Merlin: The Complete Third Season (2010)

Actors: Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Anthony Head, Katie McGrath, Richard Wilson
Directors: Jeremy Webb, Dave Moore, Alice Troughton
Writers: Julian Jones, Howard Overman, Jake Michie, Lucy Watkins
Producers: Johnny Capps, Julian Murphy
Format: Box set, Color, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Subtitles: English
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 5
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Warner/BBC
DVD Release Date: January 17, 2012




U.S.-based fans of this BBC show will be happy to know that the third season has finally made its way to DVD in the States . . .

Merlin is of course the Smallville version of the old Arthurian legends.

Merlin (Colin Morgan) is a young wizard who has to keep his magical powers secret since magic has been banished – at pain of death – in a medieval Camelot still ruled by Uther Pendragon (Buffy’s Anthony Head) instead of the young king-to-be Arthur (Bradley James).

This latest season dips more into Arthurian legend than in previous episodes, but Merlin - with its multiracial photogenic youthful cast - is about as historically accurate as a Looney Tunes cartoon. (In fact, we’ve seen Looney Tunes cartoons that are more factually correct though!)

Still, the show remains curiously watchable in a “there’s nothing else on” kinda way. It is however probably best that viewers spread the 13 episodes on these five discs out over a longish period of time instead of cramming them all in during marathon sessions.

The plot formula becomes staid then: Uther is painfully unaware of the danger posed by his own daughter; no-one believes anything Arthur says even though he has proven himself over countless episodes; why save Uther since he is a lousy king in any case?, and so forth. Also, while actress Katie McGrath may be soft on the eyes, her constant hamming – all the villainous side glances and dark looks – becomes tiresome. If she had a moustache she surely would have twirled it by now like those villains in the silent movies!

Admittedly the show’s staid status quo comes in for a shakeup in the season’s cliff-hanging finale, but the episodes can become dull and repetitive. Without giving too much away, the fourth season takes the show into new and darker directions, but don’t be expecting another Game of Thrones though . . .

WORTH IT? This fantasy show remains watchable, but don’t try cramming in too many episodes at a time on DVD. Spread them out.

RECOMMENDATION: Recommended for fans. Newbies would obviously want to check out earlier seasons instead as the show does follow a story arc of sorts.



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