"Merlin" is a new take on the Arthurian legend, reversing many patterns found in the older tales about King Arthur, and bringing in new characters, places, magical creatures, but most of all: an enchanting story to captivate the viewer's imagination.
"Merlin" TV Series is a fresh contribution to the Arthurian myth. Differences from the previous takes on the subject are numerous, but are by no means negative ones. The show functions in inversions - Merlin is no longer and old wizard tutoring Arthur, but a young and an unexperienced warlock struggling with his magical powers - and is the key character instead of Arthur; Arthur himself is no longer an orphan, raised with the commoners, but a prince (and also somewhat of a prat); and magic is definitely not desirable, but is instead prohibited by King Uther.
The idea of such inversions may sound risky and radical at the same time, but it clearly works. Arthur must become a successful and righteous king, and can only do that through friendship with Merlin, who is a common person (like Arthur's subjects), and has magic as well. Through Merlin's assistance, we are shown this gradual change of Arthur who learns to respect ordinary people - and once he finds out about Merlin's secret magical skills, we can be assured that he will learn to respect magical people as well.
Nonetheless, many of the characters from the legends are still here - Morgana, Morgause, The Lady of the Lake, Lancelot, Valiant, Uther Pendragon (who gets a more thorough treatment than in older material). This way the viewers will surely find themselves in a know territory, just with a somewhat changed landscape.
Of the new characters, the Dragon is the most striking one, and maybe the greatest addition to the entire show, serving as an ambiguous mentor for Merlin.
Merlin is about the adventures of the young versions of the characters from the Arthurian legend. As of Series 2 (2009), Arthur is a Prince with Merlin as his servant, Morgana has betrayed Camelot, Gwen is her servant and Uther Pendragon is still King.
I am a really big fan of Merlin and I have watched it since the first episode aired on 21 September 2008 and I have loved the series ever since. It is one of my favourite tv shows made by the BBC and one of my favourite tv shows made by anyone else. So far there has not been a single episode that I don't like and I'm 100% sure that it will remain that way. Colin Morgan portrays the famous wizard fantastically, I don't think anyone else could do the same job as great as Colin. Bradley James is perfect in the role of King/Prince Arthur as are Katie McGrath as Morgana and Angel Coulby as Guinivere (Gwen). I am so glad that the show's creators are beginning to introduce more characters from the Arthurian legend that have so far not appeared in the series...
A new take on the Arthurian legend in which Merlin is Arthur's contemporary. Arthur is still a prince and his father Uther Pendragon has outlawed magic. As such, Merlin must hide his magical abilities whilst performing his duties as Arthur's manservant and secretly saving the prince's royal backside on multiple occasions. The story does not follow legend too closely (is there a definitive legend?), but I think this works to it's credit; those who are familiar with the legend will still face surprises. That isn't to say that aspects of the legend don't make an appearance in some form: Excalibur and the Lady of the Lake, for instance. Yes there are numerous anachronisms but it gets away with them well -- the fantasy genre helps.
The show benefits from some excellent characters, wonderfully portrayed, who have a great chemistry on-screen. One of the key aspects of the show is the developing friendship between Merlin and Arthur, played brilliantly by Colin Morgan and Bradley James. Over time, with Merlin's influence, Arthur is starting to develop from an arrogant prat into the future king he is destined to become, whilst Merlin himself, with assistance from his mentor Gaius and the Great Dragon, gradually begins to mature into Arthur's future advisor.
Overall this show has a perfect blend of drama and humour (2x12 - 'The Fires of Idirsholas' is a prime example of this) and I have yet to watch an episode I haven't enjoyed. With the latter half of the second series, the show is gradually becoming darker in tone, but it is reassuring to know that The Powers That Be are mindful that it is the mix of seriousness and comedy which help make the show so good and still intend to keep this balance. Don't expect highly violent actions scenes -- this is a family show after all -- but in 'Merlin' the BBC have produced a highly polished, entertaining programme which should appeal to adults and children alike. Merlin is must-see viewing and I am waiting eagerly in anticipation for the imminent third series.
