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Wish I liked it better!
on June 22, 2012
As I mentioned in a review of Starz Camelot series, I've been an Arthur fan since my teen years. Now on S3, I yearn to enjoy the Merlin series more than I do. To me, it just seems like a kids' version of the Arthurian legends, with all the hokey faux Old English incantations, CGI monsters, unrealistic scenery, and teenagers playing the important roles. Several characters in S1, ep 1, had so much heavy & fake makeup on that I almost threw in the towel right then! Having Merlin himself be a young servant rather than a bearded wizard and Arthur a self-involved youth with a boorish streak is an original concept--but it amused me that they still felt they had to throw in an old geezer (Gaius) to take the place of the elderly sage that the Merlin character usually fills! With Guinevere also being a servant in this version, that's two key characters they've "demoted." One thing that really bugs me is the way they've plucked names of significant characters from the legends and applied them randomly--sometimes to characters that get killed off in the course of one scene this series--just to get the names in there, I guess. As for Morgana, Katie McGrath does a decent job with her descent into wickedness until you compare her with Eva Green in Camelot, and, well, there IS no comparison, although, as with the latter series, she is largely the most interesting character.
Uther Pendragon is more involved in his children's lives than in most versions, and I do like the dynamic and the actor who portrays him. As far as the eps themselves go, I definitely prefer the serious ones over the "comical" ones. The one called "Changeling" was embarrassing even to watch! I don't quite "get" the relationship between Merlin and the dragon, or why Merlin let him loose in S2 to wreak havoc on the country. Maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention.
I know this series is wildly popular and has a huge fandom, and that there will be plenty of people who disagree with me, which is fine. I just wish it was more what I wanted! As it is, it just doesn't seem fair in the scheme of things that Starz Camelot folded after one season and this one is approaching its fifth! As it goes on, I find my attention wandering more and more as I watch. But the great thing about the Arthur legends is that they CAN live in so many forms and variations; I'm likely to keep watching as I do find the series mildly entertaining and I love everything Arthur (except the movie: "Excalibur"!), so, "Merlin,"carry on!