March 19, 2012 6 Comments

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…

‘MERLIN,’ SERIES THREE (2011). Review of the BBC's version with Colin Morgan centering on the Arthurian character, Merlin. Text © Rissi JC

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.

RELATED TV SHOW REVIEW | Hanna: Episode One – Amazon Prime’s Latest Thriller
‘MERLIN,’ SERIES THREE (2011) #FWarchives Click To Tweet

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.

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

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.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

All posts


  • Emily Meyers March 20, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    Hey lady! I just twanted to let you knwo that I tagged you in my 11 things post here: http://emilymmeyers.blogspot.com/2012/03/11-things.html
    You don't have to follow along of course, but I wanted to let you know anyways:)

  • Lauren S. March 20, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    I've heard about the show, and thought it looked interesting. The premise is intriguing…

    I hope they treat Gawaine right. He's my favorite person from the old Arthurian legends, but often they make fun of him.

  • Rissi March 20, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    Emily – wow! Thank you SO much for including me in your "eleven." I am honored. =D

    Lauren – this is a cute little show that has really "grown" in its three seasons. It has a much better take on the legend now even though it is before Arthur is king.

    Gwaine is made out to be a rebel and a bit of a drunk – but I wouldn't say they make fun of him. He is a very skilled swordsmen and saves Arthur a number of times. Plus he is fiercely loyal to Merlin.

    You should give it a try…

  • Ruth March 21, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    I don't think I knew you liked this show, that's awesome. Merlin is great fun!

  • Rissi March 21, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Goodness, yes! This series is way fun. It has really "grown" since it premiered and I love that. =)


  • Leave a Reply

    (Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

    Bonjour and Welcome!

    Welcome | thank you for visiting and reading. if you like, you are invited to join our conversations and follow along – join us.  You’re most welcome.
    Read more about Finding Wonderland

    Finding Wonderland Elsewhere!

    Finding Wonderland in your Inbox!

    Subscribe! Have Finding Wonderland's new content sent to your inbox; sign up for our once (or twice) monthly round up of new content. If you'd like to have this newsletter sent to your inbox, you can enter your email address here. Please note, this does require a sign-up confirmation via email, and that email may be sent to a junk or spam folder.

    RSS Feed

    Enter your email address:



    Some of the links on this blog are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive (a small) compensation. This compensation comes at no additional cost to you.

    Rissi JC (RissiWrites.com) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

    All written content (unless noted) is © Copyright Rissi JC and Finding Wonderland (RissiWrites.com).


    %d bloggers like this: