Saturday, 18 September 2010

Merlin, show of lost uppertunities.

Merlin, the 2008 BBC show.
oddly enough, it haven't been in the search light of geeks across the enternet. Neither have I detected anyone one who actually spoke of it, or even nit picked on it.
I find it kind of odd, as it does touch upon geeky and interesting subjects, the Arthurian myth, and is for all intense and purposes. is an adventure fantasy series for younger people and teenagers. perfect show material for role playing people and its likes.
For me though, this is very much the show of lots opportunities, because it have the opportunity for greatness. all the components are there, and they are right. It just lacks the courage to take that extra step into the realms of dangerous and dark story plotting. it simple just needs to stop being a children's show and take itself seriously.

What the show is about is the young Merlin, in the future to be exceptionally powerful and grant wizard Merlin.
Now though, he is just a teenage boy, already he have very powerful magic within him, but he doesn't know how to control it yet.
Somehow he ends up being the private man servant of Prince Arthur, the future king of Chamalot.

Here's where stuff get's sort of interesting. the current king of Chamalot is King Uther, and according to him, everything that has anything to do with magic or the unexplainable is evil and must die. He is actually paranoid and wants to kill people, just because that happen to have magic gifts. and I mean everyone, so Merlin must keep his powers a firm secret to the world. kind of an old fashioned Superman formular really as Merlin continuously safe the day but must keep his actions hidden.

This situation is kind of a fascinating setup, ad Uther is a very fascinating character. his idea of killing everything magic is wrong yeas, but not entirely. because to be perfectly honest, all the bad shit that does happen have always something to do with magic, and I mean always. It is only in Uthers best interests to protect his Kingdom and people whom he is extremely dedicated to, he is sincerely a selfless man, and he sincerely believe he does the king a favor so by killing off anything magical, children, women and creatures a like. all is done in the best of intentions, yet his actions was from day one extremely self destructive as magic is clearly a huge integrated part of his kingdom, not just a little thing that can be ignored, which just gives him all the more reason to fear it. And that makes Uther by far, the best and most complex character of the show, he is a wonderful character in a unique and complex situation. At first glance you think he is a villain, but the truth is that he isn't. only sometimes and in specific situations.

Merlins own situation seemed intriequin at first, how he must run around pretending just to be a servant boy but is in reality such a powerful wizard and is in reality in constant life threat on the same time as he develops a friendship with Arthur whom he must keeps secrets from. But it didn't take long for that situation to become really boring, because it doesn't goes anywhere at all. yeas their friendship is growing stronger, and their interactions are both funny and amusing, but that's kind of it, and Merlins situation reminds to much of loads of stuff I have seen before about superpowered teenagers who must keep up a secret identity. It's dull.
All though, it needs to be say he is an amusing character and very well casted, he is likable and funny, and the character withholds great potential, as with everything else in this bloody show that needs to get moving with it's own development.

Arthurs situation is a little more intrequin and manage to keep interest a little more. he is crown prince and he knows that he is destined to be the future king of Chamalot. as he is young, naive and have a big heart he is actually able to see the wrong in his fathers actions as well as the goods and his reasons. So Arthurs more often than rare finds himself in very compromising situations where he have to choose between his fathers righteous believing that is apparently in the best interest of the people, or his own judgement.
You will be surprised how often he actually do end up with the first option and only does the latter in secret. He loves his father, and he can understand his fathers actions, yet his heart is big and as a young man he is not able to kill people just for them being able to preform magic. which also makes it's so frustrating for the audience that he doesn't know yet that Merlin is a wizard, we are dying to see his reactions all though we pretty much already know them. of cause he is going to stand by Merlin, and that will leave him in a granter compromising situation where he needs to keep Merlins secret from his own father.
The trouble just is, the show is standing still, each and every single episode ends on a reset button and we are back to where we started. it frustrates me so much as all the key ingredients are right there for an amazing show.
And not only that. The show is british and is one of does who have 14 episodes pr season, same as Doctor who.
Difference is that Doctor who is really using it's time and goes places, each and every single episode matters and builds upon the plot to take the characters to new places and situations. why does Merlin not draw inspiration from that? It purely baffles me.

One of the thing that annoys me the most about this show is the Dragon.
I hate that dragon, the idea was good but is being way overused, and the Dragon is a big major to easy plot solver. Almost every single episode in the first two seasons ended in Merlin going down to the dragon to ask for a spell that could fix whatever problem the episode was concerned about. and he would always get the spell!
What the hell? why? it's the same as when Star Trek techno babbles itself out of problems, it's lazy writing!
What especially annoyed me was the in the last episode of the first season, we had pretty much set up a situation where the Dragon would not be used any more, I applaud that.
But already at the first episode of the second season.. he bloody goes down to the dragon again!? why? you just said you didn't want help from it because it almost killed your mother, why writers why? and that mother incident is never mentioned again.
Then in the ending of second season I really thought we had gotten rid of it as it was let loose, but no. bloody first episode of third season which came out last weekend. the Dragon come and saved Merlin.
big bloody sarcastic hurrah from my end of the line. And the worst part is, it wasn't even needed, you could easily have rewrote the situation to that Merlin escaped himself by using his own powerful magic that can do almost anything anyhow, depending on what the writers fells like.
That dragon just annoys the living hell out of me as it is one of they key things in the show that keeps the show from growing and developing.

