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I just watched Merlin, thanks to a prod from laerad. Not exactly subtle, but pretty enjoyable. And a fun game of spot-the-Who-actors, too.

So, for Who referencing, Merlin is played by emo kid Jethro from Midnight. Eve Myles does evil stepmother pretty well with Lady Helen, and Gwen-from-Torchwood turned up in Journey's End for about 30 seconds, so she counts. It was directed by James Hawes, who directed both Richard Wilson (Empty Child/ Doctor Dances) and Tony Head (School Reunion) in their Who episodes. And Morgana's maid Gwen (and that was confusing) is played by Angel Coulby, who was in Girl In The Fireplace, apparently. It was made by BBC Wales and the effects were by the Mill, so plenty of crossover there, too. I'll leave imdb alone, now.

It's supposed to be aimed at a family audience, like Who, and I noticed it seemed much more childish and unsubtle in parts than Who is, so I may stop complaining about occasional dumb things like the Adipose. Or I may not. Everything's kind of panto, and a lot of the dialogue and Meaningful Looks are anvilicious as hell, although the endless screeds of exposition in this episode probably didn't help any.

Merlin has a Destiny, shockingly. He's the one boy in all the world, a chosen one. He alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vamp...um, fight the Currently Unspecified Evil. He got a big old book, too, but it didn't say VAMPYR on it. He has a friendly dragon to help out, or at least be cute and vaguely cryptic. Must be the mentor figure. And he's now been made Prince Arthur's manservant, which is handy because he has to stop people killing Arthur so that he can unite Albion, but less handy because if EvilGiles King Uther catches him doing magic, he'll have him killed. There are women in this too, but they flirt coquettishly, gaze lovingly or Are Evil. Uther's ward Morgana looks like she might be interesting if they go more with the rebelling and less with the love triangle.

I don't have much to say now I've run out of meta references. The story was adequate, the acting was generally OK, the conclusion was silly and cliched - how do you kill an opera singer? Drop a chandelier on her! - but kind of fun, which describes most of the set pieces, too. Recommended, but with a clear "turn your brain off" disclaimer.

I really must read Once And Future King.



( 11 comments — Comment )
Sep. 21st, 2008 07:47 am (UTC)
"much more childish and unsubtle in parts than Who is" -- really? That would take some doing!

Read The Once And Future King, definitely.
Sep. 21st, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
Childish in a different way from Who, anyway :D

I started OAFK last night, it's great! Totally different to what I thought, somehow.
Sep. 21st, 2008 10:13 am (UTC)
Eve Myles counts anyway, 'cause of Gwyneth, innit?
Sep. 21st, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, duh. I managed to forget that!
Sep. 21st, 2008 11:25 am (UTC)
Once I'd got over the fact that this dark ages fantasy was playing out in a renaissance chateau I decided it was relatively OK- and that if I was 8 and hadn't come across Arthur before I would have loved it.
Sep. 21st, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC)
I saw somebody on a forum complaining about the anachronistic tomatoes in the vegetable-throwing scene, too. I remain happily ignorant enough of history that I tend not to notice these things...
Sep. 22nd, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC)
It was full of anachronisms - the outfits and swords/armour were all from a much later date than the Arthurian legends were set and there were a smattering of non-white faces in the cast. But then the Arthurian legends are almost-certainly just myth anyway so I was happy to let all that pass.
Sep. 21st, 2008 01:51 pm (UTC)
Just have to ask, was it the prod that was unsubtle but enjoyable or the show :p
Sorry, couldn't resist :D
Sep. 21st, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
Eek, yes, fair point. Note to self: be careful with sentence fragments.
Sep. 22nd, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
"and I noticed it seemed much more childish and unsubtle in parts than Who is, so I may stop complaining about occasional dumb things like the Adipose."

I noticed that too, definitely felt much more kid-oriented compared to "Who" and "Robin Hood". Not sure that's a good idea but I suppose it shouldn't be judged on the first episode (the Adipose and all that). Quite enjoyed it nonetheless, there's plenty of scope for it to get much more interesting and making Arthur an unlikeable bully was a nice idea.
Sep. 22nd, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
It was also shot, in part, in south Wales.
( 11 comments — Comment )


bad wolf
Notes from extinction

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