BBC (ended 2012)





Merlin Fan Reviews (187)

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out of 10
4,080 votes
  • Lacking good acting, especially serious acting

    just to be short I love watching series and when I start to watch I normally finish it till the end of the season. There were just 2 series which I didn't/couldn't finish beyond the first few episodes. These were Merlin and Robin hood from BBC. In my opinion the acting is bad, the whole sphere is like not serious acting, but more like childish and you can guess everything that will happen from start to end. It just doesnt deserve anything more than a 1. It's not the worst serie but it shouldnt be compared or put in the same charts as Game of thrones, Spartacus, supernatural and a few others.

    It's an oke show for people under 15 years I guess.
  • Winter must be coming

    Is it me or have they simply nicked the sets from Robbin Hood, and brought in a bunch of new awful actors? Typical BBC to rehash something. The use of modern language and political correctness got tedious. None of the seasoned actors like Anthony Head gave a particularly stunning performance and I though Richard Wilson was too out of his league, talk about a fish out of water. After seeing Gwent From Torchwood I was kind of hoping captain Jack would show up for a bit of comic releaf, No such luck though. Reckon the critics will hammer this one.
  • The high score this show has achieved at baffles me. The show is mediocre at best. Too many flaws across the board makes this show a near miss.

    During the first few minutes of the pilot it becomes obvious that not much money have been put into it - if money could be used as a measurement of quality that is.

    My first observation, and the most prominent, is the lack of depth, or detail if you will. The show does not feel real, by far. It's supposed to have a medieval feel to it (or I'd like to think that was the intention) but it comes across way too "modern".

    The dialog is terrible, and I mean REALLY terrible. There are only sporadic intelligent dialog that mostly gets obscured by bizarre interpersonal relations.

    Most of the special effects looks like they are made for a computer game. Nice to look at but feels unnatural. Some are just plain bad.

    I can't blame the actors. I believe they have talent, doing a good job, taking into account the unintelligent script they have to work with.
  • Laughably bad.

    Where to begin?

    If the creators of Merlin had put a third of the care they devoted to the sets, costumes, and props into the writing instead, they might have had a decent show on their hands. Instead we get another half-hearted attempt at fantasy that assumes (yet again) that all it has to do to sucker an audience in to watching is display a bunch of fantasy accoutrements. I dearly hope it is wrong.

    Name-dropping does neither a character nor a story make, and what we have here are a lot of names and a dearth of tale. Save Arthur from the hands of the BBC: avoid this show.
  • Castle backdrops - check. Midly pretty love interest - check. Voices singing in high chants - check. Good looking male cast - check. Boring plot - check. Carts full of hay - check. Fake horse hooves sound - check.

    Well I was all settled for my Saturday night. Robin Hood is back! I mean I was so engrossed by the last series that I made sure I missed every episode, but hey it's bbc one for goddsake! Though something isn't quite right....ah its Merlin! Sorry I was confused for a moment. Okay, bias off for a moment - I want to love this series, as I do Dr. Who and all its niggles!

    The orchestra take their places. That girl offuv torchwood puts in her fake tooth gap, and we're away - transported to wonderful scenery for the first 5 minutes and a fake backdrop not long after. The acting, well, how can I put it, it needed some magic. Sorry. And Richard Wilson was very very weird and creepy. Say no more about that, I will have nightmares. doe shvae potential. Surely the storylines that can be written for this series could be fantastic, and let's hope the acting gets better. Though with Gwen from Torchwood on hand let's hope they ask other seasoned actors for advice.

    Well here's hoping for Merlin magic.
  • Disapointing, yet haven't missed a show.

    A teen Merlin in a kingdom where magic is banned.

    The premise is an interesting twist on how Arthurian legend is usually handled. A young Merlin easily appeals to the youngsters, but at the same time makes the show slightly bland for the grown ups. The show's biggest problems are the forced conflicts. Magic is forbidden, yet it's the most interesting aspect of Merlin's character. Merlin is destined to be Arthur's friend, but Arthur's character gives him very few reasons to be one. I can't shake the feeling that in Merlin's place, I'd be finding ways to dethrone Arthur's father, King Ulrich, and restore magic. Unfortunately this line of thought is never seriously brought up in the series.

