Show 101: Merlin

SHOW: Merlin

NOW SHOWING: Season two premieres this Saturday, September 19, at 6:40pm

AIRS: Saturdays at 6:40pm on BBC1

WHY YOU MIGHT LOVE IT: For a home-grown BBC show its special effects are dazzling while its storylines are compelling, yet family-friendly. Also, did we mention its cast includes One Foot in the Grave's Richard Wilson and Buffy's Anthony Stewart Head?

WHY YOU MIGHT HATE IT: It's a family show and as such the plots can sometimes lack a sense of appropriate depth and bloodshed. For anyone without a reckless disregard for facts there are also inaccuracies that have the potential to offend.

THE PREMISE: A fresh take on the well-known British legend, the series continues to tell the tale of a teenage Merlin as he struggles to conceal his magical abilities. He was nearly caught out on a number of occasions last season and things are only going to get worse for the young wizard--the only problem is, if his secret is discovered (which history tells us it eventually will) he's likely to face serious punishment, and possible death, from the friend and prince he's spent years protecting. Fortunately for Merlin, however, he has a very helpful talking dragon he can reluctantly turn to for help--not that he listens half the time. If there was a fight, and we had to choose though, we'd definitely back Merlin; Prince Arthur's not got a very good track record when it comes to staying alive. He has looked death in the face more than once, most recently in the first series finale where he was bitten by a beast, and it's always up to trusty Merlin to rescue him. The sorcerer's mother even died as a consequence. That's sacrifice for you.

Merlin's not the only one keeping secrets though. The King's determined ward, Morgana, also has emerging special powers, with which she can see into the future. This combined with her apparent lack of loyalty for the royals has found her on dangerous ground in the past, and things aren't looking up for her next series either.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: More and more villains are planning to rear their evil heads this autumn, with The Office's Mackenzie Crook playing the first. The hit-and-miss actor, who recently gave an embarrassing poor portrayal of a gangster in teen drama Skins, stars in the series debut as "a cheeky-chappie con man" who's possessed by an evil warlock called Cedric. Other famous faces appearing in the realms this series include Hustle's Adrian Lester, Silent Witness actress Emilia Fox, and Mistresses' Sarah Parish. You should also prepare yourself for the return of young Modred, the druid boy whom the Dragon has predicted will one day kill prince Arthur.

PICTURES: Take a peek at the opening episode and see some behind the scenes snaps.

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