… Cheesy? Sure. But there's enough sword-clanging Action — not to mention homoerotic tension — to keep viewers happily entertained for a spell. …The New York Times says:
… Although “Merlin” is refreshingly different from the sitcoms and reality competitions that clutter prime time, the show may seem a little too PG for its slot, and better suited to Saturday morning children’s programming. What saves the series and makes it enjoyable for older viewers is the chemistry of the two appealing lead actors, Mr. Morgan and Mr. James, who make the sparring, double-edged friendship of Merlin and Arthur amusing even when the script doesn’t live up to their high spirits. …The Washington Post says:
… Colin Morgan (Merlin) and Bradley James (Arthur) are adorable on screen, and Angel Coulby (Gwen) brings a sassy verve to a production that is funny and well-acted. The British import also boasts high-quality special effects and promises a bevy of magical creatures during its 13-episode run. …The Newark Star Ledger says:
… isn't terrible, and certainly better than some other WB/CW attempts to duplicate the "Smallville" formula. (Anybody remember the short-lived "Tarzan"? Or the "Lone Ranger" pilot-turned-TV-movie with Chad Michael Murray?) …The Boston Globe says:
… Sadly, the writers of “Merlin’’ fail to develop any very original Arthurian origins. The middling show plays too much like “The O.C.’’ with swords, crowns, and a cheesy CGI dragon…The Hollywood Reporter says:
… a fresh, and delightfully color-blind, approach to the tale …Variety says:
… a rather tepid drink … the new Camelot's shining moments are all too brief, indeed.8 p.m. Sunday. NBC.
June 21, 2009, 3:18 a.m. CST
seriously. I thought it was better than and more consistant than Doctor Who.
June 21, 2009, 3:23 a.m. CST
I was literally about to type that WORD for WORD. Spooky. Yeah I saw the whole season. The finale was disapointing, overall pretty good.
June 21, 2009, 3:39 a.m. CST
wasn't it just like 10 years ago that NBC did the Sam Neill MERLIN miniseries with Rutgar Hauer as Uther Pendragon (I don't know in this series if he's just "Pendragon" but that's not a name it's a title...Aruther is actually Aruther Pendragon)...wait now that I think about it Hauer wasn't Pendragon<P>hell Herc they've been promoting this WITH the promise of new Harry Potter footage and saying things like "before Harry Potter there was...MERLIN", they know they're cashing in on Potter and admiting it, unlike Caurso and LOST
June 21, 2009, 4:14 a.m. CST
If you're a hard core fantasy buff you tend to hate it, but for the family crowd who want to spend an evening bonding with the kids it seems to be popular.<p>Anthony Head seems to be wasted in this playing the curmudgeon King.<p> If I had to choose between Merlin and Legend of the Seeker I'd go with Legend even if it's a shadow of the books.
June 21, 2009, 4:17 a.m. CST
The reason it's consistent is that every episode is the same; it's utterly formulaic. Appealing actors (though not actresses) and good production values - but the writing's bland. It wouldn't take much to make this really good: a wittier script (the BBC don't seem to like this for a family show) and some imaginative magic. You'd have thought that a fantasy drama would have some cool stuff, but the magic doesn't get more interesting than dried up wells and (in loads of episodes) poisons.
June 21, 2009, 4:42 a.m. CST
series long before this, and a year before Chamber Pot-er.
June 21, 2009, 6:29 a.m. CST
by Monkey Butler
Fuck off Herc.
June 21, 2009, 6:30 a.m. CST
The first few episodes left a lot to be desired IMO. They didn't know what tone to aim for and it came off TOO kiddified (even though it is made for a family audience) but eventually they got it right and there's a period of 4-5 episodes that are fantastic. I can't wait for the second season.
June 21, 2009, 6:46 a.m. CST
I've seen it but never dld it.
June 21, 2009, 6:47 a.m. CST
No dwarf, really fucking midgets because dwarfs mine carry axes and wear armor all the time,on a big fat woman though. But funny dwarf porn titles.
June 21, 2009, 8:19 a.m. CST
And a sight better than the first series of the BBC's recent reworking of ROBIN HOOD (tho the later series of that are a big improvement).
June 21, 2009, 8:28 a.m. CST
This show has a lot of potential but it looks soooo goddamn cheap. Cheaper than some Canadian melodramas.