    A significant change in the way the show is written might help it rise to new heights. Most other aspects of it are top notch.
  • Laughably generic, annoyingly goofy. Quality costumes and sets can't save it from terrible writing.

    I keep expecting the main antagonist sorceress to scream "next time, gadget!" at the end of each episode.
    It's called "Merlin" but it seems that the only spell anyone seems to know is basic telekinesis. The characters make pretty much zero sense, endlessly "owing each other their lives" and trying to sacrifice themselves for each other. The "romance" or whatever their trying to have between Merlin and Gwen is completely juvenile and extremely annoying.

    Last but not least, are the "comical" portions of the show. Where, for whatever reason, they try and make the show seem wacky. They then proceed to play sound effects that sound straight out of loony toons. It's jarring at best.

    The dragon makes no sense at all. He's mysterious for the sake of being mysterious, to the point of being confusing.

    Ultimately, the show might entertain you if you're looking for some generic fantasy.. stuff. It's got some good sets/costumes at the effects are passable, but the writing makes this show pretty hard to bear.
  • The adventures of young warlock Merlin in Camelot, and the story of his friendship with prince Arthur.

    The sad thing is: I really love the idea of a show about the Legend of Arthur and I wish this was the show I wanted it to be.

    But even though it has it´s moments, the show is does not fulfill this wish.

    And even though I love the Saga of Arthur and his knights I wouldn`t even mind all the free interpretations and changes.
    If there were not so much clichee, too much teenage-drama, and a lack of a slightest sense of middle-age customs and habits which most good fantasy-authors have. I don´t know the writers, but apart from Julian Jones, who seems to know what he´s doing (and who we can thank for the better episodes) it never feels quite right to me.

    This show is supposed to be family-friendly, hence the lack of blood (which at times feels like a bad cut-job) and the almost-cute Monsters (which they could have saved until later).
    I get it. Again, I would not mind, but the least I expect is believable Characters-development and a though-through fantasy world.

    I've seen worse fantasy shows, but sometimes "Merlin" reminds me of (imho) horrible shows like "Hercules". Dumbed down legend meets Disney-like medieval-fantasy. Still I will watch a bit more, like "Primeval" (Dinosaurs, yeah!)I can´t stop. It´s sometimes painful but still better then nothing. I can only hope for BBC series of George R.R. Martins "Game of Thrones" to not disappoint for once.

    (P.S. not a native speaker, so nevermind my english)
  • I wanted to like this show so badly

    I wanted to like this show, I honestly did. It has all the stuff I could have wanted: magic, dragons, fights, comedy, and more... so why did I rate it so low?

    First it was the acting - The actors just don't seem to fit their roles, personality wise. They are way to stiff, and are obviously acting, they don't seem to feel right in their roles. Their lines are delivered pretty poorly, or overly dramatically. Next was the CGI dragon - this has it's own special place because I really hate everything about it. If you can't use good cgi, don't use any. I also don't like how Merlin keeps running to the dragon to get tips on his destiny and what he needs to do every. step. of. the. way. Every new development doesn't need this seemingly all knowing dragon's help. Third - I can deal with the lack of magic for now, so while it does bug me that the magic used is pretty petty, I can deal until his mentor stops telling him not to use magic, but to fullfill his destiny as a great Warlock...

    Last, and wrapping it all up, is the writing. This goes hand in hand with the casting. I believe the lack of good writing and trying to make it way overly dramatic, have helped this less than great cast fail even more so. The scenes where Merlin (the servant) keeps running to the dungeon to tell Gwen that "He won't let her die... " because he has all the mighty powers of a useless, unheard servant. Woohoo. I also don't care about the legends as much, since there are hundreds of retellings of them, so the lines can be crossed a little bit I guess. So just all in all, I can't stand watching it. The acting is really, at this point, so bad that it makes my skin itch for all the bad drama, and the lame jokes and pretense which the characters use just really make my head hurt. I might watch it again in a few seasons if it somehow gets past, because I really do wish I could have watched this series. I honestly hope that I can turn into it in 2 seasons or so and say "Wow, this is awesome." Right now though, it is far below that point.
  • New Watcher oppinion - Bad show for now