So what do I think should be done to make the show move forward and be as great as it could have been.
cause it really could, the set up is great in imaginative, the characters are great and well casted, the universe is fascinating. It is all there.

Well, this may shock people. other than getting rid at the Dragon for good, the way I see the show go if it should move forward.
Kill off Uther.

no really. but didn't I just say he was by far the best and most complex and interesting character? I did, and I stand by that statement. but he needs to be removed to let the show grow, he sincerely needs to die. And Chamalot needs to fall and become divided in order to set up what will happen in the real Arthurian legend where Arthur must regain his throne and collect the country under a united banner.
That Uther will be killed by the uprising people is the only logical outcome of what have happened so far and his behavior. his behavior towards the people, how good intended it might be, are extremely self destructive non the less, to many wants him to dead, to many are ready to rise against him. He is already doomed, the only question just remains when the series will show balls enough to actually do it, go ahead and kill a main character and put itself on shaky grounds where the safe frame of the castle and somebody attacking the castle is a concept thrown over the shoulders and in the garbage can, become the past of the show.

In the star of the third season I was almost fooled as there was set up a grant big battle for Chamalot, it seemed like a no win scenario, and Chamalot should have fallen for the show to move on. though as should be expected, it did.
All though, it did set up Morgana as a firm evil villain. this is indeed interesting, she is Uthers ward and he loves her as a daughter, and she will have no second thoughts in killing him.
This puts Uthers position in his clear, and his future undoing is to obvious and will happen for one unlikely sorce of reason, the reason why most heroes triumph he will be conquered. His heart, Uthers heart is to big and love to much, his love to the people blinds him when seeing any potential danger, which magic very much is, his love to Morgana keeps him from seeing her deadly evil nature.

The show must move forward, to hell with the same frame that is sat up, a firm ground is only sat so you can do the impressive acrobatics later, but Merlin never ever takes that jump into the realm of unsudenty, it's so close, so often it's so close which just makes it even more bitter for me when it doesn't happen.
It would be like pulling the carpet away from the fetes of the writers, but it is what needs to be done. Kill Uthor and let Chamalot fall, then let the show be about Arthur and Merlin traveling the country trying to unit it and regain the throne while fighting all the evil sorceress. this time as somebody on the run.


  1. You’re totally right, the writers seem petrified to move the show along, it feels like there’s been almost no progression since the start.

    Only caught the first episode of the new series on BBC catch-up so far. Man it pissed me off how Morgana would act friendly and then turn to the camera with a malicious smile. She must have done it at least half a dozen times. SHE’S EVIL, WE GET IT ALREADY!

  2. I am perfectly aware of why they brought her back, it wasn't because of plot. It was so they wouldn't loose a main character. and I am saying, god dammit show! don't do that!? yeas I would want her to appear again but not that often! Look at Doctor who! they change out the companions frequently! it makes the show move forward!
    She is pretty damn good at playing evil though, I mean her smile can be scary dude oO; And it helps to empathise what Uther is all about.

    You know what pisses me the most off right now? The season start was big and grant, it had the battle and some scary ass shit. Uthers visions of seeing his previous drowned victims coming back to get him was god damn creepy and scary. I could almost taste it there, I could taste what the show could have been. and wouldn't you know it. "Reset" and the dumpest trailer for next weeks episode I have ever seen. I mean that trailer after that decent two parter just make me choke. IT had fart jokes in it! no really, it was filled with fart jokes and the plot was to obvious. I don't even need to see it, I know god damn well how next weeks episode is going to play out. I don't think I am gonna see it... it all. I skip next week no question about it.

    yeah.. I will continue watching in the future anyhow, the unused potential is just a countlessly big fascination to me. I don't believe I have ever seen a show where I can fell the potential this strongly but don't have it delivered. not even Star Trek voyager had this big wasted potential.

  3. So true. There was also that episode where the mentor Gaius dies. It was the perfect time to kill him off and force Merlin to fend for himself, but nope, he gets brought back to life! Instead they try to deliver the same emotional impact through the death of Merlin’s actual father, a man he’s barely known a day.

    The show creators want to have their cake and eat it too.

  4. Sigh.. you know who created this show? the same people who made "Smallville." And you know what is annoying about that show?
    The first couple of seasons are unused potential, and then.. in season 6 it became really really good!
    but 6 years is to long! and then the show creator think he can do the same with this show!? a british show where the five your contract does not exist. oi!
    Take a look at your main actors, look at them! they are grown ups know, their characters should be as well, they should do grown up stuff now. where the hell are all does doctor who writers when you need them? Even mr Russel would be nice, because at least his plots was moving places.