June 21, 2009, 8:36 a.m. CST
Unless you like stilted and bland characterization, acting, plots, and effects.<br><br>Between this and Krod Manfuckingdoon I despair for the state of televisual fantasy. Ugh.
June 21, 2009, 8:57 a.m. CST
C'mon. It had a good cast, was Reno911 funny at times and didn't take itself seriously. I've seen worse last longer on US tv. <p> Sometimes they make dumb tv just for fun. That makes it watchable.
June 21, 2009, 9:45 a.m. CST
I'm in England, so I'm only now experiencing Krod in its first playthrough over here, and I'm really not a enjoying it at all, sorry. <br>It pisses me off because I so want to enjoy it. I'm a big Fantasy geek, but it's like the makers decided to make a bland character-driven comedy that only happened to be in a Fantasy setting. <br><br>None of the jokes I saw stemmed from anything remotely to do with the genre itself. In the three episodes I managed to sit through it was just really lame character work throughout. <br><br>As I recall, there's the flamboyant bad guy, the slutty woman, the token black guy, the extremely gay guy, the stupid tough guy, and the ego-driven leader guy. And that's as far as the comedy is willing to go.<br><br>It's like they were too afraid to attempt any real parody so they just phoned it in. <br>That or they just don't give a shit. Either way, I'm not loving it.<br><br>Of course if you like it that's cool. :3
June 21, 2009, 10:15 a.m. CST
I quite like her: <P> http://tinyurl.com/mzatte
June 21, 2009, 10:37 a.m. CST
It's shown on Hallmark Channel from my satellite service. My mother enjoys this. No sexual undertones whatsoever, unlike Xena and Hercules. The story is easy to follow. Its issues of believing in yourself and inspiring dialog make it hard for old people turn away from this.
June 21, 2009, 11:08 a.m. CST
Shot and lit like a home video.
June 21, 2009, 1:15 p.m. CST
None of them are accurate. The real Merlin was batshit crazy and walking on all fours.
June 21, 2009, 2:09 p.m. CST
It's blatant attempt to cash in on the Potter craze (a few years too late in my opinion), reminds me of the other recent series Crusoe which seemed to borrow a lot from Pirates of the Carribean in an attempt to take advantage of the hype for those films. I have a feeling this series will be cancelled just as quickly... if their intention is to turn this into a regular tv series.
June 21, 2009, 2:13 p.m. CST
As I recall, he was an old wizard in every film or tv adaptation I've seen. Probably in the original literature too (L'Morte de Artur?). Isn't he an immortal? Why would he be a kid and age in the same timeframe as Arthur? Does that mean Merlin is a teenager too when Arthur pulls the sword from the stone? That's just stupid. I guess I'm too bias towards the film Excalibur, which is still the best adaptation of the legend.
June 21, 2009, 2:30 p.m. CST
The BBC aired a 13-episode first season. The BBC has ordered a second season which NBC may or may not pick up.
June 21, 2009, 2:58 p.m. CST
Even tho they have 13 eps finished and ready to air. I just can't see NBC being that faithful to a scifi/fantasy show. They are as bad as Fox. We'll be lucky to see more than 4 eps air.
June 21, 2009, 3:13 p.m. CST
by Kal Reeve
than a cheesy take on the Arthurian legends.
June 21, 2009, 3:49 p.m. CST
I remember something about it last year. wtf?
June 21, 2009, 4:11 p.m. CST
NBC sealed it's own fate the day they hired that ugly motherfucker, Jeff Zucker.
June 21, 2009, 6:51 p.m. CST
I really would give this a miss if I were you yanks. The main problems with this series are: All promise, no delivery (nothing ever changes). Same old same old (every episode takes place in the same 4 sets). THERE IS VERY LITTLE MAGIC.
June 21, 2009, 6:53 p.m. CST
June 21, 2009, 7:09 p.m. CST
what the fuck is up with that?
June 21, 2009, 7:20 p.m. CST
They're adaptations used to be top notch (see Ivanhoe) but after Xena Hood...oops I mean Robin Hood I am dubious of any of their efforts.
June 21, 2009, 7:26 p.m. CST
Is anyone else hearing a very direct riff of the Ewok's theme from Return of the Jedi? Bizarre in how absolutely similar it is.