I love Merlin it has magic, comedy, dragons, fighting and everything i love to watch^^. I can't wait for more episodes and see him do more magic^^. Love to watch everyone of them^^. I see how they have special guest which is cool and the little boy Asa Butterfield from the boy in the striped pajamas he is super cute. I would recommend this to anyone who likes spells, magic, fighting. i will give this show perfect 10 because it is awesome and fun to watch. So i hope that helped anyone who wants to watch Merlin and enjoy the show.
I am really curious to see what is going to happen in the next season of this show. There are so many things completely different from the original King Arthur story that it makes the plot impossible to predict. The characters are all playing very different roles than we are accustomed to seeing them in. The plot is totally different than we know it to be. The special effects are not the best, but definitely good enough to not turn away from the show. Most of the acting is not terrible. And the concept of the show has never been attempted before. All in all, I like this show and find myself intrigued.
Series 2 of Merlin was a compelling follow-on to Series 1. The production quality, the plots, the relationship drama, and the acting are all superb. Some rushed characterization of the antagonist hurt this year but the overall story is Must-See TV.
Production Quality – The use of the French castle, old ruins, the lush forests of Wales, and improved sets combined with superior lighting and cinematography makes "Merlin" Must-See TV. Every penny spent on this creates allows the viewer to believe in the world of Camelot – despite the unambiguous anachronisms in other areas. This quality boosts the drama considerably and the action set pieces and stunt work are movie-like. From the use of slow motion for the dead knights, to the jaw-dropping jousting, and the dragon CGI, "Merlin" is worth a watch every single week. Father/Son Dynamics – This element was showcased in several episodes. It was gut-wrenching to see Merlin's pain as Gaius nearly sacrificed himself in Witchfinder. Again, Colin Morgan hit it out of the park with his poignant moment of happiness as he said goodnight to his birth father in Dragonlord. Finally, the showdown in Sins of the Father was another moment where you had to remember to breath. The groan-heard-round-the-world when Merlin hit the "reset button" at the end of that episode is a testament to precisely how much the audience is eventual engaged in the outcome of this debate. Arthur/Guinevere Romance – While rushed for some audience members, the Arthur/Guinevere dynamic can also be seen as more realistic for precisely how awkward and fast it began. The impetuous moment by Arthur to kiss Guinevere set up his hard romantic crush (and associated "Princess Bride" rescue). Guinevere being the constant voice of reality, given her position makes sense. Bradley James does a good job of playing the vulnerable prince and Angel Coulby speaks volumes with just a look as the future queen. Arthur/Merlin Bond – This relationship is the single most important aspect of the show. Season 2 finished strong but the start was quite rough. Here's hoping Series 3 does not take another step backwards.
The Acting – Colin Morgan is superb and the show rests on him being likeable. There are several moments when Merlin's actions are difficult to accept but Morgan does a fantastic job of selling the story. Bradley James continues to be strong and impressively carries the action-hero role well. Anthony Head and Richard Wilson provide the perfect gravitas – with Wilson's Gaius stealing the comedic scenes quite handily. He shows the younger set how it's done with style. The guest stars were exceptional with nuanced performances which complimented rather than distracted from the series. Partial Success:
The Pacing of the Overall Plot – The producers clearly have a firm 5 year plan and the story benefits from that tremendously. It moves at a very fast pace for some items (the Arthur/Guinevere romance, the Morgana descent to villain) while others appeared stretched out (when will Arthur discover Merlin's magic). After the second series it's clear they are going to cover more ground with these same characters but there is some loss of good characterization that happens with this approach. Given the one year time jump for Series 3, this trend appears to continue. The Broad Audience – "Merlin" has done a very good job for the most part of playing to both the tea-time crowd and adults. Many of the jokes work at multiple levels, like Merlin and carting off one of Morgana's dresses. Conversely, there is a tendency to use a Gaius/Merlin tea-time oriented comic scene at the end as an exclamation point. This can take away from good drama from time to time. For example, in The Sins of the Father, Merlin basking in the glory of praise for once hit the wrong note. Conversely, using the "Weekend At Bernie's" gag to move around the sleeping king was pitch-perfect in an otherwise exceedingly dark Fires of Idirsholas. It's a fine balance and a little less reliance on the end of episode exclamation point would probably serve the show better.