  5. Oh wow, I just saw that Goblin episode you were talking about. Forgive me for the rant, but this pisses me off. What is this like, the millionth time Merlin has been framed? And everyone just goes along with it like that talk where Uther firmly considers him a valuable/loyal ally of his son never happened. These relationships never seem to grow, all the characters are still where they started! Then there was the trailer for the next episode and I think I heard something about knights trying to assassinate Arthur in a tournament, because that hasn’t been done twice before already. This show has less continuity than Power Rangers!

  6. yeah... I saw the episode to.. I just had to know how bad it would be. wow real bad oO;
    however, there was one thing that I liked.. the Goblin choose to make Uther bald and he looked pissed.. that kind of made me laugh. anyhow the rest. yeas! It is fucking pure repetition of what have already happened and what we already know! nothing of that is going to have any bearing what so ever on the future.. And I know the next episode to!! I have seen it before! the exact same episode!? every single Merlin episode is the exact same thing.. Why does this fascinate me so much??? It is just purely fascinating to me.


    In this latest episode Merlin sees visions of Morgana killing Uther and it turns out he’s the one who set the events in motion. A little predictable, but it was well done nonetheless. So in his panic Merlin seriously harms Morgana, then revives her from the brink of death. She flies into a rage with the new found knowledge that Uther is her real father, bitchslaps Merlin into a wall, and we see her slowly walk to the hall with the knife. We see her slowly enter Uther’s room. Then the show’s producers decided this was getting too good, so Merlin regains consciousness, runs to the other end of the damn castle in the time it takes for Morgana to raise the knife, and he stops her in time. By the end the relationships are pretty much the same, and there were no immediate consequences as usual.

  8. I KNOW!!!!

    I saw the trailer and it was like. "Morgana kills Uthor" and I was like. "YEAS! YEAS LET HER KIll HIM!" though part of me didn't even dare hope.
    And not only did they blew it on several levels. THEY BROUGHT THE FUCKING DRAGON BACK!

    gasp, sigh... help me.. waaah D:
    And this was one of the better episodes of the series! the last ten seconds was just mundo bummer! I could fell myself crashing down on the floor, hard!
    Why do I keep watching this!? I NEED ANSWERS!

  9. To make you feel better about yourself because you know you could do a better job than the writers of this show? :)

  10. I am an awesome writer B)

    I have written fanfiction which got lots of internet fame!

    ......I suck!

    though good answer.

  11. Short rant on the latest episode – Arthur goes to rescue Gwen’s brother from that guy (they already did Gwen last season so...) and Morgana tags along to betray him. Knowing this, Merlin has days to come up with his own plan, but does NOTHING, content to let them walk into a certain death than reveal his oh so secret powers. As soon as they get captured, the bad guys make a big show of acting like Morgana isn’t working for them, even though they’re going to kill Arthur and any witnesses. Might as well just switch over the TV to something more interesting here, because you know this pointless charade means Arthur will escape with the group and all the relationships will stay the same. And that’s exactly what happens. There was simply NO reason for Morgana to pretend she's still with the good guys.

  12. Ahahahaha!

    I haven't even seen the episode, but that sounded absolutely hilarious!
    Why am I feeling like I actually need to see that.. oh god this show is so bad that it's fascinating. If they don't kill somebody by the end of the season I will crown this show the king of running around in circles.

  13. The latest show was actually half decent. Arthur goes on a quest to prove he’s worthy of being the future king, but Morgana gives him a curse bracelet which saps his strength through the journey. Upon learning this Merlin goes after him and seeks the help of Gwaine who I quite liked from a former episode. Also Gwen found out Morgana’s evil and is now consorting with Gaius, some progression at last!

    There was one tiny detail which bothered me though. The king and Arthur stress that the quest must be undertaken alone with no help, but when Merlin and Gwaine come to the rescue, Arthur is just mildly annoyed. He finishes the quest, and then tells Merlin to keep it secret. This coming from an honourable knight? Isn’t he going to even question if he’s worthy of being king?

  14. Njaah, comparing to all the stuff Arthur have already done in previous episodes, it seems weird is something that small would in any way make him question himself.

    Yeah, It was decent. And it also made me think the writers is actually intending to make a war break out as some point, I couldn't help but note how they said. "There will be trouble times." when they used to say. "One day there will be peace and Arthur will be king." That is how it usually goes, they haven't before spelled out things will get worse before it gets better, but now they addressed it, even sat something up that seems to me is planned for something better, watching the teaser for next week, I am actually intrigued.

  15. Thank god Morgana finally revealed herself as a villain to the other characters, progress at last! Although the real reason I’m glad is because I could no longer take her smug self-satisfied smiles which just got more and more blatant. Half the time she was doing it right in front of the other characters. And I mean practically facing them.

  16. I know.

    Let the bitch kill Uthor all ready and then let the real war begin dammit.

    Oddly enough I think she appears much more evil and menacing than Morgouse somehow.. the actress just looks the part I suppose.