In an interesting turn of events, Starz has decided to produce an Arthur show of its own: Camelot. It stars Joseph Fiennes as a bare-headed Merlin, and Eva Green as Morgan. (It also has Claire Forlani in it but let's pretend it doesn't.)
In the following "Behind the Making Of" clip, I draw the conclusion that it's the less funny, more dirty version of Merlin. Merlin for cable television, I guess. Although technically Merlin airs on cable tv in the U.S. (SyFy,) it doesn't really have a whole lot that would tip the scales to an "R" rating. I mean other than beetles that eat your brains and people exploding and unicorn murder and decapitations and stuff. Other than that, Merlin is a pretty tame show. There's not even any incest.
Camelot, on the other hand, gives me the feeling it's trying to play off the success of The Tudors, a show I still can't manage to stay awake through. (I'm still stuck on the third episode.) On the plus side, there's an actual sword in a stone and there is also plenty of pretty things to look at. On the down side,
Claire Forlani no Bradley James.
Speaking of Bradley James, he had this to say about the possibility of a second Arthur moving in on his territory:
I’m quite looking forward to it actually. I’d quite like to see what they do with it because I think it sounds like it’s sort of something that is going to be very different from what we’ve done.
Clips to compare and contrast:
As a sidenote, I'd like to know what growing up in the Fiennes family was like. They all seem slightly insane to me.
Camelot appears to be following the traditional Arthur lore where Merlin is older than Arthur, and Morgan actually is Arthur's sister (no word whether they sleep together in the show, but one can assume.) Personally, I've grown fond of the idea that Arthur and Merlin were friends before Arthur ever became King, but -- as Laura has pointed out -- that just makes Merlin's story all the more sad, knowing he's destined to devote his entire life and then die in the service of his friend.
The ten episode season of Camelot begins on April Fool's Day on Starz, at 10pm.
A reminder: Season three of Merlin returns to SyFy this Friday, starting at 10pm. And a good thing, too, as I just watched the first season on Netflix and am now completely in love with the show. It has a sense of humor and self-awareness that Smallville has always sadly missed. It also has a spectacularly dickish Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head, pictured above,) that gives Lionel Luther a run for his money.
SyFy is going to air all of season two as a marathon on Friday the 7th, leading up to the premiere of season three. The first episode of season two guest stars Mackenzie Crook from The Office, whom I love more and more every time I see him. (And I'd like to get on record somewhere that I've always thought he'd make a good Pestilence in a movie adaptation of Good Omens.) You should check it out (as I'm going to,) because, according to Laura, also unlike Smallville, the characters grow up a little bit in season two.
When asked what it was about their characters that they found most annoying, Colin Morgan (Merlin) and Bradley James (Arthur) had this to say:
Bradley James: Oh Arthur gets knocked unconscious quite a lot.
Colin Morgan: And Merlin tries to bring him back from unconsciousness quite a lot.
Bradley James: But never managing. Why...
Colin Morgan: I could never manage.
Bradley James: Yeah. Learn the spell already how to do that. Yeah.
Colin Morgan: Yeah.
Bradley James: The unconscious part is played quite a lot.
I never noticed it before, but yes. It is. But Merlin is also getting knocked out a lot. Merlin so rarely gets to sleep, he's always talking to a dragon or polishing armor or fighting off all manner of mystical creature. It's no wonder he has to be hit in the head in order to get some rest.
Season three has guest star Warwick Davis. (Okay, he's not playing Willow, he's playing a bridge troll, but I can still dream.) Colin Morgan says that out of all the Harry Potter actors in the upcoming season (of which... there's two), Warwick was his favorite. Suck on that, Miriam Margolyes.