What Didn't Work:
Morgana's arc – Morgana went too dark too fast. From terrified nightmares and showing staunch support to Guinevere, Morgana was suddenly isolated with almost no screentime until the very end of the season. Katie McGrath had an outstanding scene in her break with Uther but the rest of the year did not provide a storyline that earned that moment. Further, there were several missed opportunities to show her brother/sister family relationship with Arthur that would make her decisions more tragic. If we are to believe Morgana is a strong, independent woman who chooses to oppose Uther, then having her constantly duped along the way undermines her strength. Is she victim or villain? Make a choice and stick with it.
Overall grade 8.5. Series 2 builds effectively on Series 1 with increases depth of storytelling, exquisite production and outstanding acting. A little less reliance on tacked on funny notes combined with a more solid characterization of the antagonists would be welcome. Despite that, "Merlin" is unambiguously event-TV which looks to take it up another notch for Series 3.
The charactors were choosen well. THe first season had started a little slow with little magic use, however, in the world young Merlin lives in he has to learn to use magic without being seen and without Uther and Arthur finding out magic was used. The show is great, it is showing how Arthur and Merlin slowly established a bond with each other one that will be so strong that if Arthur would find out Merlin was a Magic user he would keep it a secret even from his father. Can't wait for Season 3 to begin! Bring It On!
The story is becoming better as the young actors master their characters. Just hope that Santa will gave them more money for special effects! And please share some turkey with the skinny Merlin. Happy Christmas!
This is another one of these shows which could well have been decommisioned after the first series, as it wasn't that great, but instead did get a second series and was all the better for this (torchwood fits in that category as well). It seems that sometimes things take a while to settle in, and the first few eopisodes did not grab me at all. I then caught the last couple of episodes of s1 when it was re-run, thought they weren't so bad and resolved to give series 2 a go. That was a really good decision, as the relationships strengthen, the drama amps up and there is still plenty comedy, especially between merlin and arthur. My favourite episode was The lady of the lake, which was heartbreaking and a great performance for Colin Morgan. I can't believe we have to wait for series three now, but I'm pretty sure it's a given.
Recreating the legend of arthur and merlin in form of a TV serial was a bold decision by BBC... However the serial turned out to be masterpiece, with brilliant performances from its cast, excellent cinematography and visual effects. The serial opener introduced the beginning of the friendship between merlin and arthur which would go on to become the heart of one of most famous English legends. The relationship grew from that of simply servant-master one to one of equal friends as epitomized in the 'poisoned chalice' episode. Both Colin and Bradley grew into their roles and delivered excellent performances. Throughout both seasons, we witnessed truly entertaining episodes and one hopes that the trend continues in future seasons. Furthermore, a special praise is due to other actors including Katie mcgrath, richard wilson, anthony steward and angel coulby... So all in all merlin is a fantastic serial and one hopes that it continues for a long time to come :-)
The show has Merlin and Arthur both as young adults/late teens. Instead of Merlin being the older and wiser wizard set on teaching Arthur, we have Merlin just budding into his powers and becomes Arthur's manservant after saving his life. Through various events and attacks from magical creatures, the two are becoming friends.
There's magic, action, hints of romance, and intreige on a level that is exciting and entertaining for, what I believe, teenagers and young adults. There isn't harsh language or major violence, definitely no sex, and is safe for any age, in my opinion. My daughter enjoys watching it and I would recommend it to any her age (mid-late teen) that enjoy fantasy drama shows.
Merlin is an interesting show. It is a FAR better show if you DON'T know the Aruthurian sagas. If you do you will go crazy with the mishmash of characters, and their failure to match the established descriptions.
If you can watch Merlin as simply a show - it is fun. It is a light show, with action, intrigue, love tangles and magical beasties.
For the most part, at the moment, it is a series rather than a soap opera. YOu DO NOT have to have seen all the shows to understand what is happening in THIS episode. Let's hope they keep it this way.
Don't expect any deep moral lessons from the show, but for good clean fun...give it a try.
This is an entertaining, mid-budget show with a bit of wooded humor. If you're a stickler for Arthurian lore, this isn't the show for you, as it takes great liberties to further it's own story. The format is pretty lackluster, with every episode predictably following the same format as the last. The liberal use of modern English lingo is a bit off-putting, in my opinion. The show could still be light and fun without its use. All in all, it's a worthwhile show to watch with plenty of action, enjoyable dialogue and very likable characters. Especially Katie McGrath, who plays Morgana. I predict she'll make the transition to American television in the very near future.
