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Merlin on NBC

Updated on March 13, 2011
Promo picture
Promo picture

Merlin is a new fantasy adventure tv show from NBC. Merlin premiered in the United States on June 21, 2009.

Merlin was originally produced for the BBC and the first season has already been aired in full in Britain. The show has already been picked up for a second season, which will begin on September 19, 2009 in Britain. A US premiere date for season two has not been announced.

Thanks to some friends from our former colonial overlord, I've been lucky enough to see the entire first season already and I expect Merlin to be a family hit in America as it was in Britain. The show is one of a relatively rare breed that is suitable for children (even relatively young ones, though there are a few scary or intense moments you may wish to censor for the youngest viewers) but mature enough to be enjoyable for adults.

Colin Morgan as Merlin and Bradley James as Arthur
Colin Morgan as Merlin and Bradley James as Arthur

Arthurian With a Twist

I was a huge Arthurian geek in high school and read a pretty significant percentage of the retellings published at that time, from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to The Once and Future King to The Mists of Avalon and beyond. I was also a Greek mythology geek in high school and have yet to forgive Disney for Hercules, so I was wary of trying Merlin, even though my friends were going nuts over how much fun it was.

But finally I gave in and honestly, even though I spent a lot of time answering my son's questions about the plot, with "NONONONO, that's not how it REALLY was!" I found the many, many inaccuracies endearing, not annoying. Even this early into the show's hoped-for 5-year run, it was already possible to see the outlines of the legend coming together, and someone less knowledgeable about Arthurian legend likely wouldn't be bothered in the least.

The show is based around young Merlin, and depicts him as a contemporary of Arthur, not a mentor. In this version of the legend, Uther Pendragon, Arthur's father and king of Camelot, has a serious grudge against magic and has made sorcery a crime punishable by death, so when Merlin arrives with a letter of introduction from his mother to Gaius, the court physician, Gaius quickly impresses on his new teenage ward the importance of keeping his skills secret.

Unfortunately for any attempts to keep a low profile, Merlin gets off to a bad start when he inadvertantly insults Prince Arthur... and then proceeds to save Arthur's life. As a reward, Uther makes Merlin Arthur's personal manservant, a decision neither Gaius nor the boys themselves are pleased about.

Magic may be forbidden, but that doesn't stop a great deal of it from happening anyway, and by the end of the season you find you really can't blame Uther for wanting it extinguished. Hardly a week goes by when some angry sorcerer or magical beast isn't threatening the life, limb, or security of Uther, Arthur, or Camelot itself!

In another twist, Morgana is Uther's ward, not Arthur's half-sister, and Guinevere is her maid.

Angel Coulby as Guinevere and Katie McGrath as Morgana
Angel Coulby as Guinevere and Katie McGrath as Morgana

The Cast

  • Colin Morgan as Merlin
  • Bradley James as Arthur Pendragon
  • Angel Coulby as Guinevere
  • Katie McGrath as Morgana
  • Anthony Stewart Head as Uther Pendragon
  • Richard Wilson as Gaius
  • John Hurt as the voice of the Great Dragon

Tony Head (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) and Richard Wilson (of more movies and shows that I can possibly list) are the most solid actors among the cast, as one would expect, but the younger cast members are charming and charismatic and grow increasingly comfortable with their roles as the season progresses.

There is excellent chemistry between all the cast members, especially Colin and Bradley as Merlin and Arthur and Katie and Angel as Morgana and Gwen.

They're also very, very pretty.

See?

The cast promoting Children in Need
The cast promoting Children in Need
Colin Morgan as Merlin
Colin Morgan as Merlin
Bradley James as Arthur
Bradley James as Arthur
Angel Coulby as Guinevere
Angel Coulby as Guinevere
Katie McGrath
Katie McGrath
Giles! I mean, er, Anthony Stewart Head.
Giles! I mean, er, Anthony Stewart Head.
Colin and Bradley promoting the Children in Need charity
Colin and Bradley promoting the Children in Need charity

In short, Merlin is a fun, adventurous romp with some nice bonus eye candy, and I can't wait for more episodes!

Check out the preview!

Comments

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    • Netters profile image

      Netters 8 years ago from Land of Enchantment - NM

      Thank you for the information and the heads up. I love these kind of shows.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Interesting new twists on the story. I'm not sure if I would like it or not. Will have to see it know :)

    • Caladhiel profile image

      Caladhiel 7 years ago

      Great hub! Thanks for the link!

