizards of Waverly Place - Topics and Themes
- Wizards of Waverly Place is centered around kids who are wizards and have super natural powers, so magic is central to every episode of the show. The parents encourage their children to use magic responsibly and ethically, and while the kids sometimes break the rules for selfish reasons, they would not use magic to cause anyone real harm. Magic in the show is incorporated for whimsy and comedy, and is not dark or sinister.
Wizards of Waverly Place - DVDs
Wizards of Waverly Place: Supernaturally Stylin': This fashion-themed collection contains the following episodes: "Credit Check," "Smarty Pants," "Beware Wolf," and "Graphic Novel." A couple of the episodes also involve some humor around love and dating, including one funny spoof on Face Book in which Justin gets to know a "hot girl" on "Wiz Face."
The bonus feature takes fans backstage and into the wardrobe room! Kids can find out all about the characters' costumes and how they have changed. Selena also gives fans a secret symbol to look for in each episode of season 2.
- Wizards of Waverly Place: Wizard School: The first DVD available from Wizards of Waverly Place, this collection contains the following episodes: "Wizard School" Parts 1 & 2, "Curb Your Dragon," and "Disenchanted Evening." The bonus feature takes fans backstage and behind the scenes with the cast.