Caught in a Bad Bromance
To fellow literature ~repeaters, the Arthurian legends were so interesting English class in high school was boring without them.
So big thanks to BBC One’s Merlin, modernized monarchies and magic have brought fresh air to my TV standards. Sorry for fawning over ~legends and ~artificiality but Merlin’s seriously chicken soup for the, um, soul.
In a land of myth, and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young boy. His name… Merlin.
Released in 2008, Merlin has quite gathered a good number of viewership. The Smallville-ish content simply charmed the child in me since the first episode. The titular hero (portrayed by the extremely adorable Colin Morgan) is a young, troublemaking, klutzy magician who’s supposed to “protect” Prince Arthur as his destiny. But this doesn’t seem to go smoothly as the PMS-stricken King Uther Pendragon sternly disproves any form of sorcery— driving everyone in town into skullduggery. Evil magicians spring here and there, in an El Filibusterismo type of rage against the rigid (or frigid, LOL) ruler of Camelot.
Unlike Uther, Arthur (Bradley James) meanwhile is headstrong and just, but on the surface a pompous bully. He forms a firm bromance with his servant Merlin who keeps hiding his natural talent lest he gets butchered the next day. (It occurred to me that the berdugos were big those days.)
Joining the main characters are Gwen/Guinevere (Angel Coulby) who is never the “The Lusty Month of May” Guinevere you imagined in Joshua Logan’s 1967 Camelot; Morgana (Katie McGrath) who is the King’s willful ward with BEAUTY– hence my new crush– that hides her augur abilities; and of course, Gaius (Richard Wilson) who mentors Merlin and would probably be the inspiration of the next-generation Merlin fashion statement. Which would be kinda gross, as Gaius looks like he needed more time in the shower.
Post-note on Gwen: Fine, she’s lovable, caring and she’s a maid but why does she look like THAT (above right)? A handmaiden redundantly mortified with rat nest hair, ratty gowns and rodent-inspired makeup, gah pity! Pardon my meanness and superficiality but if she’d be the “Once and Future Queen of Camelot,” why figure her appearance like THAT? On second thought, THAT maybe the point.
Nevertheless, I’m glad I see familiar faces from my other favorite TV series, in Merlin. There’s Santiago Cabrera (Isaac, the painter, in Heroes) who’s Lancelot, a proletariat cavalier wannabe. And there’s also Joe Dempsie (Chris Miles of Skins) who, like his junkie Skins character, dies in the end. I also hoped that Eve Myles and her gap-teeth remained a villain ever since.
Tell me if you watch this and let’s exchange notes!