    SPOILER for those who have seen the first 3 episodes

    Because I heard so many good reviews about the show I started watching it. I go on, interesting pilot, the confrontation between the bully Arthur and Merlin was the best part of the show , and what do you know, after Merlin becomes the servant/slave of Arthur (cause that's what he deserves for saving him in the first place), they suddenly are best friends. No more witty remarks, jabs one at the other, nothing else beside friendship and respect and most importantly trust that bloomed from nowhere. Ah btw, whatever happened to Arthurs gang of bullies, he's shown in the pilot all the time with his gang right behind him , laughing at the people Arthur mocks. I reckon with Merlin in the picture, there was already too much guy love to add more dudes in Arthur's inner circle.

    Oh btw, the show has dragons, nice idea, bad thing the writing is really bad. I would've expected, if all the dragons had been killed by Uther, that the last one would bare a little grudge for humans, and Merlin because he is such a nice warlock would gain the dragons respect, but no, the dragon is in chains but very wise and polite and full of riddles it seems, ah and he helps Merlin with no ulterior motive, just because he is the Chosen One Hey there Neo. Also, 2 guards posted on the entrance that follow a pair of dices to a far far away place in a distant galaxy was also real smart , I think they never came back from star wars universe , cause now Merlin can go whenever he pleases to see the old dragon and ask for advice. And why just two guards, if dragons are suppose to be so dangerous that Uther had them all slaughtered, I reckon he would take real care of the last one. Ah I remember, when Merlin saw the dragon the 2nd time, the dragon finally told his first riddle, and Merlin's line was" Oh great, another riddle" told with an unsatisfied tone- . Nice episode awareness. I think they decided after the pilot to add a quirk to the dragon to speak in riddles and forgot they just thought of that, real smart.

    About knight Vali-something, the actor was great, for me I really felt sorry the character didn't receive a better development and maybe a more stable position. We don't know motives, why he wanted to kill Arthur, where he came from, nothing, we just know he has a magic shield, but hey, that's the whole point of the show, Magic, so nothing else matters, just cool magic ideas. WAIT!! I know how about a cursed toenail that does something to kill Arthur of course.

    So I make my way to the 3d episode, a plague, nice. The episode had potential, but it failed to deliver a satisfying show. Something made out of clay and water surely has weakness to fire. Made of water I first would think to freeze it or something, but hey if the writers say u could burn a creature made of water and earth, so be it.

    Ok now , I am off to watch the 4 episode to give this show one last try . Cheers and Happy new year to all

  • Merlin? You must be joking!

    Are the writers of this actually familiar with the Arthurian legend? Do they think their 'new spin'; is actually a modern interpretation? Because if theuy do then they are seriously deluded. The names are the same, but that is the only thing that is. This series is so full of inaccuracies with the character portrayals bearing very limited resemblance to their traditional selves, that I can only assume some wonderful new historical source has been discovered by the writers -and completely ignored by academia. Like so many recent so-called 'historical' dramas (like The Tudors), the makers are more intent on pandering to rating ploys than established history - albeit mythological.
  • For what it is, it's actually pretty good

    But to be fair, the number of shows having to do with Athurian legends is limited. But for what I've seen in the show, it's actually quite good. Sure not the best, but it could be worse.
  • Merlin is an interesting show, in the fact that you want to know what they will do next, to try and change the story we know and love. The storylines need some work. Hopefully the show can get better, if renewed for a new season.

    I'm trying to hang in there with this new concept for Merlin's younger days, if you forget that Arthur and co are supposed to be much younger or non-existent. Arthur is already the next in line to the throne and knows it. (Can't wait to see what they do with the Sword in the Stone and how it fits in to the new story). The show is okay, the storylines have generally been interesting, and hopefully it can get better. The show has a really good cast with Anthony Head as Uther (Arthur's dad) and also special guest appearances from established names such as Eve Myles (Torchwood) and Michelle Ryan (Bionic Woman).
  • A lot of potential... but lack of imagination

    Merlin had a lot of potential. But very poor production and plot. A "great" wizard who's "greatest" ability in all four seasons is pushing people over. Every time. Pushing people over with telekinesis. That's all he can do. Plus he can crush some leaves and bake a cake. That's about it. I was very disappointed and stopped watching it after the last season ended. Good thing Morgana was hot.
  • This is an amazing show HOWEVER!!!

