I’m rather embarrassed to admit it and I thought I’d never have to talk about it, but seeing as I didn’t catch much TV this weekend and this blog is supposed to about television, I’m going to have to own up to it. I watch Merlin, as in the BBC 1 production that comes on at 20:15 on Saturday night. I even go to the hassle of watching it on IPlayer after The X-Factor has finished. BOOM, two admissions at once, this is like therapy.
Ok, so as a fully grown man I know I shouldn’t really be watching a children’s drama, but I’ve always been a fan of sci-fi and fantasy-based TV shows and to be honest there is something quite compelling about Merlin. The special effects are a little dodgy – I can’t forget the strange mole creature from the first episode of season 4 – and the acting can be a trifle hammy, but it all adds to the BBC charm.
I’m not alone, I hadn’t noticed, but my comrade Jamie posted about Merlin a few weeks back, so here’s what’s been happening since then, in as few words as possible.
Episodes 1 though to 8:
Morgana breaks a barrier between worlds letting the evil dead roam the land on a killing spree, Lancelot has to sacrifice himself to save the kingdom – but not before Arthur and Merlin and most of the rest of the cast have tried to martyr themselves first.
Uther is mortally wounded whilst defending his son Arthur, Merlin tries to heal him with magic, but evil Morgana foils his attempts, leaving Arthur convinced that magic is to blame for his father’s death. Intrigue!
Merlin finds a dragon’s egg – perhaps this will be relevant later. Or in a different show.
Arthur chops off a neighbouring king’s head on the advice of Agravaine, not surprisingly the dead kings wife wants revenge, but Arthur proves he is a good statesman and evades a pitched battle by putting himself forward for a duel.
In a rather silly episode Morgana hypnotises Merlin to try and kill Arthur, Merlin overcomes. In his alter ego disguise of Emyrs, Merlin has a magical battle with Morgana, leaving her perilously injured.
In revenge Morgana seeks to uncover the identity and whereabouts of Emyrs. She enlists the help of a strange bald headed sorcerer, bizarrely played by Strathclyde’s own Gary Lewis – times must be hard for him. Giaus is tortured, Merlin’s name is uttered, but Gary Lewis’s character decides to protect Merlin’s identity.
Some weird little girl nearly eats all the blokes’ souls, Merlin and Arthur save the day. Scene.
Despite my somewhat brief and sarky synopsis, I’m really enjoying this series of Merlin. Its slightly later time slot allows for a bit more of the sinister to creep through and Merlin looks like it could become a BBC classic. If you haven’t already seen it, get yourself on iPlayer and check it out.
The next episode will be shown this Saturday November 26th, 20:15 BBC 1.
What do you think of series 4 of Merlin? Let us know in the comments.