What no one realizes about Merlin is just how popular it would become. BBC’s take on the legend is different than most. One being it takes it back before Arthur is king and Merlin is still a young man learning to use his magic. Re-airing in the states on SyFy, the series now takes off in the U.S. This is definitely the darkest we’ve ever seen Merlin but snippets of silliness still peek through.
Merlin, Series Three (2011) BBC TV Show Review
Camelot and its people are in turmoil. There is war only it has nothing to do with two kingdoms at odds with one another. Instead it’s the result of the guilt of the tyrannical King Uther (Anthony Head). He’s not about to call a halt to the search to see his beloved Morgana safely back under his protection. He believe she was snatched from the safety of Camelot’s walls and he will stop at nothing. His impetuous son Arthur (Bradley James) leads countless search parties and this day he comes across a group of renegades who seem to want to do the Prince harm. But more importantly he finds a dazed Morgana (Katie McGrath) wondering aimlessly in the surrounding woods.
What Uther and Arthur don’t know is that Morgana hasn’t been missing. She has a terrible secret and has in fact been living in hiding with her bewitching half-sister Morgause (Emilia Fox). Merlin (Colin Morgan) knows the deepest secret that Morgana is actually from an ancient line of witches who possess the potential to practice evil magic, the one thing that Uther cannot abide in his kingdom. As a wizard, Merlin’s position relies on his ability to use his magic for the good and protection of Arthur, without discover. He must tread very carefully around Morgana as she could likewise ruin his life…
Uther sees nothing as amiss. His world is right again with Morgana home but when Uther’s mind leaves him senseless, things get bad. In his weakened state, the king is in no position to rule, which is why Arthur must become the leader everyone needs or Camelot will fall.
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The two-part season premiere of Merlin really impresses. It’s dark and dangerous without the usual dose of frivolity. It has a reputation as a “cute” family series, and it still engages in such fun. But I do think it’s finding the happy medium. What’s so interesting about this season is the emphasis it places on Arthur’s coming-of-age under the thumb of his normally unreasonable father. So much changes in each of the characters and the focus is more on Arthur’s future reign; everything that is done seems to only reinforce the future of the legend. Gwen (Angel Coulby) is rarely in it but she learns the truth of Morgana’s evil. In a bit of a fun twist we also meet a new recurring character named Gwaine (Eoin Macken), and we are re-introduced to Lacelot.
The special effects are almost pitiable. They could use a much bigger budget and instead somehow seem to be something that filmmakers skimp on. Nonetheless it doesn’t detract from the fun of the series. I think most of the time, the costuming is lovely albeit modern but some of the time, it’s downright ugly. Fortunately, those are more rare than not. Overall, the finale is excellent and I’m glad Morgana’s true character reveals (it was about time!). Writers can only go so long with the redundant subplots. Being a fan of this show, I’m not just looking forward to the fourth set but also where writers take the show – will it go through to Arthur’s reign and the symbolic Knights of the Round Table? Or will its run come to a close long before that? Only time will tell but I for one, am anxiously awaiting its return.
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You can find Merlin, series three digitally yon Amazon Video
Content: there’s a lot of magic use. Merlin saves Arthur a number of times using some form of magic [as always he only uses it for good]. Many attempts are made on Arthur or Uther’s lives – a number of people die in the finale. Elsewhere there are magician’s who harness a magic from the “old” religion who use it for evil purposes – one woman has been “forced” into it. Creatures terrify citizens and murder people. People die of swords with little to no blood. The series is TV-PG.