June 21, 2009, 7:26 p.m. CST
Had some Ted Raimi in it the other day, he's actually showing some depth and subtlety in his performaces these days, he's no Gary Oldman but shit he's no fake Shemp either. The girl companion on the show kinda kicks ass and is very watchable, though she's always hustling them "We have to go..." "We better move..." The wizard guy is actually kinda cool, I wish they'd have them riding horses with some big supply packs hanging off, i always hate to see these shows with people just running around the countryside with nothing but a sword, like Last of the Mohicans or something, where's your food, a tent, even a bedroll maybe?
June 21, 2009, 7:29 p.m. CST
Where that smoking-hot blond in the black leather captured him and kept zapping him with her electric dildo. Not real subtle but damn was she awesome.
June 21, 2009, 8:02 p.m. CST
Then realizing that we had a giant imported British Turd with production values along the lines of The Beastmaster, I bailed. Rating - C for craptastic.
June 21, 2009, 8:08 p.m. CST
The music playing in the scene after Merlin saves Arthur's life has strains of Buckbeak's flying theme from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Shamless I tell you!
June 21, 2009, 8:49 p.m. CST
Bless her heart.
June 21, 2009, 8:49 p.m. CST
...this isn't too terrible. It's not exactly the best acting or the tightest plot, but it's certainly entertaining.
June 21, 2009, 9:10 p.m. CST
by Tin Snoman
The Once and Future King into a film? Preferably someone of quality, please.
June 21, 2009, 9:14 p.m. CST
by Tin Snoman
Nevermind, it would just get screwed up.
June 21, 2009, 9:42 p.m. CST
by Thunderbolt Ross
June 21, 2009, 9:55 p.m. CST
It's BORING! It's one big long speech. GAH!
June 21, 2009, 9:56 p.m. CST
I liked Xena very much. Nothing comes even close to matching that show in terms of sword and sandle humor fun and general mayhem. I miss the old Hercules and Xena action series. I can't wait until Fire and Ice is made into a series. If the romance in Merlin is between two men, I'll pass on this series.
June 21, 2009, 10:17 p.m. CST
It was just awful.
June 21, 2009, 10:50 p.m. CST
They just kept mentioning Harry Potter, Narnia and Lord of the Rings and their box office takings, "What do they have in common? They were all based on books!" Or fantasy or some such shit. According to the Channel 10 Network, movie based on books = money so you should watch this show. Which incidentally isn't very interesting.
June 21, 2009, 11:01 p.m. CST
June 21, 2009, 11:02 p.m. CST
June 22, 2009, 12:30 a.m. CST
Every episode is just like the first.
June 22, 2009, 2:21 a.m. CST
June 22, 2009, 3:47 a.m. CST
A little Vlad Taltos anyone? Anyone.....?
June 22, 2009, 3:51 a.m. CST
And a Indiana Jones tie-in where he morph's into a bad-ass terminator transformer that fights for national security! Go Indiana Joe!
June 22, 2009, 3:52 a.m. CST
Produced brilliantly by Pixar with Disney's name slapped all over it.
June 22, 2009, 3:54 a.m. CST
With shitty Danny Elfman music to really ruin it! Oingo Boingo boy equals FAILURE!
June 22, 2009, 3:55 a.m. CST
..and why the fuck is her ugly fucking bland-ass puss in a major motion picture? Where's Megan Fox?
June 22, 2009, 3:59 a.m. CST
June 22, 2009, 4:01 a.m. CST
Well, I am king. Oh! King eh? ..very nice...
June 22, 2009, 5:30 a.m. CST
Well, there is. I actually wondered whether the two actors were a couple in reality. So what? It works. Get over it.
June 22, 2009, 5:50 a.m. CST
June 22, 2009, 8:31 a.m. CST
but didn't Arthur build Camelot?<p>Didn't Merlin work for Uther Pendragon, and used his magic to help him sire Arthur?<p>Isn't Guinevere supposed to be attractive?<p>I'm guessing, since Arthur is shown as Prince Arthur, that this series does not go near the Sword in the Stone legend.
