So, a good friend of mine suggested this BBC show, a fantasy series showcasing the early days of Merlin the Magician as he found his way and grew up alongside a young King Arthur.
It also apparently has a talking dragon voiced by John Hurt. Hey, it worked for Sean Connery! I think…
Our series begins with Merlin, described by Hurt-the-narrator as a young warlock, coming to Camelot for the first time. And we all know what Camelot looks like.
OK, it doesn’t look like that. But just as Merlin arrives in Camelot, he comes across an execution. King Uther is celebrating 20 years of no magic by executing a guy who performed magic. Yes, magic is a capital crime in Camelot. That could cause problems for Merlin.
It could also cause problems for Uther when a woman wearing blatant old age make-up shows up and curses the king before vanishing in a puff of smoke. Yeah, the executed guy was her son, and she promised a son for a son.
As it is, Merlin is here on an apprenticeship to Gaius, the court physician. He saves the old man from a fall with some sudden magic, moving the doctor’s bed to catch him, and Gaius realizes that his new helper could get himself killed if he isn’t careful. So, Merlin has to keep his golden glowing eyes hidden if he wants to stay alive.
He could also get killed by standing up to bullies. Like, this armored goon who turns out to be…Arthur. Well, some time in the stocks being pelted by vegetables can fix that.
Oh, but that witch isn’t done yet. She finds a singer on the road to Camelot and steals her youth to take her place. Sure, her reflection still shows a woman in bad old age make-up, but that’s a problem for someone else. Now she can infiltrate Camelot and take down the king’s son.
Merlin has other issues back in Camelot. The last dragon (Hurt) tells him he is destined to help Arthur become a great king, something Merlin sees as unlikely and something he doesn’t want to do. He’s attracted to the king’s ward Morgana…wait, it’s Irish actress Katie McGrath! She does a so-so American accent as Lena Luthor over on Supergirl these days. Merlin has good taste.
Her maid, Guinevere (Gwen for short) is another story. There’s some on-the-nose dialogue about who’s going to marry Arthur later.
But when push comes to shove, evil witch woman sings her song, one that enchants the whole court, growing cobwebs everywhere, and only Merlin is free after keeping his hands over his ears. He brings a chandelier down on her, and then pushes Arthur out of the way when she tosses a very accurate knife at the heir apparent with her dying breath.
Merlin is rewarded, something to make that cartoon dragon proud! He’s…Arthur’s new manservant.
Wow. That sucks.
I think I am going to like this.