The pilot for this new Starz series is as different from MERLIN as you can get. The premise is that King Uther is killed by his daughter, Morgan (Eva Green of THE GOLDEN COMPASS), because she wants the throne. She disguises herself by transforming her appearance into a serving girl and putting poison in his drink. But he has a son, Arthur, that Merlin finds. He had been given up as a baby and raised by peasants. Merlin brings him Camelot, which is actually the ruin of an old Roman built fortress and tells him that he must stand up to Morgan and her ally, King Lot (James Purefoy of ROME), though he's basically scared shitless.
I found this pilot a disappointment for a few reasons. First, Jamie Campbell Bower is a weak Arthur, far too effeminate. Evan Green is a brute compared to golden boy here. And Joseph Fiennes is miscast as the shaven headed Merlin. It just doesn't work. The worst thing of all is that the kingdom is this run down place and everything is so dire and gloomy. At least with period shows like ROME there was some entertainment and you rooted for the characters. Here I was fine just shutting off the television.