Merlin: The Complete Second Season

Actors: Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Anthony Head, Richard Wilson, Angel Coulby
Format: Color, DVD, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 5
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: BBC
DVD Release Date: January 18, 2011
Run Time: 571 minutes

Special Features

  • Cast and Crew introduction to Season Two
  • Cast and Crew audio commentaries
  • Behind the Scenes
  • The Making of Merlin
  • Photo Gallery
  • Wallpapers




Arthurian legend meets Smallville in this revisionist take on the well-known myth of Camelot . . .

History buffs will have a fit. Camelot is curiously multi-ethnic in this British TV series and there are a lot of standard fantasy tropes such as dragons, trolls, wizards, etc. running about. Plus, the young cast has impossibly good looks, not just by medieval standards, but by 21st century standards as well. And everybody is so clean . . . (Incidentally, it is a myth that people in the middle ages all had bad teeth, but the actors in Merlin have good teeth even by today’s sophisticated dentistry standards – the show often feels like a toothpaste ad!)

Fans however won’t care. The show remains compelling viewing for fantasy fans despite some uninspired plotting and writing. The budget for special effects have however been boosted and the myriad of CGI and old-style makeup creatures are impressive for a show of this nature.

The story focus on the young magician Merlin, now working as a servant for Prince Arthur who is yet to become king. (Uther, Arthur’s dad played by Anthony Head - Giles from Buffy – is king of Camelot). Merlin helps maintain the status quo even though Uther is a lousy king and a clear example of why republicanism is preferable to the “lucky sperm” randomness of monarchism. If you elect the idiots who rule you, it implies that you can get right of them again, which isn’t the case with anyone who rules by “divine right.”

Along the way Merlin is helped by a captive dragon voiced by John Hurt (Alien), who incidentally gets top billing even though his character doesn’t even appear in some episodes. Like Clark Kent in Smallville Merlin can never reveal that he has magical powers since Uther has outlawed all magic in his kingdom, punishable by death. Much of the episodes carry the general series mythos outline forward by focusing on the blooming romance between Arthur and Guinevere, who happens to be black and a maidservant in this version of the tale (we said it wasn’t very historically accurate).

WORTH IT? There are better shows out there right now. We’d rather catch an episode of Fringe or Doctor Who any time of the day instead, but Merlin’s potent mix of fantasy and teenage soap opera drama makes it all compulsively watchable as long as you banish any memories of Monty Python and the Holy Grail while watching it.

RECOMMENDATION: Fans won’t be disappointed and curious newbies should start with the first season box set (natch).

NOTE: There is so much talk of “fulfilling your destiny” in Merlin that anyone who believes in free will instead of predestination would want to tear their hear out and rue the day that the Star Wars movies began this trend of “destiny” talk in popular genre entertainment . . .



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