    This show is really good... However, its not as spicy as the Original show called CAMELOT that was cancelled after the first season. I think they need to add some nudity and it would be flawless... It will become a show that will continue like Y&R... This is why HBO wins all the awards... Just my honest opinion!
  • Not a bad way to waste a little time but I do have a big problem with it.

    This is an ok show as long as you're not expecting too much but mindless entertainment. After two episodes, it has the right setup and potential to go a long way. Like Xena or Hercules. My biggest problem is: with the exception of Morgana, all the women on this show so far are freaking hideous. Not exactly 'escapist' entertainment. For a show of this type, I expect the women to be hot. I know, it's shallow, but there you are. I mean Gwen is supposed to be incredibly beautiful. No offense, but in this show she is somewhat plain looking. Mighty unattractive in my opinion. UGH!! So, for that reason alone, I guess it's a good thing it only goes for 13 episodes.
  • Butchered the mythology

    I'm not going to go long.. but once I hit the 3rd season and they were still pulling the trite and unskilled "o look, somehow no one notices anything" BS I finally had to spoil myself and then laughed before getting pissed that a bunch of hacks were allowed to butcher the mythology of Arthur and Merlin... two years of the games I could take, but when it just kept going and keeps going til the bloody end of the normal myth then it's just time to admit it's utter crap by any standards. There is no defending this show at this point... too many screw ups with the major points of mythology and characters, especially the bond and understanding between Merlin and Arthur... and I thought the more equal friends route could be good. Too bad they hired a bunch of idiots that couldn't actually understand the mythology at all.
  • Good show except for historical inaccuracy's. Oh, for writers and prop departments who know their history!

    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
  • Follow the adventures of Merlin as he learns how to control his powers - and decides what his ethics will be.

    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.
  • Main plot please be over

    I liked it better when there were interesting different things that Merlin had to over come. This whole FULFILL THE PROPHECY and such is rather annoying. I want some awesome trickery by a goblin or Arthur trying to prove he can win a competition without being king. These episodes were fun and exciting. Where did they go???
  • lil by lil

    umm a wonderful show great script .. but they shove the show with a lot of details alot that we dont see and it take too long
  • Like the show, bud hate the fact that everything is the off beat. I mean Arthur and Merlin are of the same age. Something I think in the legend is not true. And that's just one thing that's wrong. Bud nevertheless Fun to Watch. Sorry for bad English.

    If you set aside every thing you know about the legend of Merlin and Arthur and let's not forget Camelot. You would verymuch like this show. I my self life in the Netherlands and watch this show on the BBC. And along with my girlfriend I really like this show. The maine thing about the show that makes it funny is the fact that you can watch arthur and merling getting along. Merlin is still in his teens and just begining to understand wath he can do. And that's off course doing magic without using a spellbook. The relm of Camelot is in a state of Dislike of magic. The king (Arthur's Father) succeeds in the fact to outlaw everything that has anything to do with magic. And at a time of merlin that's a bit of a problem.
  • its very captivating, its a great fantasy almost like harry potter, just better. its definitely one of my favourite shows...

    the story of arthur has been made into movies, cartoons and books, but they never take one of the sub characters and make something of them, this time they did it and its brilliant!!! I really think the show has potensial to become a hit, as long as they stick to the actual merlin story and not waver off the path like they do in so many stories...they should just let him grow up like he is sopposed to and not change everything to some random story which is not according to the real story. so far the have done it brilliantly. Hat of to the writer and creator of the show, I love it.
  • A good show... not the best, but it is unpredictable so it has merit for originality.

