TELEVISION REVIEW: Merlin is a Fun, Fluffy, Summer Series.


So far this Summer has been really sparse when it comes to new programming. There’s a lot of good stuff coming in the next few weeks, but it seems like instead of hitting us with new Summer programs all at once everything is being spread out. A few weeks ago we had Burn Notice, Royal Pains and I’m A Celebrity Get me Out of Here premiere, Sunday night we have the long awaited debut of NBC’s surprisingly "lavish" production of Merlin (Colin Morgan). The production features an interesting cast that includes Buffy’s Anthony Head as the magic fearing King Uther Pendragon.

I’ve seen just about every version of the King Arthur story in the last 20 years, there have been two major movies, two major television mini-series and some weird thing with Keira Knightly and I’ve come to the conclusion that all of these productions weren’t terrible, it’s the story itself. I just don’t like most of the characters, the setting, or the theme. There are no characters to really root for, Merlin’s motives are always sort of Suspect, Arthur goes crazy, the beginning with Uther is pretty gross and the Incest stuff disgusting. In the Television show a dragon tells Merlin, "There is no Right or Wrong, only what is." That in a nutshell sums up everything that’s wrong about the King Arthur Legend. There’s no moral compass or point for anything. And it’s also just over done.


Even after saying all of that, since it’s been a few years the timing is probably right for another go at the old legend. This time out the Producers have decided to forgo all the Camelot and Incest stuff to focus on a younger more likable Merlin who somehow befriends Prince Arthur (Bradley James). Magic is outlawed the show opens with Uther killing the son of the witch Morgana (Katie McGrath) who vows vengeance against Uther’s son Arthur. And of course there’s the King’s Ward Gwen (Angel Coulby) who Merlin falls for.

Relatively unknown Colin Morgan is pretty good in this role but he has a weird look. The chemistry between him and Bradley Jame’s Arthur is really good. But then I’m always a sucker for a good Bromance which the premiere episode does a great job of setting up in the pilot. I’m sorry but I can’t buy Anthony Head as anyone other than Giles, he’s barely in the pilot episode – which is probably a good thing.

The elements are here to make this 13 episode summer series a good Sunday night time waster. As long as they can keep it light and fluffy and not delve too deeply into the weirder more esoteric aspects of the Arthur Legend. I’ll commit to the 3 Episode rule to see where this all goes. Merlin will Air 13 new Episodes, Sunday Nights on NBC.

Final Grade B

EM Review
Michelle Alexandria
Originally Posted 6.19.09


  1. There are a number of inaccuracies in this article:
    a) Morgana is not a witch.
    b) Morgana is the king's ward.
    c) Gwen is Morgana's maidservant.
    d) Merlin does not fall for either of them.

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