Just because a TV show deals with magic doesn’t make it magical.

Fantasy is a tough genre to get right, particularly when it’s targeted at the mainstream audience. That’s probably why so much TV fantasy comes in the sitcom form (Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Wizards of Waverly Place), marrying the magic to a genre TV viewers are familiar with. It wasn’t until the 1990s that Hercules and Xena showed a more straightforward fantasy TV series could be a hit. Even so, a lot of shows tried to ape their success and failed miserably.

Some fantasy shows tank because they took a great premise and executed it with thudding ineptitude. Other shows have ...

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