Recommended For: Ages 12 and up
We heard that this show was good and then first watched it when I didn't want to watch Lab Rats. Even though I didn't love the magic in it, I still loved this show.
The acting was all very good and believable, made even more so because of the way that the characters change and grow throughout the show. By the end, most of the characters have changed a lot. I rated it 3/5 because not all of the special effects were done well. There are a couple of times where something is obviously fake and the I've seen dragons look more real than the dragon in this. By the end of the show the special effects and the screen quality have improved.
It is set in Camelot, of course, since it is an Arthur re-telling. Camelot doesn't seem to have a large population and is just a castle with a small town. There are a couple of towns and villages, which just seemed like how any medieval town or village is portrayed. They also spend a lot of time in the woods, but there is nothing special about them, except in one episode. They also visit ruins and go through caves on their many adventures.
Each episode has its own plot and toward the end of show, they tie into each other more. There is usually one bad guy who tries to destroy them a couple episodes throughout the season. They then battle them in the finale in one way or another. It is a little predictable because the reason they're having trouble is always magic and Merlin must stop it while keeping that he has magic a secret. Merlin has to keep having magic a secret because it is banned. People, mad at magic being outlawed, are always causing trouble with magic because they hate the king for banning it and killing people having anything to do with it. Two of the funniest and most disgusting episodes are "Beauty and the Beast" pt. 1 and 2. In it the king, Uther, marries a troll. While it was hilarious, it was extremely disgusting. This is the cleanest BBC show that I have seen with only a couple suggestive scenes. Guinevere and Lancelot was handled very well. The cause was magic, to keep Arthur and Gwen from getting married. Nothing bad happened, they were just found kissing.
There are too many to go through each one, but they were all well done and unique. The protagonists were likeable and it was easy to dislike the antagonists, especially the one I had already seen play a villain. From the villains, I always disliked Uther from the moment I saw him, Morgana made me sad because of the way she changed, Agravaine was always very aggravating, and Mordred was disturbing and you're made to distrust him. There is the mentor character, Gaius, who Merlin almost never listens to, who says things that put Merlin into awkward situations. The funniest one is in the last season. There is also the great Dragon who Merlin listens to even less. The Dragon is selfish and I don't like him very much. Guinevere is one of my favorite characters and is a servant in this. She is someone who is not afraid to tell Arthur that his faults. Arthur is also a favorite, which is funny because I hated him at first. He grows a lot in the story, from a prince to a king, though he never did all the wonderful things they said he was going to do. He also makes very funny faces and is part of a very sad finale. Then there is Merlin, the one that the show is all about. He struggles with hiding his magic and at first struggles from fighting Arthur. He is first told that he can't insult the prince but somehow always gets away with it. He becomes very experienced with sneaking around the castle and gets into and causes trouble and then saves the day. When he and Arthur are together it is usually funny. There are also the knights of the round table, like Gawain, Percival, and Leon.
This show is not perfect, but I still love it and was upset at the end, even though I knew what was going to happen. I had liked the King Arthur legends that I knew, and I think that it is a good retelling. If you like fantasy or other BBC shows then I would recommend this show to you.