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Merlin (UK and US): Keep the Magic Secret


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Poll: Roll Call -- Visitors to this thread are mainly based where (as it pertains to viewing schedule)? (519 member(s) have cast votes)

UK Viewer or US Viewer?

  1. UK (252 votes [47.91%])

    Percentage of vote: 47.91%

  2. US (274 votes [52.09%])

    Percentage of vote: 52.09%

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#1

darkestboy

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Posted Sep 16, 2008 @ 11:23 AM

After months of hyping from the BBC and the lack of a thread (I couldn't find one here), this series finally starts on Saturday on BBC1 at 7.30pm. There's a great cast with Colin Morgan, Anthony Stewart Head, Richard Wilson and John Hurt and for Doctor Who fans, Julie Gardner is also a producer for the series. Plus Eve Myles is in the first episode.

So will be this be Doctor Who flavoured goodness or Robin Hood sided cheesiness? You decide.

Brief trailer

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=HxfdY5wFYR8
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#2

Glory

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Posted Sep 16, 2008 @ 12:52 PM

Is that Saturday the 20th?

ASH on my t.v. again? Count me in.
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#3

darkestboy

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Posted Sep 17, 2008 @ 8:33 AM

Yes it's this Saturday.

The trailers have been good and UK wise, ASH is barely off the telly but I don't mean that in a bad way.
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#4

BluWacky

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Posted Sep 18, 2008 @ 1:44 PM

I am looking forward to this a ridiculous amount. Not only did a friend of mine work on the show, but I love Arthurian legends and this doesn't look as...well, panto, as Robin Hood and Doctor Who frequently are.

The Beeb's tried doing Merlin as a tea time show before - they did a six part miniseries based on Mary Stewart's "The Crystal Cave" in the early 90s (which I also loved). Hopefully this show will be just as enjoyable, although undoubtedly for different reasons - TV is much slicker these days, after all.
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#5

Lazlo

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Posted Sep 18, 2008 @ 8:15 PM

Really looking forward to this. I went to school (and - briefly - college) with Katie McGrath (Morgana) so it will be difficult to mantain objectivity.
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#6

Radagast

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Posted Sep 18, 2008 @ 8:44 PM

American fans can take heart - NBC (yes, a broadcast network) has picked this up already. And for Canadians, CTV will simulcast.

A good number of those actors have guested on Doctor Who; the star, Colin Morgan, played Jethro (the sullen teen) in the episode "Midnight".
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#7

darkestboy

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Posted Sep 19, 2008 @ 11:25 AM

Isn't that brilliant? Eve Myles who appears in the first episode also rated the show and according to Issue 400 there's a credit to RTD at the end of the first episode. Not entirely why though.
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#8

Dana S

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Posted Sep 20, 2008 @ 2:31 PM

Colin Morgan, played Jethro (the sullen teen) in the episode "Midnight".

So that's where I know him from. He looks very different!

Saw the first episode, and oh the Hoyay between Arthur and Merlin!
"I don't know what it is about you, Merlin..."
"You'll be his manservant!"
"Prince Arthur wants you right away!"

Anthony Head was great as always, and seeing Eve Myles was a nice surprise. Was that her singing voice?

Overall, I thought it didn't amount to much more than a future weekly guilty pleasure.
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#9

Savage2003

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Posted Sep 20, 2008 @ 2:33 PM

Well not quite Doctor Who (although was there one scene without an actor from that show?) but not Robin Hood awful either. Well done Eve Myles, but I hope this isn't a show that intends to get by on it's guest stars.

Although on saying that, Anthony Head rocked.

Wait and see methinks
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#10

Dragonet

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Posted Sep 20, 2008 @ 7:29 PM

Saw the first episode, and oh the Hoyay between Arthur and Merlin!
"I don't know what it is about you, Merlin..."
"You'll be his manservant!"
"Prince Arthur wants you right away!"


God yes. Is there anything slashier than a manservant? And don't forget the lusty once-over Arther gave Merlin when he said that first line. The whole premise is slashy. Two people who originally hate each other, forced togther by destiny. It's so Mills and Boon.

Some good names. It's very entertaining; rather cliche, but that was to be expected. This Merlin/Guinevere thing is going to get annoying, isn't it? Maybe not. Maybe they'll win me over in time to get my heart crushed. But I doubt it, and not just because it would clash with my primary 'ship. (Anyone want to guess what that is?)
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#11

Gospel

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Posted Sep 20, 2008 @ 8:53 PM

God I thought it was going to be horrible but it was much better than expected. The song was the best part. Was Eve Myles really singing?

It's interesting how they flipped the pairings, Arthur/Morgana and Merlin/Gwen. Can't wait to see how that plays out.

