I very much like dramas from that sort of era so was quite interested to see how they had approached it. I didn't really know much about the series before watching it, so it was quite interesting to see.
I felt like it would be something quite good to blog about right now so I'm seizing the moment (even if the moment is at 2:18 in the morning when I should be going to bed - I'm sitting in bed, that counts, right?).
My thoughts on the characters:
- Jamie Campbell Bower makes an excellent Arthur, he is not someone I would have imagined in the role but they have reinvented it in a great way. I think he plays it very well and I like that his character seems quite transparent in a lot of ways. There's a certain naive quality to it all which really draws you to be interested in his character.
- Guinevere is one that surprised me. In many ways the character is what I would expect from this type of drama, but I had only seen Tamsin Egerton in St Trinians so came into it with this completely different character stuck in my head that I couldn't quite shake to begin with. However as the series went on I found that her acting when it came to emotional scenes was spot on and you really felt for her character despite her flaws.
- Eva Green is amazing as Morgan Pendragon. I'd seen her in a couple of films and this really showed another level to her acting. The depth of her character was very layered and in some moments it was hard to second guess her. She has a certain bewitching quality and the accent she has really adds to this mystique. I loved how she really had clear motive for what she did and how she showed strength and malicious power alongside a certain vulnerability in certain moments where you see a childlike quality in her.
- Leontes is amazing, Phillip Winchester play the part brilliantly. I don't know why Guinevere would ever cheat on him, he's fantastic. 'nuff said. Though I would like to mention that I enjoy how his character does have a little more depth than just being there to create a love triangle. He's great.
- Igraine is played by the wonderful Claire Forlani, who I had only seen previously in Meet Joe Black (a film that I very much like). She is another actress who I felt performed amazingly in this series. I love how the character is strong and determined and really cares for others. I think she was particularly good in the episode where she played Igraine locked up in Castle Pendragon and Morgan posing as Igraine at Camelot.
- I loved this new reimagining of Merlin, I was only sad to see that you didn't really get to know his character that much, you just saw him as this mysterious guy with a mysterious past. Joseph Fiennes is bewitching in this part, which gives him a sort of link with Morgan - the characters both have this quality which is a little otherworldy - which I suppose stems from the magical forces that both have a connection with. I was interested in the idea that he had been around for thousands of years and was sad that this wasn't really explored.
- The character of Kay is also fantastic, I love that Arthur has a brother, someone he can really connect with from their joint past - someone who really knows him. I like how this grounded the Arthur character to some extent.
- Can't really be bothered to name any of the other characters, but I like the women in this as they very strong and in many ways quite modern (ooh, and Vivien looks awesome). And I like how the other warriors who fight with Arthur have a bit of their own stories as well (even if I just did refer to them as 'other warriors').
A few notable positives about the series:
- As previously mentioned, the strong female characters are a great addition, I love the modernity that strengthens this.
- Arthur's fickleness is great, I love how flawed the character is - I think that the writers really managed to capture a humanity in all of the characters, allowing for flaws and attempted retribution for some of these.
- The fact that magic took it's toll in a very clear physical way was a great take on the idea. The scenes where Morgan is kind of dying are very powerful, and the scene in the last episode with Merlin wanting and trying to save Igraine is really emotional.
- The sets and costumes are completely outstanding! 10/10 for that!
A few less great things:
- There seemed to be quite a lot of unnecessary nudity which slightly annoyed me. Why put it in where it's not needed? The plot was quite happy without it! Some of it I suppose was needed (or at least needed to be implied), but some of it really did seem to have no purpose.
- Why start to explore the idea of magic with Merlin and Morgan and then just cut it off without any real depth put in? I felt like they considered going down the dark road to weird evil magic stuff and then after starting decided that it wasn't the way to go and moved on.
- Looking back over the whole thing I think the first half of the series was really promising, the second half was ok but started to go a little downhill towards the end and was completely ruined by the dodgy incest scene at the end. Fair enough, they were trying to have something to feed into the next series (which was then cancelled) but it was a little disturbing and I would have much more happily accepted a few more deaths and the promise of something better to come.
So I guess overall I quite enjoyed the series, I like that this allowed for a certain amount of darkness in the script, but I would probably prefer the family friendly programme 'Merlin'. I only cringe at the really weird looking little gremlin type evil things they throw in occasionally. Apart from that I'm a big fan.