A lot of kids go through a “magic phase” at some point in their childhood, a time where they get really into magic tricks and capes and top hats. Some of us might have gone through two. I certainly did; one when I was four and again when I was 13. The latter phase included what I would like to think was a stellar performance at my middle school talent show. Every kid who gets into magic has a magician whom they looked up to and inspired them. For me, it was the Mindfreak himself: Criss Angel.
Criss Angel is considered to be one of, if not the greatest magician of all time. The awards and accolades from his peers speak for themselves. He was proclaimed “magician of the century” by AMG, his live show “Criss Angel: MINDFREAK” was named “the #1 show in Las Vegas” by Celebrity Radio and he has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the “International Brotherhood of Magicians.
In addition, Angel’s hit TV show “Mindfreak” is the most successful magic show in television history, which revolutionized magic and tested the limits of what is possible. I used to go to the local public library to check out the DVDs from his show to watch Angel perform.
It has been a while since Angel has been on TV — 2013, to be exact. That year, a single season of “BeLIEve” aired and now, six years later, it may just be time for the Mindfreak himself to return to TV.
Before continuing, let’s acknowledge that, yes, magic is not real. Criss Angel is the first to admit that he has no special powers. What makes Angel so special is that he is able to pull off such incredible, mind-blowing illusions under what looks like impossible conditions, invoking intense emotion in his audience.
Just watch a clip of his “cement shoes” demonstration, where he had to escape being submerged under water while chained up with his feet buried in cement. Look at the intensity and worry of the crowd when he was underwater and the way they erupted after he broke the surface. No other magician can get a reaction like Criss Angel can.
Despite the fact that magic does not exist, some of what Criss Angel does is real, and he often puts his life on the line, especially with his daring escapes. For you skeptics who don’t believe me, just look at a couple that went wrong. In Season 3 of “Mindfreak”, Angel attempted to escape from a kennel at the Silverton Aquarium in Las Vegas. He timed his breathing wrong while being lowered into the water, and almost drowned before being pulled out. And recently in 2017, Angel was hospitalized after passing out in front of a crowd while he was suspended upside-down trying to escape from a double straitjacket for his “Mindfreak Live!” show.
“Mindfreak” first aired in 2005 on A&E and ran for six seasons. The show followed Angel around as he was preparing for a big demonstration. Along the way, he would perform smaller tricks and illusions. Episodes documented Angel’s thoughts about his performances, life and family and also included interviews from his family, audience members and his “think tank,” the people who help him put together his tricks.
Aside from some cringy interviews and awkward early-2000s documentary trends, the show was insanely good. “Mindfreak” completely changed the world of magic as Angel pushed what was possible in the field. He pulled off huge illusions, like making 100 people disappear, which is a Guinness world record.
He did things no other magician would even attempt, like levitating 500 feet in the air in the light of the Luxor Hotel in Vegas. And he performed death-defying stunts like escaping from a building about to be imploded, all the while bringing magic into mainstream pop culture like never before with his edgy, bad boy charisma. The show ended in 2010 and, aside from the one season of “beLIEve,” Angel hasn’t appeared on TV since.
That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been working. Angel has spent the years since putting on spectacular live performances in Las Vegas and around the country. He also put together a show with nine of the worlds best upcoming magicians called “The Supernaturalists” in 2015, the culmination of a 10 year process.
Angel doesn’t look at what he has done though, as there are so many things he wants to do and trying to do things that have never been done before. “You have to keep evolving,” he said in an article by John Brandon for “Inc”. This makes it seem that he has so much more in the field of magic to show the world. And what better way to do so than to get back on TV.
In 2018, Criss Angel did say in an interview with Alex Belfield for Celebrity Radio that he is working on a TV project with Mark Burnett, but he didn’t give out any other details. Since then, there has been virtually no mention of an upcoming TV show involving Criss Angel.
But, hopefully, it will come to fruition, as again there is so much more Criss Angel can accomplish. From bigger, better or more complex illusions, to more dangerous escapes or something new altogether.
He could also change things up from just performing magic tricks. For example, he could judge some sort of magician game show similar to “American Idol,” where magicians would compete to earn the chance to perform with Criss Angel.
He could team up with other magicians and they could work together to pull off some amazing demonstrations. Maybe along the way, he could interview them and have a show similar to Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Or he could take viewers behind the scenes of his Las Vegas magic show “Criss Angel Mindfreak.”
Whether or not Criss Angel does return to TV, it looks like he will be performing for a long time. He is always in the process of developing and improving his live show, and according to his interview with Alex Belfield, he has a lot of projects he is working on. Whatever Angel decides to do going forward, the possibilities, like his abilities, are limitless.