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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 5:40 pm
by Dong Zhou
Sometime this month (think the 20th or there abouts), the bbc are showing a 13 part series called, and about, Merlin. NBC and BBC America will be showing it next year which is either a blessing or an annoyance for you all but will use the spoiler tag on anything other then saying how good/bad it is. The idea was by the makers of Hex but given it is meant to be taking a bbc/Robin Who spot, they won't be able to go that dark or adult with the story here. Special effects are by the team behind Doctor Who (adverts suggest the series won't be let down on that department), Colin Morgan is in the title role with Nimueh, the villainous, played by Bionic Woman star Ryan (who?). Santiago Cabrera, also known as Issac Mendes, will be playing Lancelot. The general gist of the story seems to be young Merlin goes to Camelot before he has learnt of his ability with magic and meets the other figures of legend like Arther and Morgan. Slight problem is that King Uther has banned magic and made it punishable by death...

Who remembers Merlin from the Arthurian legends? Part man, part something else, he was the brilliant adviser and wizard to King Arther, a man he had helped be born, can't recall his advice ever being wrong. The all wise man gradually fades from the scene, having been ignored for the advice not to marry Guinevere before eventually being trapped by the Lady of the Lake. The irony of warning Arther against his woman and then being entrapped thanks to falling in love with a maid (Nimueh) of the Lady of the Lake. Not the first time his lust ruled his head, if I recall correctly, he also had relations with Morgon Le Fay, a character I also liked.

I have tended to prefer the flawed geniuses (hello mr hourglass from Dragonlance) in stories over the shining knights like Lancelot and Arther. So you can imagine my excitement when bbc hinted that Merlin series was being made. When I heard it was about Merlin when he was young, I thought that was a good path to go down so thought it would be something different. I am slightly little disappointed that Merlin is being a youngster among the court but I did think making Nimueh a bad character was a clever idea if done right. Hope they allow her to entice Merlin (and in a non romantic way, Morgana) and don't kill her off in the first series. Also makes me wonder what they have planned for Lady at the Lake...

I'm torn between hope that we have a great series that will run for a long time and fear that it will be a bad one like Robert Hood but without the saving grace of Keith Allen.
you know things are bad when my father, my sister and myself cheered the death of Maid Marian.
It has magic, it has characters that they can develop over time, they have the old tales that they can put a different spin on, a fantasy world and certainly the bbc can succeed. Yet I have concerns, the position they have put Arther's love interest
servant of Morgan? I can oh guess the storyline for that romance
seems off and how will they handle the characters? Merlin may not be near omnipotent given the age they put him at sure but don't make him a mistake prone nerd please. He did have a taste for the ladies so let him have that (actually be interesting to see how they plan to handle romances as a a whole and the somewhat adulteress natures of some of the characters), let him and Morgan be clever and while making of course they should make errors, those two should show signs of the brilliant if not always moral characters they would become. First series I'll be lenient too, having to spend time forming the characters but hopefully will do enough for a second series.

Anyone else intrested? Any thoughts, hopes or fears for the series?

Re: Merlin

Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:32 pm
by Kong Wen
As far as I recall, Merlin is quite the minor character in Malory (he's entrapped and disappears from the main narrative early on). He has always been an intriguing figure, though, perhaps because it's possible to interpret him in so many different ways.

I remember the made-for-TV Merlin from 1998 (click: IMDB page) with Sam Neill, Helena Bonham Carter, and Martin Short. It was pretty good at the time for a TV movie, though I haven't seen it since 1998 so I don't know how it stands up now.

Re: Merlin

Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:22 am
by Dong Zhou
BBC's series starting this Saturday, I hope it is a good one

Re: Merlin

Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:59 am
by Ranbir
Robin Hood was watered down, too much on 21st Century political correctness and crap. I doubt Merlin will be all that different. Love to be proved wrong of course.

I've been enjoying Tess of the D'Urbervilles far more and so Merlin needs a lot going for it to get my attention.

