Merlin is back with even more magic, adventure and romance as the young wizard struggles to protect Prince Arthur in the perilous world of Camelot. While battling deadly assassins, mystical monsters and the most powerful sorcerers Camelot has ever seen, Merlin must work harder than ever to conceal his unique abilities, as King Uther redoubles his war against magic. And Merlin isn’t the only one whose destiny calls—Lady Morgana , Uther’s ward, discovers dangerous secrets she dare not reveal; Lancelot returns, changing everything for both Gwen and Arthur; and King Uther falls in love, little knowing that the charming Lady Catrina is secretly a hideous troll. And as Arthur continues on his path from arrogant prince to the noble and just King Arthur of legend, we see the return of the one prophesied to kill him—the mysterious druid boy, Mordred. Featuring exciting new villains, white-knuckle stunt sequences, and spectacular CGI monsters, Merlin: Season Two is more thrilling than ever.
Arthurian legend meets Beverly Hills 90210 in this BBC series that imagines the lives of King Arthur and the wizard Merlin as teenagers. The show takes any number of liberties with the traditional mythos, but two are crucial: Arthur's father, Uther (Anthony Head, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), has banished magic from Camelot on pain of death; and Guinevere (Angel Coulby), Arthur's destined queen, is the servant of Uther's ward, Morgana (Katie McGrath), setting up a class schism between her and Arthur (Bradley James). This developing romance is one of the strongest throughlines of the second season, which also sees Morgana cultivating her magical powers and Merlin (Colin Morgan) learning about his mysterious father. In fact, season 2 is much more about Arthur than Merlin--episode after episode features Arthur maturing, learning a little humility and patience whilst engaging in a lot of swordplay and jousting, while Merlin spends a lot of time observing from the sidelines and muttering the occasional spell. (Though fans of the young sorcerer shouldn't fear--Merlin has plenty of dashing moments himself.)
The special effects budget has clearly been upped--the show teems with monstrous creatures, including gargoyles, giant scorpions, a troll, a were-panther, and of course the last dragon from season 1 (voiced by John Hurt, Alien, 1984). Merlin has its flaws; the young actors seem more modern than Arthurian thanks to their wonderful teeth and contemporary attitudes, and the scripts and direction can be a bit pedestrian. But that's not what connects viewers to the show--it's the passions of adolescence merged with the pageantry and derring-do of British legends, enacted by a charismatic cast. The climactic episodes will leave fans hungry for season 3. In addition to 13 episodes, Merlin: The Complete Second Season offers an entire disc of behind-the-scenes footage and other extras. --Bret Fetzer