The Bureau of Magical Things: Season 1 Review

In season 1 of the Australian TV Series the Bureau of Magical Things Kyra Glen(Kimie Tsukakoshi) is a teenage girl who lives in the fictional River City in Australia with her widowed step-father. She has a fairly normal life in which she goes to the local high school and plays basketball on her school’s team. She also hangs out with best friends Mathilda and Peter (Jamie Carter) who believes in the multiverse and aliens. Kyra does not believe any of this and thinks none of these things exist. However in the show there is also a secret magical world with elves and fairies.

One evening Kyra becomes involved in a magical accident involving a flying book and two squabbling teenage girls who are a friendly fairy named Lily (Mia Milnes) and the other a stubborn elf named Imogen (Elizabeth Cullen). As a result of these events she gains magical powers and becomes a rare magical creature called a tri-ling who is part elf, part fairy, part human. Kyra is not meant to have these abilities as humans in the show are not meant to know about magic and especially not have magic powers. However Kyra ends up attending a magical school which Imogen and Lily go to under the tutelage of a half elf, half human man called Maxwell (Christopher Sommers) in order to learn to control her powers. She there also meets Imogen and Lilys’ fellow pupils who are Lily’s book loving fairy friend Ruksy (Rainbow Wedell) and Imogen’s laidback elf brother Darra (Julian Cullen).

The school however is not just a place where its’ pupils learn to control their magic but it is also connected to an organisation that oversees the magical world called the DMI. The DMI has rules about the relations between the human and magical world and works to keep it hidden from the human one. The students in the school are training to be future members of this organisation and Kyra soon gets involved in their training.

Kyra soon become friends with Lily and Ruksy and Darra develops a mutual attraction to her. Imogen is less welcoming but gradually grows to like her. However other people in the magical world do not accept Kyra because her powers violate the magical world’s rules. Furthermore things get more complicated when Kyra accidentally gains more magical powers. These are not just normal fairy or elf magic and could endanger the entire magical world. At the same time Peter notices Kyra acting differently and mysterious people appearing with her who he has not seen before. Furthermore he has noticed the magical things that have been going around the city. This is for example a walking suit of armour. This makes him determined to find out what Kyra is up too and to find the source of the magical events.

Kyra is a great lead because I enjoyed watching her struggles with a world she did not know in contrast to her magical friends who have grown up with magic. I moreover particularly enjoyed the parts of the series with her playing basketball. I do not like basketball but in this show her love of basketball was done well and made me enjoy it. There are some great moments to do with it for example in one episode Lily and Imogen think they can help her win a game with magic which goes very wrong. This is as they do not understand that this is cheating.

Kyra clearly has more elf than fairy magic. This is because she like her teacher Maxwell does not have the pointy ears of full elves in the show but like him has their glowing fingers. Furthermore despite having fairy magic she does not have wings or a wand like Lily or Ruksy who are full fairies. I wonder what a DNA test would reveal. The one thing I disliked about Kyra was that she never wondered who her biological father was. For example she never once discusses who he is or what happened to him. Nor does anyone ever ask her about him not even her new magical friends although she does discuss her dead mother and step-dad with them. I am surprised that they are not in the slightest bit curious about him. Nonetheless it is clear he has not been around for a while as we see photos of her mum and step-dad with her when she was a young child but none of her with him and she has her step-father’s surname. The closest allusion we get to her biological father is her referring to how in her life it is just her and her step-father further emphasising my point about him being long absent from her life. However it is surprising that for a matter as a big as an unknown biological father that she never wonders who he is.

The other characters were also great. I particularly liked Lily as she was very sweet and kind. She had good intentions but they sometimes went very wrong. For example she notices Kyra is feeling a bit jealous of how she and Ruksy have wings and decides to do a spell that gives Kyra wings. However she does not ask Kyra’s permission and does a spell on Kyra while she is sleeping although I do not approve of what she does it has some amusing consequences. I also really liked Darra because he was hard to dislike and his relationship with Kyra is great. I was a little annoyed when they did not become a couple this season as they are clearly attracted each other. Nevertheless I have the feeling that they will get together next season. This is as there is a second season. I also found his struggle with deciding what to do with his life interesting. It is pretty clear that Imogen and Darra’s father has certain ideas about how he should behave in relation to his relationship with Kyra and also to do with careers which he does not agree with.  It will be interesting to see what he decides to do with his life and how he develops as a person.

Peter was quite amusing because he reminded me of a cross between Fox Mulder from the X Files and Luna from Harry Potter. Also a tiny bit of another character from a show called Lightning Point by the creator of this show. The character is called Luca who is obsessed with finding aliens. All 3 characters I have mentioned are obsessed with things that are not seen as generally existing although Luna and Mulder are a bit more eccentric than Peter and Luca. However like the likes of Luna, Mulder and Luca Peter is actually very intelligent despite his wacky theories.

Imogen however could have been kinder to Kyra when first getting to know her but on watching the series you understand why she is not. She is also a character at first who I assumed was fairly dislikeable and fairly self-centred. However as you get to know her you see different sides to her and you see that she is much more than my first assumptions about her.

The relationships between the characters were also nice to watch. I especially liked the developing friendships between Lily, Kyra and Imogen. Lily and Kyra became friends in the first few episodes but Imogen took a while to warm to Kyra but eventually grew to like her. Lily and Imogen’s developing friendship was also nice. At the beginning of the show they clearly did not like each other furthermore it was a fight between them that caused Kyra to get her powers. However I liked how the audience saw them gradually growing to like each other.  They had some great moments together from when they are arguing but also when they are growing to like each other too. One of my favourite scenes with them was when after an argument they try to see who can dance better. However this leads to them dancing together. This shows how they have gone far from the two girls we see squabbling over a book in episode 1 and did not have any pleasant interactions.

I also quite liked Kyra’s friendship with her best friend Mathilda. Mathilda unlike Peter who later finds out about magic never does. However she does notice that weird things are going on and senses something is not right but is not curious enough to investigate. I also liked how Mathilda too ended up getting to know the magical characters and became friends with some of them in particular Lily.

The series does not take itself entirely seriously and I generally enjoy the humour in it. One of the most amusing parts is Kyra is being able to talk to dogs which is part of her fairy magic. Kyra walks dogs to earn money and there is one particular dog that she can talk to and hear called Doris. Some of the conversations they have are quite funny with for example Doris teasing Kyra about not having a boyfriend. She even picks up on Kyra’s attraction to Darra and this is really fun to watch.

Despite the humour the show has a serious side. It deals with divorce quite well and how this makes young people feel. Mathilda’s parents split up and although this is a fairly minor part of the series you hear from her how her parents’ marriage is ending and how this makes her feel. The show also tackles well the theme of death as Kyra’s mother has died 3 years before the series. This is particularly emphasised when in one episode Kyra tells a little girl that even magic cannot bring back her mother. Therefore showing how even in the magical world of this show that death happens and even magic cannot stop it.

Overall this series despite having flaws is a fun watch but with a serious side and I am really looking forward to watching season 2 which is out at the moment.