Merlin Episode 1 – TV Review

What’s it about?

Camelot is a land where magic is banned and Merlin … is a young boy who works as Arthur’s manservant and has to hide his abilities…(IMDB)

Watch the trailer

Review it:

I admit I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Merlin. When I first heard about the premise I groaned…a lot. Merlin and Arthur as young men before the start of the legend..blah, blah…bored. To me it sounded like a sword and sorcery version of Smallvile and in a lot of ways I was right. So you would be surprised to hear (though not if you listened to Episode 93) that I really enjoyed this first episode.

There were some top names in there  John Hurt, Richard Wilson and Anthony Stewart head and all were on fine form and seemed to enjoy there roles rather than dialling in their performances. Colin Morgan who played Merlin had a likeable quality to hm and although he did deliver some cluncky dialogue that cheeky likeableness carried him through. The young Arthur was not the Arthur we are used to seeing. Here he is shown as a spoilt bully boy but despite this you can see flashes of nobility(well one really) that will grow within him.

The plot of the first episode was a fairly standard revenge plot but it was executed well. There was one scene in particular where the use of magic and music was fantastic and really pushed the episode up a few notches for me. The way magic users are treated in this world is harsh and it make’s Merlin’s position all the more dangerous. I think there’s a lot of scope with this and I hope this angle gets explored more as the season progresses.

The effects were great in this episode. Given the fact that it’s a TV show and on the BBC I wasn’t expecting much but it surprised me. Some of the CGI landscape/ Camelot shots were a bit ropey (no surprise there) but hey you can’t have everything. There were some definite comparisons between this and Smallville and the legend that we know about Merlin is given a serious rewrite. Fans of the original myths and legends BE WARNED you may have a lot of issues with this show.

Overall young Merlin’s first outing into the world was a dammed good one and left me wanting to watch more. 

Rate it:

Stars 3.5 out of 5 (I probably would have given this a 3 if not for one particular scene in the climax of the  episode)

Dry Slaps: 1 for some of the dialogue and ropey CGI

GS Reviewer: The Nuge

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One comment

  1. I love me some Arthurian legend. I love me some Sword and Sorcery. I was hoping for a more Dark Age telling of things, but this was a great start to an S&S series. I’ve now also seen episode two which I really enjoyed. I wasn’t initially expecting to.

    My only issue is: If you’re doing S&S in this vein, why not make a whole new concept? This is a bit like “lets cash in on the name Merlin”. But it’s great fun. Good cast. Good Saturday evening Saturday TV.

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