Edited by Gospel, Sep 20, 2008 @ 9:02 PM.

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#12

Lazlo

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Posted Sep 20, 2008 @ 9:03 PM

Go Katie! Old Andronians for the win!

Ahem, partisanship aside I liked it. I wonder how they are going to deal with the whole Arthur and Morgana being half-brother and sister thing. Grand they have changed enough about the myths that they might just ignore that part, but I suspect we are heading for a shocking reveal.
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#13

D.C.

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Posted Sep 20, 2008 @ 10:04 PM

I was kind of disappointed. Nothing really grabbed me enough to keep my attention from wandering. I don't know if I'll watch it next week or not.
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#14

phoenixtears89

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 12:37 AM

Enjoyed it a lot, surprisingly. And oh my gosh - Jethro, indeed! He looked so familiar, and I just couldn't place it.
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#15

cutecouple

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 1:50 AM

I'm still trying to decide if this is good or not. Seems to transcend the typical treatment of making teen versions of established genres (looks at Smallville, Stargate:U) though.
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#16

Pete McPete

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 4:30 AM

I thought the First Episode was perfect Saturday evening Fayre. I really enjoyed it, all the actors seemed quite likeable.

Looking forward to next week but the sight of Will Mellor in the preview does worry me.
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#17

InigoMontoya

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 5:43 AM

I'm having no luck in trying to track down who the singer was. I seriously doubt it was Eve Myles. I read somewhere that it was Katherine Jenkins, but that may have been someone's guess.

I enjoyed it and agree with those who call it perfect Saturday night fare. I found Merlin personable. Hopefully the actor playing Arthur will loosen up as his character does. I'm curious about Guinevere and wondering if we are being misled to think that she is THE Guinevere.
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#18

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 9:08 AM

Looks okay.

I can't help but think of Anthony Head's Uther as the Sheriff of Nottingham's slightly nicer and less crazy great-great-(great-great-great-?)grandfather. Something about an older man in a castle, beheading people and stuff.

Actually, I found that Merlin had a lot of similarities with Robin Hood (Morgana looks vaguely like Marian, and Merlin's mentor [not the dragon!] reminds me of Marian's father), and I think that kind of distracted me. Hopefully I'll be able to shake that and, um, enjoy Merlin on its own merits.

On a sidenote: Colin Morgan is tall. Taller than the once and future king!
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#19

Lazlo

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 10:21 AM

Morgana looks vaguely like Marian


Possibly the hair. Katie McGrath has light brown hair in real life but the darker colour fits the character better, and it is difficult to imagine Marian with lighter hair either.

Edited by Lazlo, Sep 21, 2008 @ 10:21 AM.

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#20

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 10:24 AM

So Merlin, Arthur, Morgana and Guinevere are all roughly the same age? Riiight. And Arthur is an accepted prince who won't have to pull a sword from a stone to claim his rightful place as the once and future king? 'kay.

I know, I know, Arthurian legend is mutable at best, but this is just a step too far from anything I know of it to be able to take it seriously. I would have quite liked seeing Merlin come of age in a society with magic secret, knowing that all the actual Arthurian stuff was to come in his Dragon-endorsed destiny. I'm sure kids will love it, but it's just a bit too fast and loose with what I already know and enjoy about the story. I'm an old fart, sue me.
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#21

darkestboy

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 10:26 AM

I enjoyed it, its not quite Doctor Who excellent but it easily usurps Robin Hood as far as I'm concerned. Colin Morgan makes for a good Merlin. A guy who wants to do good, doesn't really know how to at times and is prone to being a little immature. Then again I liked him in another show he appeared in recently.

Not really keen on either Arthur or Uther. The actors that play them are great but the characters felt a little too one note for my liking. The HoYay between Merlin and Arthur was amusing enough though. Arthur even told Merlin to get on his knees at one point.

As for the ladies, Morgana cam across as better than I thought she would. I kinda had a feeling I would warm to Gwen more and I did. I think there's a clear setting up of her and Merlin, even though he seemed a little too interested in Morgana.

Gaius is a decent character as well. A good mentor for Merlin so I'm interested in his development as well as the dragon that's being kept by Uther as an example.

Eve Myles pulled in a good performance as Mary Collins/Lady Helen. Top marks if tha is her actual singing voice as well. The ending lacked a little oomph but overall it was a good start to the series, 8/10.
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#22

Dragonet

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 12:40 PM

The writers need to read the Evil Overlord List. Keeping your enemy alive as an example? Leaving your - in this case - book of spells out in the open? And wasn't it a little strange that she completely ignored the boy who was clearly unaffected by her magic? He was standing in plain sight and moving a lot. Silly.

