Just Add Magic Update October 25th 2019: Amazon has released a brand new episode called ‘Just Add Magic New Protectors‘. The cookbook has moved on to Bay City and Kelly, Darbie, and Hannah must now help the New Protectors – Zoe, Ish and Leo become the new guardians of magic. No date available on a new full season.
Back in 2015 Amazon Studios released a set of pilots that viewers then had to go and vote on if they wanted their favourite show to be developed into a full series. Just Add Magic was one of those pilots and was such a hit that the first season was released in 2016. In fact, Just Add Magic currently holds the record as “the most successful Amazon Original Kids premiere weekend in terms of U.S. Prime Video streams and hours”.
If you haven't heard of it or seen it then the story goes like this: best friends Kelly, Darbie, and Hannah love to cook and discover an ancient recipe book in the attic. The recipes they find inside have strange names like “Shut'em Up Shortcake” that also require unusual ingredients so off they go to whip up some tasty delights.
When Kelly's brother eats a bite of the shortcake and can no longer talk, the three friends realise they are dealing with magic spells. After Darbie cannot stop talking, they also realise the spells come with a consequence. This sets the girls off on a path to investigate how the magical recipes work while trying to avoid the temptation to use the magic to help overcome the everyday challenges.
There are three seasons available with 13 episodes in each and the show is aimed primarily at children aged 6-11, though I found it really good to watch with the kids and even as an adult I did get drawn into the series.
Each episode has its own mini storyline that always ends on a cliff hanger so you do feel compelled to keep watching especially as each season has a story arc that also ends on a cliffhanger which is fine if you're an adult but very frustrating for little kids who don't understand they may have to wait an entire year to find out what happens next – there was lots of small-child-screaming in my house when that happened!
Similar to The Babysitters Club, the friendships are really lovely and while the plots have solid depth, they are pitted at just the right level for the audience with enough drama, fantasy, twists and turns to keep everybody engaged and happy.