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Anybody else watching Merlin on NBC? I'm really hoping that they're… - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Anybody else watching Merlin on NBC? I'm really hoping that they're showing it as fast as they are (two eps a week for the first two weeks) so that they can pick up simultaneously with the BBC airings for the second season/series.

For those who haven't watched it, it's a charming... er, how to put it? A weird parallel universe Camelot. Yeah. But it's so good-hearted and amusing that it's very hard to fault it for having some serious WTFery going on in terms of Arthuriana. And the bad creature effects make me nostalgic for Xena and Hercules. And it has GILES! Oh, how I've missed Anthony Head since Buffy. He makes everything good.

Plus, Merlin, Arthur, Lancelot... LOVE.

Damn, we have to get some British actors over here opening schools. Time for a new Method.
21 comments or Leave a comment
sixth_light From: sixth_light Date: July 6th, 2009 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
The best one-line description I've heard is "Camelot High". Because it so is. One can't help feeling that they're deliberately messing with the Arthurian mythos, because it's just so completely askew from it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah, definitely. But cute!
From: severely_lupine Date: July 6th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
It hasn't started the second season has it? Yeah, I watched the first season. It's terribly cute and funny and amusing. Though I found it quite weird to find myself shipping Merlin/Gwen. But given that Arthurian legend has been messed around with since its inception, I can hardly fault them for changing it around again. And yes, Giles! I find it rather too funny that he's so anti-magic in this, given that Giles actually used magic on occasion. Makes me start thinking how amusing a crossover could be.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it has. I just read the article that it had been picked up, but the episode list only has the thirteen eps from season one.
From: severely_lupine Date: July 6th, 2009 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah. Yeah, I pretty much figured it'd be around for another season at least. I got into it due to an artist on my flist doing a bunch of fan art for the show. Eventually, I just had to check it out.
jesspallas From: jesspallas Date: July 6th, 2009 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thirteen episodes is all it has. It's very rare in the UK for a series to go on for longer that that. They tend to be six, twelve/thirteen or "continuing drama" ie they're on all year round. We haven't had a second series yet but I suspect it's due in the autumn.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: July 6th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Not a fan of the school of acting called "The Method" or not a fan of Stanislasky's acting teachings?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2009 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)
It's very fun, but apparently not as effective as the traditional British way. We have some excellent actors, but they're not as consistent, and I think it's because the technical training is different.
alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: July 6th, 2009 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Merlin so reminds me of Hercules and Xena. Especially with how they're kind of twisting the myth? Seems very much like those two shows. I sort of hope this lasts for a long time, I've missed those cheesy shows like H & X, the Voyages of Sinbad, Robin Hood, etc. They're just so fun.

Plus, I know next to nothing about the Arthurian legends and Camelot, so I know they're changing things up, but it's not going to bother me! ;)

My one quibble would that I get that they're putting their own twist on it and all that, but having a show called "Merlin" and talking about how awesome science is and how everything should be done by science...I'm actually quite pro-science in real life, and I know that magic isn't real, but it would sort of be like Hercules pretending his father wasn't Zeus, you know? Still, totally fun, and I'm enjoying it.
norwegianblue47 From: norwegianblue47 Date: July 6th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I read somewhere, possibly wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt, that the inspiration was Smallville, which, from what I've seen, plays a bit fast and loose with the Superman mythos. Though I only know the bare bones of it myself.

But yeah, Merlin is definitely fun in a "don't take yourself too seriously way." I didn't know that they were doing it twice a week. I just started watching it last week on hulu.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2009 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
The first two weeks were back-to-back episodes. This week was only one.
sciathan_file From: sciathan_file Date: July 6th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Merlin is excellent.

I hope the BBC decides to release another series and someone over here picks it up.

The world needs more Colin Morgan.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 6th, 2009 06:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Is that BBC's Merlin? I've never been able to get into it and I'm always surprised at how popular it is in the USA. It starts out charming and Harry Potter-esque in a fanon Draco-in-leather-pants kind of way, then it devolves into all the reasons why I've never particularly liked that fanfiction trope. Merlin is a doormat to Arthur's awesomeness and I never seen the All Important Male Friendship That Will Save Kingdoms® as much as I see a one boy having a self-destructive crush on another.