Yeesh. MST3K Mantra. It's enterainment, and it is entertaining.
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#23

Sugaraddict

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 2:05 PM

While it wasn't Doctor Who, it was still good, and will keep me entertained for the 13 weeks it's on.
TartanTart I was a bit worried about them all being the same age too...it just doesn't seem right! But I'l go with it for now as I did quite like it.

Jethro! I couldn't for the life of me remember his name.

I did miss most of the singing, as I spent the whole time wondering if Eve was really singing! Well done to here if it was, it was really good.
I thought the episode had a very fairy-tale theme going on, as well as the Arthurian legend. At one point Mary Collins/Lady Helen bit into a red apple, and the cobwebs on the people in the hall gave the impression they'd been asleep for years. Naming the fairy tales kept distracting me.

I'm hoping next episode will have a bit more, after the setting up this week.
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#24

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 3:42 PM

I think I'll refer to it as Camelot High from now on, but the show was at least as enjoyable as Robin Hood, and there's potential in the cast (doesn't hurt that the main actor is engaging, and, OMG, the Hoyay cracked me up!), as well as the well-worn legends. I have to admit that I was inordinately intent upon trying to come up with an explanation as to how Merlin knew where to make his deliveries, as he couldn't possibly know anyone yet, much less where they lived. I guess we missed the parts where he asked for a lot of directions. I'll keep watching, at least until some goth kid named Mordred starts hanging about.
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#25

jkenney

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 8:05 PM

What TartanTart said - once you make Arthur into Uther's acknowledged son and make him the same age as Merlin, you've pretty much removed all trace of the original Arthurian legend except some common names. The relationship between Merlin and Arthur is obviously completely different, and so is the relationship between Merlin and Uther, among other things.

Why not have it set during the reign of King Constantine, with Merlin and Uther as youthful contemporaries? Vortigern could be a villainous advisor (as he was in the original stories) who seizes the throne at the end of the first season, driving Uther into exile.

Making Arthur grow up as a cocky prince just vitiates the entire Arthurian story - at that point, what's the point of even calling him Arthur and his buddy Merlin?
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#26

cutecouple

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Posted Sep 21, 2008 @ 11:36 PM

Making Arthur grow up as a cocky prince just vitiates the entire Arthurian story - at that point, what's the point of even calling him Arthur and his buddy Merlin?

Maybe their relationship will change over the season?

Eve Miles did a really good job, now that I recognize her under all that make up.
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#27

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Posted Sep 22, 2008 @ 7:49 AM

It depends on what one considers the "Arthur story" to be, I suppose. For centuries the legend simply had Arthur as not being of royal birth at all, but a champion charged with defending the kingdom from the forces of magic and stamping them out. Sometimes during this period he was associated with Uther by mentions of his being the king for whom Arthur worked (though other times, it was not Uther at all).

It was in the 12th century that the invention of Arthur being Uther's son came about and, at that point, he was Uther's acknowledged son who was raised since birth to be king and assumed the throne as a callow teenager following his father's death. That's the version that stood for 300 years until the retcon of the whole sword-in-the-stone, years without a king, secret lineage bit was introduced to the legend. So it's hard, really, to say that it's 'wrong' for Merlin to have Arthur raised at Uther's side.

In fact, little things about Merlin make me think that they're not just randomly tinkering with the legend (apart from the youthification of Arthur) but looking back through all the old versions and cherry picking the bits they like. For instance, here's no Great Dragon in Le Morte d'Arthur so I don't think it's ever appeared in a modern series or movie but the same version of the legend that has Uther and Arthur as acknowledged father and son also has a dragon chained in a cavern beneath a mighty castle which painstakingly digs out the foundations over decades in order to bring it crashing down... (I just spoilered a 900 year old plot point, which feels odd, but I don't think it's common knowledge and seems likely to be depicted in future episodes).
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#28

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Posted Sep 22, 2008 @ 7:49 AM

Eve Miles did a really good job, now that I recognize her under all that make up.


Too true - I had no idea she was also playing the witch at the beginning there, till the morph when she assumed the singer's identity. Well done.
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#29

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Posted Sep 22, 2008 @ 9:24 AM

Although I thought that was actually silly. It would have been one thing if Mary had disguised her appearance by rejuvenating herself (since nobody around would remember what she'd looked like 50 years ago) and Myles had played both Old Mary and Young Mary. And another if she'd taken Helen's place and Old Mary played by a different actress, but to have Mary just happen to look like Helen, only older just seemed a bit weird.
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#30

Radagast

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Posted Sep 22, 2008 @ 4:02 PM

to have Mary just happen to look like Helen, only older just seemed a bit weird.


I guess it's because I didn't recognize Eve in the role on first appearance that I was sold. YMMV.
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