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wRog
Merlin thoughts 
23rd-Nov-2010 03:15 am
howitzer
Ok, I'm just going to give up on the idea that this is anything other than the Skiffy Channel doing random vaguely-medieval-themed fantasy and using the various Arthurian place/people-names entirely by coincidence.

I get that plate armor and Neuschwanstein-style castles are pretty much unavoidable in this genre, and it's not like anachronisms weren't already the order of the day even in the oldest recognizable versions of the Arthur story (Geoffrey of Monmouth being the fastidious historian that he was...). Nor am I going to complain about the use of magic and stupidly improbable creatures roaming the forests, because if you're going to have magic then Just Do It.

But, umm... the episode that introduces Lancelot and has him lying about being of noble birth in order to get into a tournament that's chock full of multicultural knights, that's just a huge WTFF moment. Likewise for the episode where Arthur & company are teaching the peasant villagers to fight off bandits by themselves, with special emphasis on teaching the women of the village how to use swords -- because medieval knights would totally do that. Haven't yet gotten to how Guinevere, the black maidservant, manages to get accepted as Arthur's queen, but I'm sure the writers will work something out.

All we need now is the continuous banner across the bottom of the screen: THIS HAS ABOUT AS MUCH TO DO WITH POST-ROMAN BRITAIN AS THE PLANET OF THE APES TV SERIES — and god, yes, I still remember that; shoot me now. Nor can I shake the feeling that they have a writer or two in common. Why else am I constantly expecting/hoping for Zaius and the gorilla squads to show up, round up all of the main characters, stuff them in cages and lead them off...?

In other news, we have Anthony Stewart Head playing Uther Pendragon.
And somehow I'm still watching this piece of crap; make of that what you will.

Still would it have been so horribly boring to have even tried to make it vaguely real?

Yes, that means you have to trade in the fancy castles for wrecked Roman villas or Celtic hill forts, (though the abandoned Roman cities could actually be cool if done right, cf. Peter Jackson's Osgiliath set from Lord of the Rings — well okay, Londinium was never quite that big, but you get the idea...). Toss the plate armor, the jousting, and the bullshit chivalry and just concentrate on the tale of a band of ex-legionnaire heroes valiantly fighting to preserve the last vestiges of Roman civilization and hold back the tide of invading Saxons ... and miraculously winning... for at least a little while anyway.

Mary Stewart had it nailed pretty well. Why couldn't somebody have adapted that for TV or film?

Bleah.
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