Missing Merlin? Here’s Some Shows That Might Help Fill the Gap

merlin05x09_010“What am I going to watch NOW?” were the words I uttered after watching the heart-wrenching series finale of BBC’s Merlin and I know I’m not the only one.

While there are plenty of shows already on the air that you’re likely already tuned into like Once Upon a Time, Supernatural, Game of Thrones and Doctor Who, it’s nice to jump into something from the start.

The following are some new upcoming shows that may make your Merlin-less evenings a little easier to bear:

davincidemonsDa Vinci’s Demons, BBC & Starz (Spring 2013)

Written by David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Man of Steel) with music by critically acclaimed composer Bear McCready (Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead), this 8 episode historical fantasy follows the ‘untold’ story of the world’s greatest genius, Leonardo da Vinci, during his turbulent youth in Renaissance Florence.

The brilliant the twenty-five year old Da Vinci (Tom Riley) is an artist, inventor, swordsman, lover, dreamer and idealist. As a free thinker, with intellect and talents that are almost superhuman, he struggles to live within the confines of his own time. He begins to not only see the future, but invent it.  Sherlock fans will recognize someone as well as Lara Pulver is part of this ensemble cast. Another “before they were famous” take on a legendary figure, I’m so excited as the trailer at NYCC looked incredible.


three_musketeers_coverThe Musketeers, BBC & BBC America (2014)

Taking inspiration from Alexandre Dumas’ classic story, The Three Musketeers, BBC America & BBC One are co-producing this contemporary 10-episode drama written by Adrian Hodges (My Week With Marilyn, Survivors, Primeval) where the The Musketeers are  a band of courageous, highly trained soldiers who are assigned to protect the King and ready to fight any battle if the cause is just. The series will take place in Dumas’ original 17th century setting and is set debut in 2014.


jonathan-strange-and-mr-norrell-by-susanna-clarkeJonathan Strange & Mr. Norell, BBC

More books are coming to life on the small screen: BBC One is adapting Susanna Clarke’s acclaimed fantasy novel as a six-part series directed by Doctor Who & Sherlock alumni Toby Haynes. He’s the one responsible for The Pandorica Opens and The Reichenbach Fall so you know this series is going to be incredible.

Set during the Napoleonic Wars, it’s the story of two rival magicians from Britain and details a fantastic alternate history where the North of England was the dominion of a magical overlord known as the Raven King, and pulls in many notable historical characters. There aren’t any details about when it will come to our televisions nor the cast involved.


9922efde-95c1-4517-866d-435136477fa8_200x113Utopia, Channel 4 (2013)

This 6 episode series written by Dennis Kelly is about a small group of people meet up on an internet forum about a graphic novel called The Utopia Experiments. The novel is about a scientist who has made a deal with the devil, and it is supposed to have predicted the worst disasters of the last century.

However the group are not the only ones interested in the manuscript, as ‘The Network’ are also after it. The Network are a little like the Men in Black, government operatives who are happy to murder anyone who has knowledge of Utopia in order to keep it a secret. The strangers must therefore stand together to find out the truth about the Utopia manuscript and prevent themselves being next on The Network’s hit list. Utopia includes stars Nathan Stewart-Jarret (Misfits) and Alexandra Roach (The Iron Lady). We had a sneak peek at the first episode and you can read that review here.


sinbadlogoSinbad, BBC, Sky, Syfy (April 2013)

It’s another take on the classic Middle Eastern story of a heroic sailor who has fantastic adventures going to magical places, meeting monsters, and encountering supernatural phenomena. Sounds a bit Merlin-y to me but set somewhere in the desert instead of medieval castles.

The 12-part series follows Sinbad (newcomer Elliot Knight) after he accidentally kills the son of the powerful Lord Akbari (Lost’s Naveen Andrews) in a fist fight. In retribution, Sinbad’s brother is killed in front of his eyes and he manages to escape. But while he’s on his sailing adventures, he is unaware that Lord Akbari doesn’t think the blood debt is enough and is still hunting him. Guest stars include Sophie Okonedo, Timothy Spall and Dougray Scott.


draculaDracula, NBC & Sky Living

Jonathan Rhys Meyers has landed the role of another infamous figure – Dracula. From the producers of “Downton Abbey,” the 10-episode series introduces the legendary bloodsucker as he arrives in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who maintains that he wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. In reality, he hopes to wreak havoc on the people who ruined his life centuries earlier.

There’s only one circumstance that can potentially thwart his plan and that would be that Dracula falls hopelessly in love with a woman who seems to be a reincarnation of his dead wife. This sounds like it’ll be an interesting take on the centuries old tale – wonder if we’ll see Van Helsing appear as well.


treasureislandBlack Sails, Starz (2014)

The upcoming Michael Bay-produced pirate adventure series will tell the story of Captain Flint (Toby Stephens) and his men takeing place 20 years prior to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Treasure Island.” Over eight episodes we’ll learn about the exploits of Flint’s rival Captain Charles Vane, how iconic seafarer John Silver became so well-known and lastly the sad story of a tortured young prostitute who sees the dark side of the bustling pirate port of New Providence.


marcopoloMarco Polo, Starz

Marco Polo is writer and creator John Fusco’s (Hidalgo, Young Guns) fantastical new martial arts epic about the thirteenth century explorer, chronicling the famous adventurer’s early years in the court of Kublai Khan. Conscripted into servitude as the ruler’s spy, ambassador, and explorer, young Polo is trained in the scholar-warrior tradition of thirteenth century China.

In a court filled with political betrayal and forbidden relationships, Marco must use his martial arts training to survive, but it is his ability to enchant Khan with imaginative tales of his kingdom that is often his best tool to stay alive. We haven’t seen many martial arts adventure series, so this is a nice change from the usual historical fantasy fare.


defiancesyfyDefiance, Syfy (April 2013)

Defiance isn’t your ordinary sci-fi drama; it’s also a multi-platform MMO game that will launch at the same time as the series. Executive producers Rockne O’Bannon (Farscape), Kevin Murphy (Caprica) and Michael Taylor (Battlestar Galactica) describe the series as being set in the near future on a planet Earth that’s been transformed by a universal war.

Inhabited by both human and alien survivors, both groups are struggling to create a cohesive society out of chaos. The show stars Buffy and Dexter alum Julie Benz as Amanda Rosewater, Grant Bowler (Nolan), Stephanie Leonidas (Irisa), Tony Curran (Datak Tarr), Jaime Murray (Stahma Tarr), Graham Greene (Rafe McCawley), Mia Kirshner (Kenya) and Fionnula Flanagan (Nicky).


inthefleshIn The Flesh, BBC (2013)

New writer Dominic Mitchell’s script is the story of teenager Kieren Walker and his reintegration back into both the local community and the heart of his family. After his death four years ago, his friends and family thought they’d never see him again but one freaky night, thousands of the dead were re-animated and after months of re-habilitation and medication, the zombies are gradually being returned to their homes.

With central themes of redemption, acceptance, and the very essence of what it means to be alive or dead, the series is a tender look at what happens when families get a second chance at mending their past and working together towards an unpredictable future.

Source: BBC America, Starz, Syfy, Channel 4, BBC, NBC
Reporter: Sharlene Mousfar

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