The show was very good except for the fact that tomatoes and eyeglasses were not in England till a few hundred years later. I know the show has magic but aside from the magic everything should be historical factual. Tomatoes did not reach Europe till after Mexico was conquered by the Spanish, tomatoes come from Central America. And as for eyeglasses, the first eyeglass company in England was not formed till 1629 ( and I found that date by doing a very simple search on the internet). If the people in the show need an researcher for historical fact I would loved to be hired. alabamldy
To be honest, after having seen "Robin Hood", I expected another soapy show with poor stories and poor performances (I admit though, that "Robin Hood" actually got better after a while), but I was completely mistaken! To start with, the cast of "Merlin" is just brilliant! Colin Morgan really makes you get very fond of his character, always fearing that his secret might be discovered. He's very friendly and some kind of cheerful, but he also makes you feel how much weight lasts on his shoulders and he's the best, when he shows how much Merlin is torn apart between his friendship and loyalty towards Arthur and his wish to show the world his real identity. Bradley James is not just a pretty face but a really good actor as well. At first sight, his Arthur is this really spoiled, arrogant brat, but at second sight, underneath this armour, you can see his kindness and -- again -- his loyalty for his friends and James manages to show both facets in a really great way. Richard Wilson's Gaius seems to be a really sweet old man, but you can tell, that he has had his fair share of problems and tragedies in his life as well and I still expect to see some very dark secrets from his past revealed. Every time I really hate Uther, there surely is something, that makes me think that he might not be too bad after all and Anthony Head does a great job, creating his character. The women in this show, Katie McGrath and Angel Coulby are not just pretty bystanders but great actresses who make strong and great characters come alive in a most amazing way. The special effects for the dragon are breathtaking, ... . I could go on forever talking about a cast that is just wonderful, down to the smallest role. The storylines are just great and provide a great mixture of adventure and suspense and really funny moments as well. "Merlin" really is a show I'd like to see go on for many, many season.
This show is so great, they should show the first season again at 4 o'clock on a saturday to get a following during the winter. Kinda like Baywatch & Gladiators back in the early to mid 90's oh and Knightrider! My brothers kids love it and I can't get enough especially this 2nd season the 8th episode was amazing as was "The Nightmare Begins".
If Robin Hood can scrape a 3rd season and this can't get at least 4, well then, that's just a crime and our lives become a little less entertained.
I think this show has yet to hit it's top form and the way it's headed so far is very interesting and the actors are starting to draw me in like great stage actors do, a bit off tunnel vision you might say.
Morgana is fantastic I think they need to do more screen time with her, but the actress can do no wrong! She is simply superb, her eyes are so captivating it's like she's actually living it. I don't know anything about the mythology of her character, so if anyone would care to enlighten me, do so. However I really think the actress could do a great villain if the story went that way but I think there is chemistry to be explored between Morgana and Merlin first that might set-up some life/destiny choices over a couple more seasons.
I've been feeling I'd like to see Uther gone but without him being there to be the complete spanner, where will the plot device come from? I would like to see this happen. Big thumbs up to the creators, cast & crew for a fantastically delightful series that really redefines a genre.
Beautiful show! It draws you in immediately and never disappoints, so far ;). Unique spin on the legend, but it works. Please, release the first season on DVD in the US, and also the second season on NBC, hopefully (fingers crossed). I'm also a big fan of the Middle Ages/Renaissance period as well, so that may have something to do with why I love the show. There's just something romantic about that time... The actors are really great too, all of them really, I feel like I know them personally because they all portray the character of their character (lol) so well. Keep it up! I look forward to many more seasons of Merlin!!! Definately worth a look for anyone whose a fan of fantasy or the Arthurian Legends!
I absolutely love the originality in the viewpoint and the fact that it shows Arthur and Merlin as young boys. The back story of Camelot and the binds that tie the characters is great. I look forward to following the characters as they evolve.
Fro the set design to the costumes, the actors to the enviroment this show has an original story line that rounds out and fills in the blanks of the story of Camelot. In costuming the only issue I have come up with is when Morgana wears spike heeled shoes, I think it is hard to stay immersed in the era portrayed when I saw this. Other than that being an admittedly nutty fantasy and sci-fi geek I look forward to each episode. Merlin is a beautifuly mystic and romantic show that gives us a new a fresh look at Camelot. Thank you to all who take part in bringing this story to life.
