karen9: (Default)
I'm sad Doctor Who is over until Christmas and very sad that Amy and Rory have gone. I think that trio was the best of the modern Doctor Who and companion(s). 

I'm enjoying Downton Abbey, especially Maggie Smith. It's a shame that Branson seems to have feet of clay. There were some good lines, e.g. "There's always something of Johnny Foreigner about Catholics," "Diligence and hard work count for more than beauty in the real world' - "If only that were true." 

I watched the first episode of Merlin series 5. I was so disappointed in series 4 that I'm not expecting much. The episode was okay. I think maybe the writers and producers should have stuck to the formula of the first three series because I think they haven't managed to convincingly make the show maturer and "darker." They don't have the scripts, the resources or the actors. For example, we saw the Round Table, but they can't afford to have all the knights of legend, so it's Leon, Gawain, Percival and Elyan plus different extras every episode. There should also be a vacant seat for Lancelot. I think Game of Thrones has made me more critical of the four young leads. Katie McGrath is just a poor actor and I find Angel unconvincing. Bradley is good at comedy and I think he did well at the drama last series, but he's not Richard Madden by miles.

I've also been watching Suits. What strange and unreal lives! 

I've tried Copper, but none of the 'hosts' I can use to watch it work well. I'm also not into police shows right now, though it is different and interesting.
karen9: (Default)
I was disappointed with the Merlin finale. I thought the writing was lazy and the plot too similar to the last series finale, which was stronger. I was particularly disappointed that Arthur couldn't pull Excalibur from the rock without magical help from Merlin. The sword is supposed to have power of its own and be wielded only by Arthur. With such a powerful sword Arthur should have been able to defeat Helios easily. How did the dragon get all the knights and people together without scaring them all to death?  I disliked Isolde dying as a plot device to bring Arthur and Gwen together. The confrontation between Arthur and Morgana was too short. I'm so tired of Morgana!  Once again Merlin's magic consisted mostly of throwing people around, though it was good to see him using it fatally against Agravaine.

I suppose I hoped for too much from this series and maybe watching again will make me like it more. For me the best episode was His Father's Son because in it Arthur behaved like a king. One sees little of the king in Arthur in the rest of the episodes. Like so many people I find the Arthur and Gwen romance unconvincing. I think Lancelot should not have been disposed of so quickly. He would have made a stronger leader of the knights than Leon and a worthy champion of Camelot. I don't think Arthur would continue to treat Merlin so off-handed once Arthur has openly shown his affection for Merlin, although Arthur might step back again.

I finished watching Game of Thrones. It was awesome: a believable world, good scripts and an excellent cast. I think I should read the next novel before the next series so I don't get any unpleasant surprises with major character deaths. My favourite characters after Ned Stark are Arya and Rob Stark. I think Rob is convincing as a leader that the other nobles would proclaim as "King of the North." It was good to see Clive Mantle making an appearance.

I also watched Camelot. I didn't expect too much so I wasn't disappointed. It was entertaining.The world created was believable and lush. I like the detail down to Igraine's Celtic-style earrings.There are some interesting, different takes on the legend such as the beginnings of Camelot and the Arthur/Guinevere and Leontes story. Gawain, as with Gwaine in Merlin, is a different person to the noble Gawain, son of King Lot, of legend. I liked Kay. I'd like Jamie Campbell Bower more if he didn't gawp with his mouth open so much. His speeches are unconvincing. Merlin is irritating. The nun with Morgan is suitably creepy. Eva Green is a much better actress than Katie McGrath and has better material to work with, but I have massive Morgana/Morgan fatigue!

karen9: (Arthur horse)
I don't know how amusing this episode was meant to be, but I found a lot of it funny: old Merlin, Merlin's incompetent attempts at assassinating Arthur, Gwen and Gaius' efforts to thwart Merlin, and George. 

The knights had a few more lines, particularly Sir Leon, who's looking good. I can't believe that Arthur would suspect any of his knights, nor Gaius, which happens in the next episode by the looks of it. Arthur is made to look obtuse and stupid when he believes Agravaine so easily.

I'd have liked the magic confrontation between Emrys and Morgana to be more spectacular, like that between Merlin and Nimueh.

Colin Morgan is good as the stroppy Merlin. Colin and Bradley James display their talents for comedy. And of course there's Bradley's obligatory bare chest, taken a bit further this time.

Best surprise: Arthur hugged Merlin!
karen9: (Arthur horse)
 I enjoyed this episode a lot. Arthur had to make hard decisions with slimy Agravaine insinuating that Arthur wasn't as strong as his father. Arthur remaining in his tent while his knights and Merlin joke around a fire shows Arthur's feelings of isolation and his heavy sense of responsibility. It's sad that this makes him put Merlin at a distance, although Arthur admits at the end that he should have listened to Merlin. I couldn't guess what would happen in this episode beyond the spoilers so it was exciting. I liked Queen Annis, especially when she comes to an agreement with Arthur despite her personal feelings. She acts as a responsible ruler should act. I liked her taking the measure of Morgana and telling her she's like Uther.  

I was a bit disappointed with Morgana and Merlin's rather feeble magic. Also, where does Morgana get the idea that the throne of Camelot is rightfully hers? She's illegitimate. Even if that didn't matter in Camelot (as in Wales) she would have to be older than Arthur. Would an illegitimate woman have a right to a throne before a legitimate son? I doubt it.
karen9: (Arthur horse)
This is my favourite episode so far. It's exciting, has a bit of humour and is also emotional. The focus is on Merlin and Colin acts so well as usual.  I laughed at Merlin listening for woodworm. I love Kilgarrah's and Merlin's friendship. The newly-born dragon is adorable. He is the white dragon of legend. I liked the druids appearing and having a part to play.
 
I know this episode  is not part of the story progression but I think the dragons are important later.
karen9: (Arthur horse)
I watched Merlin episode two on "putlocker." It does stop and start a bit but otherwise the quality is good. I decided to sign up for downloading and better quality. It doesn't cost much.

I preferred this part to the first of the two-parter because I think it was better edited and not so choppy. I was a bit disappointed with the two opening episodes, but I suppose there was too much hype and too many spoilers for them to live up to expectations.

The major weak link to me is Morgana. Her motivations for what she does have never been clear or adequate. I find her unconvincing, partly because of the poor lines she's given and partly because of Katie MacGrath's inadequate acting. I think Angel Coulby does well with her part in episode two.

Gwaine has been made into a scared buffoon. This is not his character as portrayed in previous series.

Nothing is made of the Valley of the Fallen Kings even though it is obviously somewhere people won't go if they don't have to. The entrance is nowhere as awesome as that shown in The Crystal Cave.

Despite the negatives I enjoyed the episode.

On a frivolous note I think the make-up department has messed up Arthur's hair.
karen9: (Arthur horse)
I managed to watch Merlin series 4, episode 1 on-line. The quality isn't great, it stops and starts constantly and there's a banner advertisement at the foot. I went into this site: www.tv-links.eu/tv-shows/Merlin_459/season_4/episode_1 and chose the videozer option that gives you 72 minutes free viewing.

The episode was good. I enjoyed it, but I spoilt it for myself by watching so many clips and trailers. The banter between Arthur and Merlin is a bit forced and inappropriate in some places. The CGI creatures are not scary on a laptop screen. Overall though, it bodes well for the rest of the series.
  
karen9: (Arthur)

A good site for Merlin fans wanting news about the series and its cast is http://merlin-network.livejournal.com. There are frequent updates.

Merlin

May. 8th, 2011 01:00 pm
karen9: (Arthur)

I'm having fun looking at the many "spoiler" photos of Merlin 4 shooting at Pierrefonds Castle in France. Some really good ones, but not really spoilers. Knights on horseback, some practice fighting, Gwen in a lovely new dress, no longer a servant type garment, and lots of photos of Rupert Young/Sir Leon having a great time. There are also snippets of information about new characters.

Some fans went too far and kept trying to get through security. They found a script and photographed some pages. That's really going too far. Dishonourable behaviour. The pages are on the Internet but I won't read them.

One of the qualities of Merlin that I like is the relative innocence. No graphic violence and sex, which makes a refreshing change. (That is not to say I don't enjoy series with those elements.) I avoid fanfic and sites with slash pairings, which would spoil the series for me. An example of the innocence is Arthur wanting to marry Guinevere rather than making her his mistress, which would be realistic.

It's enjoyable to see photos while waiting for the series to come out, sometime between September and November. Then I'll have to wait a couple of months for the DVDs. But, with the year running away with itself as it is, that's not long.

karen9: (Default)

There are some good photos of the knights and Merlin taken during a recent photoshoot by a fan up at http://archaeologist-d.livejournal.com/
karen9: (GawainHorse)

The Eye of the Phoenix is my favourite episode of the Third series. It raises the question of religion. Uther has outlawed the "Old religion," but what has replaced it? Pure reason? Hardly likely in a mediaeval-type world with uneducated people in fear of sorcery. Arthur kneels in the throne room for a night for inspiration for his quest. Knights would have kneeled in front of an altar. Crowning and marriage ceremonies are performed by a secular figure, Geoffrey of Monmouth. He uses the term: "by the sacred powers vested in me."  What is sacred? Characters invoke God and Heaven. Uther says he doesn't believe in miracles, a Christian term. It feels to me as if Christianity is there as a shadow.

I wonder if this shying away from the question of religion is merely overly PC spineless ingratiation? As if Christianity may not be mentioned in case it offends anyone. While only a nominal Christian I don't think Christianity has a worse record than most other religions. Certainly, it's current attitude is moderate, tolerant and conciliatory. (Too tolerant and conciliatory for the times, I think.) Even in the past the basic beliefs and mores of Christianity weren't bad but twisted by particular churches and fanatics and discredited by corruption. I think a Celtic-type church would fit in well in Merlin's world and give a base for opposing sorcery. They need only use a priest and an altar, with a couple of plain churches.

I've recently read a good novel by Elizabeth Chadwick on the Cathars in France who were declared dangerous heretics by the Catholic Church, hunted down and killed. They interpreted the bible differently and believed in a humane way of worship and living. This in a time when the Catholic church was particulaly corrupt and vicious. What I particularly like about the Cathars is that they were vegans!


karen9: (GawainHorse)

At last! Merlin Three finally arrived last week. How’s this for progress? – airmail in the 21st century took a whole fortnight less (2 ½ months) than a 19th century ship from the UK to South Africa! 

 So I had a marathon Merlin-watching weekend. 

 First thoughts – I enjoyed it, there was lots of excitement, action, friendship and magic. But there were several episodes which I thought weak, e.g. Goblin’s Gold, The Changeling, Love in the Time of Dragons.  The first two are comic episodes, but they weren’t that amusing. These three episodes had the creatures, which I thought were poor, especially the pixie woman. 

 My favourite episode on the first viewing was the Eye of the Phoenix. This plays like a traditional Arthurian legend – the arbitrary quest, the Perilous Lands and the Fisher King were all familiar. 

 I like Gwaine (surely that should be Gawain?). He’s an honourable rogue and a welcome addition to the cast. I enjoyed every episode with him in. I’m also pleased that Sir Leon had a bigger part to play and that the series ends with the core group of knights together. 

 I thought they made Arthur’s character and his relationship with Merlin regress, e.g. when Arthur wipes Merlin’s face with a rag and empties a bucket of water over him, uses Merlin as a battering ram in arms practice, and mocks Merlin’s fighting style with his friends. 

 Arthur and Gwen’s relationship seemed to be up and down and all over the place. 

 I found myself getting irritated with Morgana and Morgause’s constant “evil” smirks and looks. More subtle acting is needed to show their evil. 

 All in all, there are many episodes which I will happily watch several times over.

(How annoying, I wanted to add a image, but  LJ can't find my Scrapbook!)

Merlin

Mar. 13th, 2011 06:50 pm
karen9: (Sharpe)


It's about six weeks since I ordered Merlin Series Three from e-Bay. The Customs sharks are probably holding it to ransom! I wish they'd just send the damn ransom note so I can pay it! Grrrr!

So, being currently obsessed with Merlin, I'm playing Series 2 & 3 episodes over and over again. One of my favourites is The Lady of the Lake. The scenes between Merlin and Freya are touching. I always cry when she dies. I feel sorry for her as the cat beast as well, the way she cries when she's mortally wounded and the way she looks at Merlin.

Also, there are the funny parts with Merlin stealing Arthur's food. And the bonus of a bare-chested Bradley. A few inexpert screen caps ---


 

 

 

Handsome shield in the corner.



What are those scratches from?
 


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