There’s this cute little show that makes me happy inside every time I watch it. It’s name – Merlin.
Merlin (which made my TV Show List) is a fantasy-adventure British show that tells the story of the wizard Merlin, Prince Arthur, Arthur’s knights, and Camelot. But there’s a twist: Instead of a wise, ancient Merlin, the wizard is portrayed (by Colin Morgan) as a young man – more friend than mentor to Arthur (Bradley James).
Oh, and Merlin has to keep his magic secret from almost everyone, including Arthur.
I remember that after watching the first episode, I felt compelled to check out the next, and the next. Something about the show was drawing me in.
And it wasn’t the complex plot.
Colin Morgan and Bradley James carried the show for most of the first three seasons. This had largely to do with the fact that Colin Morgan and Bradley James are adorable/hot/cute/lovable.
Plus, they have great on-screen chemistry (in a completely heterosexual sense).
Also, they’re great friends off-screen. I know this because I’ve seen a bunch of youtube videos of them having fun together. Exhibit A:
And I have other reasons for enjoying Merlin.
Its setting, for example, is extremely unique, not at all your typical TV-fare: It takes place in the mythical land of Camelot in a time of magic, as my title suggests and the show’s intro declares. It’s very much England during the Middle Ages, except, of course, it’s not.
I love the leather boots, stone castles, wooden doors, and dirt floors, the marketplace, the mix of modern and ancient (by which I mean that in the fantasy version of the Middle Ages there’s more freedom with regard to different races and the gentler sex), love the jousting, the knights, and oh, you get the picture.
All that’s pretty much what kept me watching through season 3 – on and off, but still, quite remarkable.
You see, the plot never moved forward.
Every episode had the same story-arc. I wouldn’t want to ruin the show for anyone who hasn’t seen it, so here’s a SPOILER ALERT that holds for the rest of this post.
Basically, a typical episode looked like this:
Evil witch comes to Camelot, does evil stuff, gives magic a bad name, Uther (Arthur’s father) persecutes the evil witch, and Merlin saves the day by doing good magic in secret.
It was a good idea for a single episode, but it got a bit tiresome when it kept going for three seasons.
I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised by the end of season 3 when the show underwent a transformation.
The plot actually progressed. The events of one episode seeped into the next and affected the events of future episodes.
And instead of straight-up good vs evil, there’s now much more gray. I’ll give you a great example of what I mean:
In one of the earlier episodes, a woman comes to Camelot and tries to enchant her way to the throne (then occupied by Uther). She’s outed as the evil witch that she is, Merlin does some good magic, she’s gone from Camelot, and everything is right with the world.
In contrast, in one of the last episodes of season 4, a princess comes to Camelot who has a chance at the throne (now occupied by Arthur). Not only is she not evil, she’s practically perfect. Arthur is forced to make an adult decision between this princess and his true love – both equally good women.
Season 4 recently wrapped and I, for one, am eagerly looking forward to the new season.
What are your thoughts about the show? Have you seen it? Do you want to?
Fun fact about Merlin: fourteen of its actors have guest-starred on another British show, Doctor Who. Check out the pictures!
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