The thing about Merlin, is that it's not a flawless show. There are times when I think it could have pushed the boat out a bit more in terms of storyline and characterisation. But the thing is... I love this show. In fact, I'm verging on teen-obsessed on it, and I am not a teen anymore.
So why do I love it? For the one thing, I find the actors captivating. Merlin definitely wins the charm award, and comes across as a mixture of Frodo (the good parts), Harry Potter (the initial innocence part) and Clark Kent from Smallville (the hero part). He's not arrogant, or self-righteous. In fact, he plays his role as a young Merlin, wonderfully. I couldn't have asked for better. Arthur is the opposite to Merlin. He's arrogant and brattish, but I can't help but *love* that about him. His child-like manner (and humour) makes him extremely likeable. Too likeable. They've taken a gamble with Gwen in terms of status (here, she is a servant), and I know some people will raise eyebrows over her race (but I hope people are sophisticated enough not to care. The actress does a brilliant job, and that's all that matters) but the gamble pays off, and Gwen comes across as an extremeably likeable heroine.
Other characters such as Morgana, Gaius and Uther comes cross well, although there isn't nearly enough screentime with them. It is a bit strange seeing Anthony Head as a mean king, and not a stuffy librarian, and he does come across well, although sometimes I wish he were more dynamic in that role (maybe the fault of the script rather than him).
There's usually a baddie-of the week plot line (featuring some familiar faces. Dr Bashir from Deep Space Nine, anybody?). And for now, that works well. What I like most, is the interaction between Arthur and Merlin. At first, they do not like each other, but a friendship starts to grow. And I can never resist a story that focuses a lot about friendship (because aside from things like love and money, it's one of the things that keeps us going). The special effects aren't terrific. But the budget isn't exactly high, so that is expected.
I love the humour of the show, and the very British feel of it. It's very homely, and makes well for weekend viewing with the family, and it's something I would recommend. Obviously, purists are going to have a problem with this show. So those of you who are a stickler for facts and accuracy: stay clear. Others: good on you for your laid-back approach!
Packaging- The dvd comes in the box as shown above (the brown book-like case). It is made of cardboard and I fear it will break sooner rather than later. Aesthetically, it is pleasing, and it opens up like a book with facts inside the cover. I just wish it were more sturdy. It encases the two dvd parts, so for those who bought the two parts separately, I don't think you're missing out on much.
Features- Behind the Magic parts 1 and 2, The Black Knight Featurette, Cast Video Diaries, Commentaries, Wallpapper and photo galleries.
Subtitles- I'm sorry people, but this only seems to have English subtitles.
Overall- this is a round-about good show. Room for improvement, but definitely a delight.