By the time you reach the second half of Merlin
’s maiden season, which is collected together on this DVD set, then some things are already clear. Firstly, this isn’t a particularly faithful take on the legend, and nor is it worried about taking a few liberties. Secondly, it’s very much targeted at a fast Saturday night crowd, which means a few uncomfortable plot shortcuts, and the shoehorning in of some middling special effects. And thirdly, warts and all, there’s a good deal of entertainment here, particularly if you’re willing to close your eyes to the assorted faults.
This collection brings together episodes seven to thirteen of Merlin, and inevitably, it’s when the narrative strands start to tie together. Arthur’s falling for a strange and mysterious girl is how things start this time round, but as the series progresses, there’s the small matter of a curse on Camelot, Arthur’s very life hanging by a proverbial thread and a strange Black Knight appearing. That’s just a flavour of what’s in store.
The episodes themselves are zippy, slickly made and generally well acted, and for entertainment in its given timeslot, Merlin acquits itself perfectly well. Audiences agree, too: the show’s ratings were such that series two is already on the way. Catching up on series one, meanwhile, proves to be far from a chore. --Jon Foster
Contains the following episodes:
Episode 7 - When Arthur becomes besotted with a mysterious girl he could lose more than just his heart.
Episode 8 - A young druid boy, on the run in Camelot, is condemned to death by Uther, but Merlin, Arthur and Morgana feel compelled to help him.
Episode 9 - A mysterious Black Knight crashes his horse in through a window to challenge the knights of Camelot to single combat.
Episode 10 - Merlin’s village is under attack from a ruthless group of bandits but can Merlin, Arthur, Morgana and Gwen save them?
Episode 11 - When Arthur kills a unicorn – a prize beast – his knights celebrate, but the prince has inadvertently brought a curse upon Camelot.
Episode 12 - When Gwen’s father is arrested by Uther for helping a sorcerer, Morgana reveals a surprising side of her character.
Episode 13 - As Arthur’s life hangs in the balance, Merlin is the only one who can save him – but at what price?