TV REVIEW: Merlin Series 3 – Episodes 1 & 2 with Exclusive Photos + Q&A
Posted by Sharlene Mousfar on September 7, 2010
Series Three of BBC’s Merlin Starts Off with a Bang
by Sharlene Mousfar
Hold on to your feathered hats, Merlin fans; you’re all in for a treat with the Series Three premiere of the hit BBC show! I was lucky enough to attend the Merlin event at the BFI Southbank, to interview the cast and stay for the screening + Q&A. I’d like to give a HUGE thank you to Catherine, Michelle and Natalie from the BBC for making the day run so smoothly, to the cast for being so great to speak with and to my friend and assistant for the day, Mirjana for taking video and photos!
The following is mainly spoiler-free and only things we’ve seen in the trailers released thus far might be mentioned, so you have been warned!
We were shown the first two episodes as one “mini-movie” on a huge screen that heightened the effects and drama of the episodes, which was a great experience.
Firstly, the episodes are incredible - cinematic and epic a la “Lord of the Rings” that gives you goosebumps from the intensity of the scenes. Johnny Capps, Julian Murphy, the actors and writers have really upped their game. Compared to Series Two, the tone is darker, there’s more mystery and it has more of a grown-up feel but doesn’t lose its sense of humor which makes the show appeal to a wide audience.
It’s one year since the end of Series Two and a lot has happened in Camelot since Morgana’s disappearance. A lot of character development for Arthur, Merlin and especially, Morgana — it’s no secret that she’s returning but how she comes back is another story. Unfortunately so far, not much has changed for Gwen, Gaius and Uther, but I fully expect that to change as the Series goes on.
Some things I observed were that in comparison to last season, the friendship between Merlin and Arthur hasn’t being “reset.” There’s a brotherly relationship between the two; teasing and bullying as close friends are wont to do, which is refreshing to see — lots of laughs!
We see Arthur reluctantly take his first steps toward his role as the future King of Camelot. He shows a great amount of thought behind what he’s attempting to do and to that effect, we also see a bit of the wisdom that Merlin is known for in legend; how he takes charge of the situation from his end and how that influences Gaius and Arthur. I was happy to see this after a little too much of the “comic relief” Merlin we saw in Series Two.
Morgana has returned and is not exactly what she seems. There’s more depth to her, and we start to learn about what happened to her once she left Camelot, and we see how those experiences influence her behavior toward Uther. I had some issues with her actions in relation to her sentiments towards Arthur and even Gwen, who didn’t get much focus except for romantic moments that, to me, felt awkwardly inserted in the context of the story.
Characters new and old return, excellent and eye-popping fight sequences between expected and unexpected foes, awesome CGI and there were some very scary moments — some screams and gasps were heard throughout the screening; it might be a bit much for some of the youngest audience members.
The trailer for the rest of Series Three just makes it look like this story is only going to get better and better and I can’t wait to see it!
Stay tuned to Geek Syndicate as the interviews will be coming soon but here are some pictures from the day to tide you over