    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.
  • A clever title goes here!

    tis show would be so much better if arthur knew who merlin is and wat he can do
  • An epic teen based enchanted drama about Merlin's quest to fulfil his legendary role in making history with Arthur and the Knights of the round table.

    The show is enigmatic and oozes charm with the right amount of ingredients of humour, action, romance, magic and heart to create a monster hit that is Merlin. The characters differ from the actual legend itself thus giving the new generation something fresh to make this show their own. Arthur is thrust into a world where magic is deemed as evil and must be eradicated as his father grooms him for greatness to lead the kingdom. Arthur does not share the same values as his father when it comes to punishing the innocent. He has feelings for a maid in his court named Guinevere. Merlin enters Arthur's life as a servant. Merlin uses his powers to protect Arthur from harms way.
  • Needs *major* tuning.

    Okay - it is always easy to be harsh on pilot episodes especially of new BBC series. However, this one was utter tosh, with very few redeeming features for such a rich storyline. Given how rare they were, I will list them first:

    Arthur: pitch perfect in his portrayal as a total pillock. One of the very few decent examples of acting here.

    Special effects: of a rather high quality. The budget dragon was not half bad.

    Merlin: a likable chap, except for the major problems in his acting abilities. He simply has none. There were serious issues with his deliveries, and timing, but hopefully they are tutoring him. Fast.

    Then there was the acting of the rest of the crew: utterly lacking. The supporting female role - Merlin's opposite was boring, and plain to look at (superficial, I know, but this is TV after all). The "belle" of the show seems to think that looking pretty is an excuse for having the emotional scale of a lime. The old physician was a little creepy. The king actually seemed like quite a nice chap at times. Lines were not delivered with any sense of timing - by ANY of the supporting cast. Most scenes seemed completely contrived.

    Needs a lot of work to become remotely watchable. I will check out the next one, because the chemistry between Merlin and Arthur was actually well played. Am going to be highly surprised if this makes the cut for season 2.
  • A pretty good family show but not as good as it could have been.

    The premise for this show is simple. It is a reworking of the King Arthur legend but set when Arthur and Merlin are both still in their teens and Arhurs father Uther is King of Camelot.

    As you can probably tell they have taken more than a few liberties with the story in particular the age of the characters and their group dynamics - for instance Quenevire is a servant.

    The acting is what you would expect from a family drama such as this and is watchable if some what melodramatic in places. The special effects are however extremely well done and one of the highlights of the show.

    All in all it is a good solid family show but nothing to write home about.
  • Merlin, ,Merlin, Merlin.

    Merlin, ,Merlin, Merlin. Fortunately he is not the Joker, but a do gooder magician. Although I take interest in finding out about Merlin's history, this was not exactly the history lesson I was hoping for, sure the storyline were good, the magic was great which there was not a lot of so we can savor the moment, but the actors(sigh),well they have to lot to do. One thing I feel the show (Merlin) is good at is suspense and making you think twice. However the weird thing i seem to find in me is I actually thought the episode 1 & 2 were great, well maybe its just me or my extreme interest in the old-aged times.
  • Good show with some flaws.

    I was somewhat excited about this series when I first heard of it. I was hoping for something like this Robin Hood series that I learned to love very much. It has some similarities in its looks and how the episodes are done and that is a good thing. I like the actors and how they do their parts even though I think the King needs some more finetuning. Sometimes I lack to see why he reacts like this. I like the stories so far. A good balance between action and storytelling. And now for the flaws. I know that there is no 'the real' version of the Arthur/Merlin legend and I have gotten used to Merlin being used as a name instead of the title as the highest among the druids. Excalibur was given to Arthur by he Lady of the Lake. Ok, they ignored that, and then they did not when Merlin was asked to get rid of the Sword. Not that there is not a massive cave that hardly anyone knows about with a dragon that could be used to hide the sword. No, he throws it in a lake. Considering that people from villages might go for a bath and how far a normal person can throw a sword. Maybe not that clever. Having Gwenhwyfar, or Gwen, being a maid only adds to it.

    All in all they butcher the legend of Arthur too much for their own needs. Yet the series can be enjoyed as the characters are very likable. And I am interested where they are going with the global story.
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