A VERY loose take on the classic Arthurian legends. I'm really enjoying this show. It has drama, humour, and suspense, and is just plain fun! Anthony Head of Buffy fame really shines as King Uther. There are several times my blood ran cold when he portrayed a furious Uther. Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Angel Coulby and Katie McGrath have excellent chemistry from the very first episode. Russell T. Davies (writer of Dr. Who and Queer as Folk) has significant influence on the show. This is one of the first of the BBC's new 3-Generation shows - something you can watch with your parents and kids and have everyone enjoy it. No small feat! Also, the subtext is brilliant. (Think Xena and Gabrielle, if you don't know what I mean.) It has a highly active online community of very devoted fan writers which add to the fun of the show, even if the works aren't canon. The YouTube fan tribute videos are also great. Fans of the show should check them out.
Don't get too upset by the re-imagining of the Arthurian Legend. "The legend" is already an amalgamation of at least three major sources: folklore, Geoffrey of Monmouth, and Chretian de Troyes. For example, de Troyes added Lancelot to the legend. Why can't the BBC play with it?
A second season has been commissioned by the BBC so don't worry about it disappearing before you can come to like it. Highly recommended!
Merlin is a one-of-a-kind show. Sure, historical fiction has appeared a few times on the airwaves, but not like this. This is a story that portrays of the most legendary characters in all of fiction in a way that's never been done before. Merlin isn't some ancient old guy who protects a king, he's a young boy just learning magic who befriends a prince. It's like Harry Potter meets Camelot. Although it's based very, VERY loosely on the old Arthurian legends it has the same effect: a captivating, wonderful story about bravery and those who protect the ones they love. The characters may not be cutouts of their fantasy counterparts, but they're amazing nonetheless. Besides, if it was a clone of the books how much fun would that be? You'd already know how everything ended. That's pretty boring. This show is for everyone who wants to escape into medieval magic for an hour; and trust me, the second it starts that's just what you'll do.
The action focused on teenage Arthur and his servant, Merlin. When the evil travellers tried to kill Arthur, Merlin saved Arthur but also felt indebted to Morgana for her intuition about the danger. Arthur is arrogant throughout the episode.
A well written and beautifully photographed episode, which allowed us to start out the Arturian legend when the main characters - Arthur and Merlin - were teenagers.
Morgana's character, as the well-intentioned Ward of the King who worried about Arthur's safety, disappointed me because she came across flat throughout most of the episode.
Unfortunately, there was too big of a leap in the storyline from Merlin, the bumbling servant-friend of Arthur to Merlin, the rune-speaking-sorcerer who saved Arthur's life.
Nonetheless, I can hardly wait until next Sunday for the next episode! The action moved quickly and was pretty intense of this type of television show. This is definitely a WINNER for those of us who love Camelot.
When I first say the title, I thought it would be another story telling of a merlin who would be old and wise. Side by side with the great and righteous king Arthur. But to my surprise this was a refreshing look on the whole Arthur and Merlin story.
The show has a mixture of hidden romances, comedy, action en it sucks you right in. When I saw an episode, I couldn't wait for the next one. Not that the story ended with an open end, but just because it's great fun to watch.
With this show I really hope they can take the effort to produce a few more seasons. It really is that good.
I've finished season 1 and I'm really looking foward to the next season.
This show, although with pretty bad CGI, has a pretty good story. Yeah, the writing isn't spot on nor are the facts following history, but eh... it's fantasy. And the actors they chose are brilliant... my favourite being Bradley James as Arthur. The show has a certain air about it, that each week I can't wait to see what they do with Arthur and Gaius and Camelot.
This show also has an element that would draw me in EVERY time... Medieval times! The sword fights and kings and princes, ladies for court, and great battles (although in this case magical) is my favourite type of story.
So, to sum it all up... Merlin is in my top favourites!
Merlin is definately the best tv show I have watched all year. Moving away to university I now have very little time to watch tv anymore, except for Merlin. This is the one that show that I will go out of my watch, and rewatch. I am fascinated with the plot of Merlins magic and how it is kept secret from the kingdom. However this is not main story line i am interested in. I am most interested in Uther's past and what Gaius has done in the past back when magic was prevelent. I believe it creates a great story with more than just plot. The rawness of the show is a great relief from the usual hollywood drama that I can't stand to watch. This is a must watch show and becomes addictive after watching two or three episodes.
