Merlin Seasons 1 and 2
I just want to say that there are times I contemplate moving to the UK. There must be a lot more science fiction and fantasy fans there than where I am from, as the BBC brings us such great shows as Primeval, Doctor Who, and today’s retired TV show spotlight: Merlin. I can’t remember how I stumbled on Merlin, but I am very grateful I did and today I will be discussing seasons 1 and 2 of this now retired TV show.
I’ve never actually watched Smallville, but the concept behind this show is similar: it centers around a young Merlin, well before this wizard has come in to all the fame we know awaits him. The show starts out with a gawky teenage boy full of limbs arriving in Camelot to train under the court physician Gaius. It becomes apparent early on that this young Merlin has the ability to perform magic, sometimes just looking at things to make them move. But this does not bode well for him as magic is outlawed in the Kingdom of Camelot.
On our first episode we start meeting several important characters. The most famous name aside from Merlin is Arthur, a young man who is quite frankly a twat. One of my favorite actors, Anthony Stewart Head, plays Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon. We meet Guinevere, who is actually a servant to Lady Morgana, who is Pendragon’s ward. And then we meet the infamous John Hurt playing none other than the dragon. Supposedly one of, if not the last surviving dragon, being kept prisoner below the city by Uther (hence his name “Pendragon”).
The majority of season 1 involves Merlin saving the skins of all the other characters again and again, all while hiding his use of magic otherwise he would risk being put to death by Uther. And the dragon continues to speak to Merlin but no one else, giving him advice and telling him it is his destiny to help Arthur in his ascension to the throne, even though he is a prat.
The majority of the episodes in the first two seasons can be stand alone, but there are definitely some overarching themes that I enjoy. Merlin’s character is charming, thoughtful, and perpetually the brunt of everyone’s jokes. The dragon is not as great as those of Daenerys’, but he is strong and powerful. And as much as Arthur started out as an obnoxious, spoiled bully, Merlin seems to have some effect on him, and he gradually becomes a more respectable character. Uther however is atrocious, but sometimes it is nice to have a villain such as him that you can hate every step of the way.
My favorite episode of the first two seasons was the last episode of season two, when things really started to elude to the powers that will come to be in the future. In that episode Merlin meets his father, who is the current dragonlord of the world. When he dies Merlin inherits his role, which means that he is the only one who can command dragons. Sadly there is only one dragon, his prior enslaved friend that he released at the end of season 1. Seeing Merlin finally really embrace his powers as one of the strongest wizards of all time as well as a ruler of the dragon definitely makes us realize that things are just going to get better form here.
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