Bromances: BBC’s ‘Merlin’

Alyssa doesn’t have much love for the prospect of a modern-day Merlin.

And I agree, though for a different reason: we already have a great adaptation of the Arthurian legend in the BBC’s brilliant Merlin, currently in its third series, starring the destined-to-be-a-star Colin Morgan.

 

 

The key to the BBC’s version is that it reconceptualizes the relationship between Merlin and Arthur Pendragon as, essentially, a bromance. Guinevere, though a major character, is largely an afterthought.

Of course, it makes sense, given the legend, that Merlin would be devoted to Arthur. The reverse, less so. But the producers have found a really intriguing way of showing why Arthur could be so devoted to Merlin. And that central relationship dwarfs all others on the show, to the show’s benefit.

Interestingly, Merlin works for a lot of the reasons that the first four seasons of Smallville worked. The producers understand the basic story, the characters, the world, but are adept enough to arrange all the pieces in their own way, telling the same story but freshly.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the great Tony Head plays Uther Pendragon with just the right balance of menace, arrogance, and vulnerability.

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About tlewisisdope

I write. I live in DC.
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