Er... That said, it's always good to see our shows being popular beyond our little island so I'm glad you like it. :p
doriscrockford2 From: doriscrockford2 Date: July 7th, 2009 10:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree! I watched the first 2 episodes when it was on here and couldn't see the attraction.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 7th, 2009 11:18 am (UTC) (Link)
*g* And here I was thinking I was the only one who never got it either! :D
ladyaeryn From: ladyaeryn Date: July 11th, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Late reply, but I only just finished watching the series this week.

Merlin is a doormat to Arthur's awesomeness and I never seen the All Important Male Friendship That Will Save Kingdoms® as much as I see a one boy having a self-destructive crush on another.

I can see your interpretation, though I don't share it myself. Publicly, of course Merlin's going to be the doormat to Arthur, because Uther is... well, Uther :P, and as heir to the throne Arthur can hardly be seen regularly challenging his father in favor of a servant. But as the series progresses there are plenty of times where Arthur sticks up for/sides with/risks his life for Merlin; the 10th and 11th episodes come most strongly to mind as places where Arthur puts his life on the line (in one case literally) for him. And as early as the second episode Arthur's certainly become protective of Merlin, if in a backhanded sort of way. (Arthur's the best fighter in the kingdom but he uses novice Merlin as practice sparring partner for a life-or-death tournament instead of one of his more experienced Knights? Bollocks, it's an excuse to teach the klutz how to defend himself.) Much of the affection has been backhandedly expressed, but the acting/chemistry is convincing enough to me that it's not hard for me to perceive an underlying mutual affection. (Though not the UST that fuels the slashers.) But of course that's all subjective, and I understand you don't see it that way.
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: July 12th, 2009 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I never really paid much attention to the show after the Mordred episode wherein Merlin thought it was "very bad" for the boy to die that night but "horrible" for Arthur to die some vague time in the future on the off chance the Dragon's prophecy was true. It struck me as all kinds of creepy and wrong and I stopped identifying?/symapthizing? with Merlin and the whole story from there. As you said, it's subjective.
dramaturgy From: dramaturgy Date: July 6th, 2009 06:37 am (UTC) (Link)

ETA: Wow way to press post before I was done. XD

Yeah, I pretty much love Merlin. It's not for Arthurian purists of any stripe, but it's so much fun that I can't really make myself care.

Edited at 2009-07-06 06:40 am (UTC)
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: July 6th, 2009 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh Merlin is just brilliant. I saw it when it came out here in the UK and just loved it to pieces... once I'd got over my first impulse which was to spend most of the first episode going "WTF specs? The Dark age physician has glass specs? And tomatoes and peasants writing?"

I think it gets better as well, the main cast just make me want to hug them and they have in the true tradition of incestuous BBC dramas some absolutely fabulous guest stars.

Rather predictably the fandom and fanfic is mainly Arthur/Merlin slash but what do you expect when the Slash Dragon says things like "the half cannot hate that which makes it whole" :)

Some links also:

http://crabby-lioness.livejournal.com/ Does some really good in depth episode reviews.

http://sarahtales.livejournal.com/132649.html#cutid1 Is just really really funny although although it does contain spoilers for episodes up to episode eight.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: July 6th, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I love BBC's Merlin. I watched it as it aired thanks to the internet pirates. It's so dorky and funny and sort of pretty. It completely screws woth myths and history, and I never thought I'd actually like that, but I DO.

Have fun with it.
ladyaeryn From: ladyaeryn Date: July 11th, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just finished the series, and while it got off to a rocky start, it's certainly sucked me in and I've been hunting down fic like a madwoman.

I can buy this variation on the legend - one, because there already are so many, and looking at each of the places this series seems to 'deviate' you can probably find some precedent for it in earlier tellings (except for the they're-all-the-same-age thing and maybe Guinevere starting out a servant, though I am enjoying that take so far). The effects are adequate, the swordplay is awesome, and the acting is solid. And like you say... it's just charming.

And yes, King Giles! :D It truly is bizarre to see ASH in such a polar opposite type of character to the understanding, compassionate Watcher, but it still works. (Actually, in a way Uther reminds me of what Vader might have been like had he become Emperor in RotS and had to raise Luke and/or Leia.)
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