    • profile image

      eaasi3574 7 years ago

      This was great information.

    • embitca profile image

      Emma 7 years ago from Boston

      I've been lucky enough to see the entire first season as well and am looking forward to seeing it again when it starts up on NBC this month! It's a very charming show and Colin and Bradley are adorable.

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

      Thanks for the info -- I'll be watching this one, for sure.

    • Chris Crow profile image

      Chris Crow 7 years ago

      I think I'll watch a few episodes of this show on hulu--looks interesting.

    • profile image

      Mike Bair 7 years ago

      LOVE the show. Hope it stays on(renews) for the US.

      Will be sorry to see Uther go but know Arthur must take over sooner or later.

      And Gaius. WOW, what a macho name. If I was to have another son I'd name him Gaius.

    • myawn profile image

      myawn 7 years ago from Florida

      I have loved King Author and Merlin since high school and beyond.I will be watching Merlin. A wonderful hub Thanks!

    • profile image

      Brent 7 years ago

      Being a retired prof of British Lit, I did not think I would like this "souped-up" version. However, I have loved each episode and the wonderful actors. Thanks for bringing the Arthurian legends to prime time. More, more, more!!

    • profile image

      Kenneth W. Lane 7 years ago

      There are so few shows that a whole family can watch to gether, but Merlin is one of them. It is a wonderful show,and I look forwaed to Sunday night to watch it. The cast is superb and the stories are great. I do so hope that this show is not canceled.

      Sincerely,

      Kenneth Lane

    • profile image

      Kenneth W. Lane 7 years ago

      There are so few shows that a whole family can watch to gether, but Merlin is one of them. It is a wonderful show,and I look forwaed to Sunday night to watch it. The cast is superb and the stories are great. I do so hope that this show is not canceled.

      Sincerely,

      Kenneth Lane

    • profile image

      MERLINO 7 years ago

      aaaaahhhh. MERLIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      Esme 7 years ago

      I love all of the merlins - i think it is moving and fun and it always makes you want to watch the next one! I would highly recommend it - it great for all ages :)

    • profile image

      Katie McGrath 7 years ago

      I am glad you are all enjoying the show,we all do our best to keep it interesting!!!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 years ago from England

      Er, are you aware of the fact that you just got a message from one of the cast???? wow. Nell

    • profile image

      greenjeans 6 years ago

      Why did NBC not pick up the second season of Merlin? cola7391@windstream.net

    • profile image

      kamila 6 years ago

      las aventuras de merlin son lo maximo me encanta merlin arturo morgana tooooodos los personajes

    • profile image

      Brianne O'Hannlon 6 years ago

      Katie McGrath! Thank you dearie for the comment and for your incredible work! You are one of the best young actresses in the world in my opinion, and yes we have all been enjoying your work and the work of the other members of "Merlin." You are all great. It was nice of you to write. Hey people who are not Katie...do you realize she wrote 11 months ago on here? See comments, a few above me... :) Kate: again, thank you! Yes it is an interesting, wonderful show you all keep up the excellent work please. Im impressed by your versatility, Morgana is a complicated character. My I could not do such a convincing job. Much love from an old Irish-American woman. Haha. Take care dear. And hello and thanks to the rest of the cast....o if you ever read this. :)

    • profile image

      I love merlin! 6 years ago

      Merlin I watch your vid every saturday OMG there the best luv you all xxxxxxxx Morgana you starting to scare me D: byeee xxx

    • profile image

      Stoart 6 years ago

      i love merline and Author, infact i can't just close my eyes without MMMMMMMeeeerrrrlllline.

      Nigeria

    • profile image

      Nikoo 5 years ago

      love this tv series

    • profile image

      majda sarah 5 years ago

      I love you colin morgan / merlin

    • profile image

      majda sarah 5 years ago

      I like Arthur and Gwen, Morgana and Merlin the most

    • profile image

      franny panny 5 years ago

      cool

    • profile image

      Negar 5 years ago

      Dear Arthur!

      I'm an Iranian girl and I like you and your character more than my life.

      Maybe you will never see this but I Wrote it for you from my heart and know this:me and many people in my country-Iran-like you.I wish see you a day!

      best wishes

      Negar

    • profile image

      NETHMA SUHANI 3 years ago

      THIS IS MY FAVORITE FILM. I LIKE ALL OF YOU. YOU ALL ACT VERY NICELY. FANTASTIC! MY CONGRAGULATIONS!

      FROM SRI LANKA

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