Re: Merlin

Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 2:53 pm
by Dong Zhou
I don't see how the Times are calling Robin Hood a success, I don't recall ever hearing a good thing about it. If the goal is to make it child friendly but good enough that adults enjoy it, they failed miserably. Can't speak for kids but yes, it was watered down (as I said, fear if they do Merlin romance, it will be with one woman) while bad script and bad acting destroyed it. I had no liking for the good characters in that show, I didn't care if Marian and Robin got married or if he dumped her and ran away with little john. I did have sympathy for Munch but might have been due to being slightly picked in. Only saving grace was the acting by the villains, even the minor ones tended to be more interesting then the heroes, when that happens then something is wrong. Keith Allan gave some humor to the series while Richard Armitage was able to inspire some sympathy as Guy of Gisburn but seen better from him.

Well Merlin already has been slightly more... well adult isn't quite the word but it will do, then Robin Hood has managed in two series but will never be hex, it will have to rely on acting and script to keep the parents entertained. Due to setting up of characters and story, felt the episode plot ended up a bit rushed, with a bit of work they could have stretched onto to next episode or been better suited for an hour long episode. All the main characters got a decent amount of screen time (liked Gaius) and it was a solid start, not brilliant or eyecatching but solid.

Re: Merlin

Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 4:04 pm
by Ranbir
The sooner we get Dr Who back, the better.

Re: Merlin

Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:37 pm
by Lonely_dragon
I wonder what really happen to Merlin after Arthurian legends... Merlin manages to defeat Morgana right? then dissapear into obscurity?

It is such a shame that Merlin can't save Arthur from his death... I wonder where I can read the complete edition of King Arthurs and his knights of the round table..

Re: Merlin

Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:56 pm
by Ranbir
Well there are a number of various narratives all based on a rather loose legend.

Historia Regum Britanniae is the first base narrative, imo. Works by Troyes added the Grail.

In terms of filum, I'm a personal fan of Excalibur and the short film series with Sam Neill in it.

Re: Merlin

Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:10 am
by Kong Wen
Lonely_dragon wrote:It is such a shame that Merlin can't save Arthur from his death... I wonder where I can read the complete edition of King Arthurs and his knights of the round table..

As Ranbir said, the legends of Arthur are compiled from and tweaked by a whole number of various sources. If you're interested in reading a relatively straight narrative in English, then the best source available would probably be Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. I've seen cheap illustrated copies at Chapters.

Re: Merlin

Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:11 pm
by Dong Zhou
Apparently got six million viewers and so are going for a new series, judging by how quickly the announcement was made, this was decided a long time ago. They gave Robin Hood time to (unsuccessfully) sort itself out and with a rather more enjoyable first series and the long held bbc wish to do something on Merlin, anything less then a disaster would have seen a second series.

As you know I was excited even with it pitched to kids and while I didn't think it was fantastic, it was good and had some moments were it rose up to the very good. Had been worried they were going for a Gwen-Merlin romance for most of it, glad that is not the case. Characters have been quite well done, Uther treads fine line between tyrant and protective king, Gauis makes a good foil for Merlin and Uther, Arthur is at times kind and sympathetic, other times arrogant and a creature of his noble birth, Nimueh made a very intresting villain, I liked Merlin and Gwen too though any romances in the series was not always well handled and humour didn't quite come off. The other villains tended to be quite intresting, I liked Soffia and Aulfric particularly though they did tend to go for monsters which, inevitably are not going to be quite as intresting.

The Arthur can not be killed has meant one or two odd moments that jars and felt they were not too sure what to do with Morgana. First with feelings for Arthur (which they dampened down), she is voice of compassion and justice (which given how she turns out in some stories is amusing), granted and a little rebellious but felt her a bit part at times. Her seer ability isn't fully used yet and seems to sit uncomfortably at times as something they cram in but I suspect short term pain for long term gain. I liked her, she had a somewhat scary stare at times but for the second series, they may wish to decide what exactly they want of her.

While the last episode was very good, I hated the ending a lot. Merlin's noooooo was not needed, the final boss battle lasted about three seconds, a bit of a squib considering the set up. Was killing Nimueh the best of idea's? She was a good choice for villain, magical and had been able to seduce Merlin, which the series touched once, not too sure who they have planned for series 2 but think she will be hard to replace. Or else going for a complex reason why she is alive which is more likely then her vanishing. The sudden change of relations between Merlin, who should probably have been more grateful overall, and the Dragon was a surprise and one they perhaps could have built up over more time, I suspect they will have to work together again but the sudden change was frustrating.