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You Can't Compare Camelot To Game of Thrones

“I no longer have a daughter,” growls an irked King Uther Pendragon, in spite of the fact that Morgan, his unpleasant, peeved heir is standing right in front of him. And what’s more, she’s about to slip some poison in his soup and claim the throne. Soon, the dastardly minx will get together with Uther’s archenemy King Lot (James Purefoy) for plotting and sex. And so begins the medieval EastEnders that is Camelot--a resplendently rompy take on the sixth century legend. To hook you in, this first instalment--a two-hour double-bill on Saturday (9pm, Channel 4)--is given over to fighting and fornication.

Like The Tudors, Camelot was made with mainstream America in mind. So everything is spoken rather than implied: nasty characters tend to let you know in advance when and how they intend to exhibit their nastiness, whereas really they should just get on with it. And the cast includes some reassuringly famous names, like Joseph Fiennes who plays brooding sorcerer Merlin. They’ve shaved his head and tried to make him look ill, but it’s impossible to block out Fiennes’ good looks. And it’s just as impossible to take a pretty Merlin seriously. Presumably, though, Camelot’s creators are quite proud of themselves for not casting an old man with a long white beard and a pointy hat. Emmys all round, I say.

Jamie Campbell Bower (Twilight) is a young, green and blonde Arthur, who’d rather bed beauties and stay living with his kindly, adopted parents than lead a nation and battle his evil half-sister. But to those around him, like his brother Kay, it’s as if Arthur’s won the ultimate lottery: Camelot and country. Alas, Arthur’s no more sold on the prize when he arrives at his new castle. It’s a fixer-upper. But Merlin insists that the CGI Roman ruin on the edge of cliff will once again be the envy of all other kings, or something similarly persuasive. But even Sarah Beeny would baulk at this job. There are trees – TREES! – in the lounge. And the roof is best described as… invisible.

Camelot may be stupid and slick but it’s also shamefully enjoyable. It’s like Game of Thrones without the finessed plotting, Excalibur-sharp script and Sean Bean. So actually, it's not a lot like Game of Thrones. But you’ll switch off wanting more.

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Agreed. Apples and oranges.

GOT is a sure thing: GRR Martin has been stringing fans along for many hair-pulling, nail-biting years on a franchise that could mint it's own plata. The series is contracted with HBO and brings an established, devout and outrageously committed fanbase that will hang on every episode, if for no other reason that to return to the interwebs to decry this or that infinitesimal detail where the series differs from the novels, which does not even describe those HBO subscribers who tune in and follow because it's on the tube. But most importantly, and this is the genius of GRRM, the characters are captivating: the audience loves to love or hate them and hangs on because of these attachments. His novels are long and detail an entire world, but they are un-put-down-able because of these characters, of which there are many. Whilst I thoroughly enjoy Camelot, the series suffers obviously from the precariousness of the ratings/renewal gauntlet. The plot elements often feel forced and characters are not developed enough, as though pacing the plot and packing in more action at the expense of allowing the audience to actually spend time with the characters enough for them to become three dimensional is too risky, which leads one to suppose there is some inherent lack of confidence in the merits of the show by writers and producers. Camelot fails to give the audience the same magic and connection with the characters. Episode 9 is a perfect example of this issue: the two now apparent love triangles burst open and all the attached emotional action is glossed over and/or ignored and subverted to drive forward the plot action, marginalizing the believability and relatablity or hateability of the characters, reducing them to two dimensional constructs. Claire Forlani and Joseph Fiennes steal the show with every scene, and their chemistry is fantastic, and Eva Green is deliciously evil and diabolical as Morgan, but most of the other characters are pretty bland and do not garner commitment from the audience.
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Don't be silly. OIf course I can. One is slow, with characters that range fron unlikable to victim to unlikable victim. The other is slow, with characters that range from unlikable to victim to unlikable victim.
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Your loss.
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I just switched off
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