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Merlin: Season One (2008)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Merlin: Season One (2008) This is a highly entertaining series, which sets up all of the events of the legend of King Arthur. It also does a few unexpected things, which is always a good thing.

The first episode begins with a teenaged Merlin (Colin Morgan) leaving his small village and traveling to the castle at Camelot, as he has an apprenticeship set up with the King's physician, Galen. However, Merlin soon finds out that all magic is banished in Camelot, as per the law passed by King Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head of BUFFY). Galen, however, finds out about Merlin's abilities and is amazed that they come naturally to his apprentice. Merlin doesn't need spells to make his magic happen. Galen also keeps Merlin's secret safe, for if the King finds out he'd be put to death.

When Merlin saves the life of Prince Arthur, he's promoted to be his servant, which is actually much more work for him, as he and Arthur don't get along so well at first. We also see that Guinevere, Arthur's future wife, is now the maid-servant of Morgana, who is King Uther's legan ward. She's of African descent. There are also appearances by Lancelot, who tries out for one of Camelot's knights, as well as the magical sword, Excalibur.

Merlin gets the majority of his advice from a dragon (voice of John Hurt) imprisoned beneath the King's castle, who insists that Merlin must protect Arthur at all costs and that there is a grand destiny for both of them.

Many of the episodes foreshadow events that happen in the legend, though this in no way bogs down the series. There are plenty of magical creatures, such as griffins, unicorns and faeries as well as new villains, such as the witch Nimueh (BIONIC WOMAN'S Michelle Ryan).

What's cool is that NBC is going to start broadcasting this series at the end of June (2009) so you won't have to hunt down the BBC dvd set.

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