Ace of Wands and Sapphire and Steel: A Comparative Analysis

Both “Ace of Wands” and “Sapphire and Steel” are British television series that delve into the realms of the supernatural and the fantastical. However, they approach these themes from distinct angles and present them in unique narrative structures. This comparison aims to outline the similarities and differences in characters, thematic focus, storytelling approach, and the overarching narrative style of the two shows.

Character Dynamics

  1. Principal Characters:
    • “Ace of Wands” follows the exploits of Tarot, a magician with real powers, and his associates Mikki and Lulli. Tarot’s charming, intuitive, and resourceful nature serves as the focal point of the series.
    • In contrast, “Sapphire and Steel” centers on two ethereal operatives, Sapphire and Steel, who embody a more enigmatic and detached persona. Their characters are more mysterious, showcasing a clinical and calculative approach towards problem-solving.
  2. Human Connection:
    • The character dynamics in “Ace of Wands” exhibit a more human-centric approach with interpersonal relationships and camaraderie playing a central role.
    • “Sapphire and Steel” presents a more distant interaction among characters, emphasizing the otherworldly nature of the principal characters and their mission.

Thematic Focus

  1. Supernatural Themes:
    • Both series delve into supernatural themes but from different perspectives. “Ace of Wands” incorporates elements of magic, mysticism, and ancient lore.
    • “Sapphire and Steel” explores time, inter-dimensional entities, and the fabric of reality, often veering towards science fiction.
  2. Villains and Conflict:
    • “Ace of Wands” often pits its protagonists against human antagonists with dark or magical abilities.
    • On the other hand, “Sapphire and Steel” presents abstract, often impersonal forces of cosmic or temporal nature as adversaries.

Storytelling Approach

  1. Episodic Nature:
    • Both series utilize an episodic format, but “Ace of Wands” tends to offer more self-contained stories with a lighter tone.
    • “Sapphire and Steel” adopts a serial approach with multi-episode arcs, often carrying a darker and more complex narrative tone.
  2. Atmosphere and Setting:
    • The atmosphere in “Ace of Wands” is generally lighter with a whimsical flavor, complemented by its more grounded setting.
    • Conversely, “Sapphire and Steel” creates a more eerie and ominous atmosphere, often set against abstract or isolated backdrops.


“Ace of Wands” and “Sapphire and Steel” provide distinct viewing experiences despite their common interest in the supernatural. The differing character dynamics, thematic focus, and storytelling techniques reflect varying narrative aspirations – one grounded in a more human-centric and magical world, and the other in an eerie, abstract exploration of time and reality. Through their unique lenses, both series contribute significantly to the broader landscape of supernatural and science fiction television during their respective eras.