Those who are fond of English mythology, fairy-tales and stories connected with wizards, dragons, knights, sword-fighting, castles and kings should have watched this series. Most people around the world have read or seen the legend of Merlin and King Arthur on screen. If you’re a fan of the Arthurian legend, you may know that there have been many movies about it. This time the tale is presented as we haven’t seen it before. Here we can see the adventures of the legendary sorcerer as a young man. You should also know that this show takes quite a few ‘creative liberties’… It differs from all traditional versions in many ways.
The legend of King Arthur is again retold, only this time from the perspective of the life of Wizard, Merlin.
With a strong plot and impressive images, but also through a fresh and modern look, it tells the story of the young king and the sorcerer, bringing it through to the 21st century. Kids living in this time can easily relate to the heroes, although living in different ages. This time we watch the lives of the two protagonists before their transformation into King Arthur and the great wizard Merlin. It’s really interesting, because we have the chance to meet them while they’re young. We watch them growing up, while they struggle to deal with the problems and the worries of youth and young manhood. It is as this time that they begin to realize their positions and power in the kingdom…
Our story unfolds in mythical Camelot, an imaginary kingdom filled with mysterious and dangerous creatures. The King of Camelot is the ruthless tyrant Uther Pentragon, father of Arthur, who has outlawed magic (good and evil), and imprisoned the last great dragon deep under the kingdom. At the same time, Merlin, a young man with supernatural powers arrives in the kingdom and quickly acquires enemies. He is also introduced to the young and somewhat stubborn Prince Arthur. Merlin soon learns that his role in Camelot is more important that initially believed: to protect Arthur, who will bring forth a great kingdom. Merlin soon begins to use his magic, not only to survive but also to save Arthur and help him fulfill his destiny. Soon, he discovers that his destiny is tied to the fate of Arthur and the two of them develop an undying friendship. Meanwhile, he knows he cannot reveal his powers because of the threat of facing execution…
Merlin is the unsung hero, often struggling to keep his powers and work secret, while Arthur as the kings’ son, often appears unfriendly and arrogant. But when it comes to making tough decisions, he proves to be determined, brave and righteous. Arthur rebels from his father’s traditional ways, preferring to take the advice of his friend and servant, Merlin. At the same time, he struggles with feelings for a maid in his court named Guinevere.
The first series focuses on the development of Merlin and his friendship with Arthur, while the second delves into the development of certain other characters. Later in the series we see Morgana’s struggle to control her powers and her road to corruption as a result of Uther’s actions, as well as the growing maturity of Arthur and his blossoming romance with Gwen. A year later, Morgana returns, darker and more powerful than ever before, challenging Uthur for the throne. Arthur eventually becomes king of Camelot after Uther is killed.
This great BBC One production is one of the most spectacular fantasy series on television today – literally ‘charming’ its audience of all ages. It’s a program that a family can watch and enjoy together, something more than a little rare these days. It has something for everyone. It’s captivating and it’s got all the ingredients to be something special. First of all, it’s got a good mixture of humor and suspense salted with romance, action and some really good special effects. There are moments of genuine comedy combined with some strong and emotional scenes which turn it into a respectable drama, teaching us a few lessons. There are epic battle scenes that get you on the edge of your seat, and other scenes filled with a unique hilarity and lightness.
Furthermore, the direction is constantly leaning towards the cinematic and not quite as we use to see it on the average television show. The quality of direction is more than apparent, almost resembling a major network production inAmerica– though the acting and the storyline prove to be far better than any American show… The heroes look more human and you can feel what they have to say. And not forgetting to mention the sets and the costumes, which add more than just a bit to the overall experience.
Another reason that makes Merlin a very decent show is the cast, consisting of great actors like Richard Wilson (Gaius), John Hurt (as the voice of the Dragon), Anthony Head (Uther) and a bunch of talented young actors and actresses who carry the story effectively. It’s not just talent they have, but quality as well. There is very good chemistry between the main characters. The man behind the young warlock is the talented Irish actor, Colin Morgan. And when we say talented we mean it. This actor comes along with anything the directors give him. He can do comedy, drama and bring any emotion he’s been asked anytime under any circumstances. He can make you feel and believe anything he’s asked to do or say. He is bright, expressive and maintains a steady and easily likeable character. The same goes for Bradley James, another talented young actor who manages to convince as the young King. Both Colin Morgan and Bradley James have a bright career ahead of them, so remember their names!
Anthony Head makes a very believable Uther Pendragon, a character you will love and loathe, along with Katie Mcgrath as Morgana. On the other hand, Angel Coulby (Guinevere) the “silent force” takes an unimportant role as maid and becomes Queen of Camelot – she proves to be perfect for this role.
It’s just not the main cast who enjoy shooting this myth, but also the great number of guest stars who appear in all seasons.
To begin with, the characters are innocent but as the story unfolds, so do they – showing us their depth. The show continues to get darker each year. Kids who started watching back in 2008 (Season 1) have grown up with it too… The show takes on a more mature tone. It does this while maintaining an entertaining and charming story, without trying too hard to draw attention. As Julian Murphy, the co-creator says: “You do take the younger audience with you and to keep them you need to offer more sophisticated fare.”
For all these reasons, I definitely recommend Merlin to everyone that has the time to get to know what it is all about. It’s well written and each episode gets better and better, shaping out to be very enjoyable and oddly addictive. Until now, four seasons have been aired and this period they’re filming season 5, which is probably darker than the previous. For the moment, take a look at the fourth series promo trailer, and who knows, maybe you’ll feel enchanted too!
But don’t be critical if you find that the series isn’t accurate. Just remember that Camelot itself is a myth.