Spoiler Alert-Possibility. No mentions of anything specific from episodes but just general character reactions based on what happened. You have been warned :)
Who doesn't love magic? I know I do :). I discovered this show my accident through youtube and decided to check it out. I fell in love with the first episode because it was had humor, magic, kings and princes and a lot of other things. I love the chemistry between the whole cast their portray of their characters. I especially love Merlin (Colin Morgan)he is just so adorable! I like how he stands up to Arthur, yet at the same time he is not being disrespectful to him. And Arthur (Bradley James) is so great in his role. He's got that arrogance to him and yet at the same time he will do anything necessary for his friends. Overall the show is really great, the plot is solid, each episode has the whole adventure/humor/action theme going on and it's just awesome!
This story follows the relationship of Merlin (hence the name) & Arthur.
Merlin is a young man, recently having arrived at Camelot, where Uther Pendragon has banished all forms of magic. After saving Arthur's life, Merlin is named his manservant.
Though not accurate to commonly accepted accounts of their story. It is a very interesting twist.
I'm personally enjoying the show. Though it is what I expected and the dialogue hasn't gotten all that fabulous (something I find BBC shows do very well), the character development is there. I can see where Merlin & Arthur can become friends. He has already shown that he has little regard to Arthur's status as the king's son. (Having called him an idiot many times already in just the first episode). I'm curious as to how the show will go forward. Whether it will drag out their relationship and the dystany that is Arthur or not. And just how far into their story will it go? Will it go until Arthur dies or just when he becomes the Once and Future King?
I'm going to be staying tuned to see where all of this goes.
Plus they've added some interesting side stories that I'll look forward to. Gwen & Merlin... hmmmm
I was really very pleasantly surprised as Merlin began airing here tonight. I have to admit that I was not expecting to like it, but I find myself quite taken with the fresh new take on the old legend.
Colin Morgan delivers a fine young Merlin as he learns to cope with his powers and find his place in the grand scheme of things. I really like the humour he interjects into the character as well.
Bradley James gets to provide the cocky and shouldn't-be-very-likable young Arthur, but he does a terrific job of providing early glimpses into the depth of the person who will be King Arthur.
While not unfolding in the grandeur that my other favourite fantasy "Legend of the Seeker" does, geographically speaking anyway, it does look as though the creators have successfully woven a Camelot with every bit as much scope.
This series definitely seems to have more than enough imagination to tie me over until Seeker returns, and I'm glad to be along for the ride.
Awesome show to see, I have my schedule already programed for Sundays at 7 pm on NBC. If you like Medieval tales this is one to see if gives the legends of Arthur, Morganna, Merlin a good twist in history fables.
Another awesome show!! I did not think I would like this show from the story line, the characters are not true to their true characters, but the more I watched I could not turn away. Arthur as we know was not raised by his father, but by Merlin himself, for King Uther was an immoral and a King of Adultery. Gwenivere was born of Royalty and not a peasant. So I am looking forward to seeing how all the other characters blend into there parts, Is Arthur going to be the true King, is Lancealot going to turn out to be the Honorable Knight by Arthur's side, etc.
Many times, the story of Arthur has been retold, each time a little different. In this version, Merlin and Arthur are the same age and Merlin is a servant. Guinevere is Morgana's handmaiden and Merlin is Arthurs servant and saves his life a few times. Lancelot comes to Camelot wanting to be a knight. Uther Penndragon is played by Anthony Head whom I really like and he does the part so well. I also like the guy who plays Merlin although I don't know his name.
I think Arthur has a journey thorugh the show because he starts off arrogent and insolent and then he changes and helps Merlin.
I love this show a lot!
I love this show! It has been a while since there has been a good fantasy series on TV! and the way they've made the characters the same as the books but with a little more zing is fantastic! The show will keep you entertained and enthralled from one episode to the next, you just cant wait, so my advice if you can watch it all in one hit. If there is a season 2 to be released i hope it will be as fantastic as season number one! Merlin is a great show for any age group tho some kids may find it a little scary, so perhaps watch it with a adult or during the day :)
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