Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Merlin

Well, I watched the first two episodes of Merlin this weekend, and I was confused and disappointed. I had the apparently misguided idea that this series might possibly be about the Arthurian legend. In spite of the fact that it includes characters called Merlin, King Uther Pendragon, Prince Arthur, Morgana, and Guenevere, it has nothing to do with that legend, unless you take the "once and future king" to heart, and reincarnate all the characters 900 years into their future with lots of changes to their stations and relationships.

The original King Arthur was supposed to live during the early 6th century. The castle, armor and clothes are from the 15th century in this series. After the first 20 or 30 anachronisms I saw, I just stopped counting and realized that it's really set 900 years after the original legend was supposed to have happened. There were several people wearing knitted mitts! And that's one of the most minor of the inaccuracies! I could go on for a half an hour just listing the anachronisms. The mitts were probably accurate to possibly as early as 1200 (almost certainly to 1300), but not during Arthur's time! The problem with clothes from that era is that little survives, so we have no way of knowing with absolute certainty. And what does survive is special, usually ceremonial clothing. I base the mitts statement on the fact that simpler knitting must've happened before some of the more complicated knitting that we know existed later.

Merlin (an adult), took the baby Arthur to be fostered by different parents in the original story. In the series, Merlin is younger than Arthur, who, by the way, is a nasty, spoiled, arrogant bully, rather than the humble, hardworking, polite squire he was in the original legend. And the way this is set up, the sword in the stone can never happen.

Morgana has some real problems, too. She was his half sister, but in the series, is dying to marry him in order to become queen. Yes, I know that in the original, the two had a son, Mordred, but although there were several versions, in all of them the two were unaware of who the other was when the indiscretion happened, and were both embarrassed by having a son with a sibling.

And Guenevere is a servant in this series! No matter which way you slice it, this is not the original legend, and I know that legend has a lot of variations, but this is not it!

Oh, and there's a knight named Valiant! Maybe from the comic strip I used to read in the newspaper when I was a child???

Another character that didn't appear in the original is a dragon that Merlin has conversations with! There seems to be a lot in this series that's treated with such disrespect of the original legend that it tends to resemble a comic strip.

The credits mentioned that these stories were based on a book or series of books, but it all obviously has nothing to do with the original legend. Other than borrowing the names of the major characters. The name of the books and the author are not listed on IMdB, though, and it went by quickly enough that I missed it, and had to erase it because my DVR is too full.

NBC also did everything in it's power to ruin the start of the series by scheduling one thing and then broadcasting golf instead, and running over the time limit and into the time allotted for Merlin. The result of this is that if I hadn't noticed this and just let my DVR run, I would have missed the last 20 minutes or so of the second episode. Way to go, NBC! 

I'm not sure if I want to keep watching this. On the one hand, it may be a good story, even though it's not the story of Arthur and Merlin (despite the names). On the other hand, it's shaping up to have all the horror and fascination of a train wreck that you just can't stop watching even though you want to.

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Comcast has broadcast THREE "weekly" tests in less than three hours today! They broadcast two of them within the space of a half hour! I do understand that they are required to do this weekly, but cable companies that actually want to keep customers usually try to do this sometime between the hours of 2 and 4 am once a week, not on a several-times-daily basis during daytime TV and prime time!

This is just one more example of how much Comcast doesn't care at all about it's customers! I hate them! I've already tried to find another service, but the building I live in doesn't allow it.

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The Philanthropist debuts tonight on NBC. I know it isn't science fiction, but it may be as much wish fulfillment as Leverage witch is on at the same time on TNT. Unless you have a DVR, you'll have some hard choices.

I have been knitting and knitting, but there's not a lot different than there was yesterday, so it's probably best not to mention it.

Have a great evening!

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