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on 9 January 2011
Series 3 of Merlin is as brilliant as the first two series. I loved it.
However, I was really looking forward to listening to the commentaries and watching the DVD extras and I was so very disappointed. The commentaries on the DVDs for the episodes in Series 1 and 2 were brilliant, informative and very funny, especially when Double Trouble (Bradley and Colin) were doing them. On this Series 3 DVD there were only commentaries for two out of the six episodes. The one featuring Angel Coulby and Richard Wilson was okay, if a little boring, but then Richard isn't really used to doing this DVD thing. The one featuring Bradley and Katie was really bad, mostly consisting of long periods of silence. They did say that they had been dragged out of bed to record the commentary in the early hours of the morning during the last week of filming, when I imagine they were both very tired, but under the circumstances it would probably have been better not to include it on the DVD at all. Also, I really missed the input from directors and producers which was evident on the commentaries on the first two series.
On the extras DVD there is no Secrets and Magic: A Look Behind the Scenes, no interviews with cast or crew, no Cast Video Diaries, all of which were on the DVDs for Series 1 and 2 and were brilliantly entertaining. These are the extra little things that make it worth buying the DVDs. All you'll find on the Series 3 DVD is some deleted scenes and some outtakes which you've probably already seen as they are the same ones that are on the official BBC Merlin website.
If you're thinking of buying the Series 3 DVDs just to watch the episodes again, then it's worth it. If you're thinking of buying it expecting to get the same quality of special features as on the first two series then I think you will be very disappointed. It may be that there will be more extras on Volume 2 or the complete boxed set, one can only hope, but I fear it's probably in vain and I suspect that BBC cutbacks are to blame.