June 22, 2009, 8:40 a.m. CST
Join the "Drag Me To Hell" talkback! <br><br> http://tinyurl.com/ll7s4p <br><br> http://www.aintitcool.com/talkback_display/40453 (remove the AICN spaces)
June 22, 2009, 8:56 a.m. CST
You mentioned "homoerotic tension." Way to ensure not one person reading this Talkback will watch the show. Anyway - I'll pointlessly say "Give it a chance! It gets better!" but with the mention of homoerotic tension all the "open-minded" talkbackers who claim not to be hateful gaybashers will now avoid it like the plague. Nice one! Oh, and Talkbackers? You're ****ing cowards, all of you.
June 22, 2009, 9:56 a.m. CST
by Mr. Zeddemore
Heh - funniest part of Smallville S1 - S4 was how incredibly homoerotic it was. Lex and Clark seemed on a quest to constantly make googly eyes at each other. Didn't help that they had better chemistry than Clark and Lana.
June 22, 2009, 10:55 a.m. CST
Exacilbur was the last word on Camelot movies, for me. I could live with a chimney sweep discovering Excalibur in the late 1800s and saving England, maybe. But a prequel? Where Merlin is young? Bah.<br><br>Love the line in Excalibur where Merlin alludes to Kentucky Fried Chicken.
June 22, 2009, 10:56 a.m. CST
can eat the stupid cheerleader from Heroes so both these lame ass shows go away? NBC Sucks! Still boycotting you for canceling Life, AHOLES
June 22, 2009, 10:56 a.m. CST
You really think anyone isn't going to watch this based on "homoerotic" tension? Seriously?<br><br>I'm not going to watch it because it sounds like ass.
June 22, 2009, 10:59 a.m. CST
I don't mind Heroes, but NBC is the network that cancelled Freaks and Geeks. I really don't care that Undeclared got cancelled--it was nothing compared to Freaks and Geeks. A near perfect show that I didn't discover until long after it was cancelled, in no small part because it was under promoted by NBC, which used to be a cookie company.
June 22, 2009, 11:24 a.m. CST
I thought "what a dumb witch". She has all this power to transport herself, shapeshift, and lull the masses to sleep, yet it never occurred to her to use her magic to save her son from being executed? D'oh!
June 22, 2009, 12:48 p.m. CST
Herc didn't mention it. EW did. HoYay!
June 22, 2009, 12:56 p.m. CST
The acting was solid and the production values high (cool dragon and nice castle sets). It was charming and cheesy, but I'll check back next week for more. It reminds me of an Arthurian Smallville, but with stronger acting. It'll hold me over until Game of Thrones.
June 22, 2009, 2:25 p.m. CST
I'm a coward because out of all the review blurbs only one mentioned homoeroticism seemingly out of the blue? Who's under the impression talkbackers are "open minded" anyway? What site have you been reading? Am I obligated to cuddle gays at every turn in the media, mindlessly support shows about them, let my kids do coloring books about them in kindergarten and give them special legal rights that I don't have? Seems to me that gays in this country are trying to force strights to submit to unqualified acceptance of their lifestyle simply because they know their parents are secretly, and sometimes not-so-secretly, disappointed in their "lifestyle" choice. When will gays ever fucking learn to keep who, or what, they sleep with in the bedroom and leave other people out of it? I declare that as long you don't abuse children or dumb animals I don't give a flying fuck who you hump, just do me the favor of shutting the fuck up about it, accept what you are YOURSELF and accept the fact that it's not up to straights to make you feel better about it by kissing your ass and providing you your own version of affirmative action.
June 22, 2009, 3:42 p.m. CST
June 22, 2009, 3:46 p.m. CST
Yeah along with Legend of the Seeker. We're gonna see a lot more fantasy shows, especially if Game of Thrones does well.
June 22, 2009, 3:48 p.m. CST
Apparently if two guys become friends on a show, it means they're gay now. Because everyone's gay.
June 22, 2009, 3:57 p.m. CST
...can't anybody do a good Merlin/Arthur story? Excalibur was, what, almost thirty years ago?! Is that right? Being honest, though, my biggest problem with the first eps aired in the states was the "look" of the BBC production. I hate that crap. Hated Neverwhere because of it. Never been into Doctor Who for the same reason. It just looks cheap.
