Sunday, 21 September 2008

Review - Merlin

As a long-time fantasy fan I’ve perhaps become a bit picky with what counts as good fantasy fiction. I have only a few rules:-

Dragons cannot talk except telepathically.
No boy heroes.
No evil kings.
No historical anachronisms.
Characters don’t need modern-day personalities to be compelling (see anything by Umberto Eco for proof).
Do not overuse the terms ‘destiny’, ‘fate’, or ‘magic’.
Respect any source material used.

The BBC’s new attempt to replace Doctor Who entitled Merlin broke all of those rules last night.

Obviously this is a show that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. It is Saturday evening television for ‘young adults’, plain and simple. It shouldn’t be watched by someone who will balk when the characters use spectacles or eat sandwiches. It’s not for someone who expected a loose adaptation of T. H. White’s The Once and the Future King. It is most definitely not meant to be compared with R. Scott Bakker or Robin Hobb’s fantasy fiction.

Merlin was plainly televisual fluff designed to entertain the masses, provide some semblance of underlying series-arc narrative, and amuse the kids for 45 minutes.

This show was not designed for me and that is about the only review I can give it.

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