June 22, 2009, 3:57 p.m. CST
when the older man looking after Merlin comes into his room, sits on his bed, says to Merlin "take your shirt off" and proceeds to give him a massage.
June 22, 2009, 4:03 p.m. CST
While it's true, it's also a fact that JK borrowed heavily from the rich history of myth and legend to create her own stories. There is very little "new" in HP, it's just that she put it all together in such an interesting way, with so much believable back story, that you were sucked in and couldn't get away. So really, JK cashed in on Arthurian legend, and fifty years of LOTR, and Conan, Dragonlance, Elric, etc. etc. etc. The HP books are some of my favorite ever (and I've read a lot), but really all they did was rekindle (or even awaken) the fantasy bug for new generations.
June 22, 2009, 4:40 p.m. CST
June 22, 2009, 5:37 p.m. CST
Merlin and Arthur as childhood chums? Nope. Actually, an adult Merlin used his magic to disguise Uther Pendragon as the Duke of Cornwall (Uther's enemy) so that he could sleep with the Duke's wife, Lady Igraine, thus siring Arthur. Merlin and Arthur didn't grow up together. Hell, Merlin is partially responsible for Arthur being born! Why don't we go ahead and have Gandalf and Bilbo be schoolyard pals while we're rewriting and prequelizing everything?
June 22, 2009, 5:47 p.m. CST
of King Arthur. It's a legend, like Robin Hood. It's not a single work of literature like Lord of the Rings. Yes, there have been popular versions of the story like Once and Future King but the story has changed each time. There is no "right" version, there's simply the version you're more familiar with. As an "Arthur nerd" you should know this.
June 22, 2009, 6:21 p.m. CST
What are some of the alternate stories of Arthur's birth?
June 22, 2009, 7:04 p.m. CST
June 22, 2009, 7:34 p.m. CST
by Lezbo Milk
This show is made for kids with ADD. They had to make Merlin and Arthur the same age because the kids wouldn't relate to Merlin unless he was a dumb kid too. That being said, maybe it could be a guilty popcorn pleasure like the Hercules and Zena crap from a decade ago? The Seeker actually turned out to be a bit better than I was hoping...I was thinking shitbomb, but it was more like an mild inoffensive fart with the occasional whiff of vanilla.
June 23, 2009, 1:20 a.m. CST
and use real ones? I realize that BBC CG is low budget because their budget is your (those of you in the UK) licensing fees, but how much more could real snakes, or better props cost? Hell, next time, have NBC foot part of the effects bill, if they are going to rebroadcast it.
June 23, 2009, 4:17 a.m. CST
It's been running for a couple of weeks here in Australia - it all looks very pretty, but it's all so bloody pedestrian. There's enough storyline for a snappy half hour, but it runs double that, and it feels like it too. It needs to decide whether it's Smallville or LOTR, because at the moment it's trying to be both but achieving neither.
June 23, 2009, 10:19 a.m. CST
Even is you can look past the fact that Merlin and Arthur are only named such because of name recognition because the show doesn't stray from Arthur legend but run as far from it as it can, you are still left with a cheap looking show with even cheaper looking fx. <p> This show inst a reinvention or reimagining of Arthur legend, it has swords, magic and a guy named Merlin and a guy named Arthur. Other than that it has no connection to Arthur legend at all and is super lame. The look of the show and it's fx ar SciFi channle at best. The legend come from medieval England and the costume kind of reflect that but it doesn't mesh with the SciFi channel castle interiors or the Victorian fantasy castle exteriors.<p> If you're a fan of Arthur legen this show is an epic fail.<p> If you're a fan of swords and sorcery or fantasy this show is an epic fail.<p> If you're a fan of the genre you're better off watching reruns of Legend of the Seeker all summer. That show out classes Merlin on every level from locations, sets, action, story, acting and fx.<p> If Merlin last through the summer I'll be shocked, almost as shocked as I am by Herc and the legitiment reviewers giving this show a pass.
June 23, 2009, 7:40 p.m. CST
June 23, 2009, 7:41 p.m. CST
June 23, 2009, 7:42 p.m. CST
June 23, 2009, 7:45 p.m. CST
they've killed off Marion and now Alan-A-Dale, where there even that many non-white's in England back then and had Europeans even heard of the Orient?? let alone learn kung-fu??