Merlin Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 117 Ratings

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  • Summary: NBC imported from the UK this reimagining of the legendary wizard as a young man hired as a physician's assistant.
  • Genre(s): Drama, Action & Adventure, Fantasy
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 8
  2. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. Reviewed by: Adam Markovitz
    Cheesy? Sure. But there's enough sword-clanging Action--not to mention homoerotic tension--to keep viewers happily entertained for a spell.
  2. Reviewed by: Randee Dawn
    For those new to the legend, this is a fresh, and delightfully color-blind, approach to the tale.
  3. A lighthearted, quite charming medieval adventure series made by the BBC, is tailored to the age of Obama.
  4. 40
    The middling show plays too much like “The O.C.’’ with swords, crowns, and a cheesy CGI dragon (voiced by John Hurt).
  5. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    It's just that Merlin is clearly shopping for tricks in the bargain bin, and like the song says, the new Camelot's shining moments are all too brief, indeed.
  6. 40
    It takes the stuff of legend and imagination and makes it dry and commonplace. You look forward not to the next exciting chapter, but for the whole enterprise to go "poof" and disappear.
  7. Merlin looks, well, typically British with shoddy production values. Worse, it tells dull stories.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 51
  2. Negative: 5 out of 51
  1. Jan 16, 2011
    already got the first season on DVD. Really Enjoyed It & doing well in UK where it has been renewed for a forth season to be done in either 2011 or 2012 Expand
  2. May 3, 2011
    Rolling my eyes at the people who gave it no chance. The only problem with Merlin is that it breaks up the plot with random kind of cheesy episodes - this is alright once you know the characters pretty well, although you're still wanting plot a good bit of the time. When the plot is rolling, it's very intense. The finale of season three made me get tears in my eyes three times, something that's only happened with two other television shows ever. The first season was rough, the second season was mixed, but I really think the show is coming into its own. They used old english for a lot of the spells and stuff, the character interactions are humorous and cute when they're not intense, and if you are actually familiar with Arthurian legend in all its variations it really doesn't take much more license than what is necessary to actually make it a show. I've honestly been surprised with how much things have come together. And that's not even to really mention the fact that the graphics got a lot better with the changing of the seasons. Everyone I know personally who thinks this show is bad didn't give it a chance at all. I don't really understand wanting to dismiss something with so much potential so early on, especially as a lot of shows are finding their mark early on and Merlin didn't seem to know exactly what to do to appeal to viewers at first. This show is no more 'Dawson's Creek' than Battlestar or something. The fight scenes are great and the only thing that annoys me is Morgana's constant evil smirks. Expand
  3. Dec 29, 2011
    Have just finished watched series/season 4. It was fantastic. The show has become slightly more dark, which makes the show less 'cheesy' and really adds to the story. However, the comedic value of the show is still very much alive and it keeps me chuckling! The acting from the main characters is superb and the look of the show is excellent. Expand
  4. Mar 5, 2013
    Merlin is a really entertaining show, However, i would suggest that you don'y buy this on DVD as getting into the story is a waste of time, the ending is so bad you will just be really annoyed. Expand
  5. Jun 11, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Merlin provides us with an interesting prequel to the well known Arthurian legends through the perspective of Merlin. The show's overall angle here is one that is very unique and exciting, especially in the first two seasons. The best aspect of this show is its creative approach in building up the foundations of timeless characters we know so well from legend. We learn about how Arthur is formed into the man he is, widely in response to his father Uther's paranoid fears. We learn why Morgana ended up taking the darker path. We learn how Guinivere captured Arthur's heart, and how Merlin became much more to Arthur than a useful subject, but an indispensable friend. This, to me, makes the series a must watch for any fan of Arthurian legend.

    The first two seasons do an excellent job of presenting us with an interesting storyline, highlighting Arthur's growth as a man coming of age, and Uther's continued paranoia of magic. The conflicts in the story during these seasons are almost always nailbiting, and their conclusions are generally fascinating, but believable. Starting in the third season, however, the plot begins to stagnate a bit. The plot formula becomes very predictable, and aside from Morgana's treachery, there's very little real substance that adds to the series as a whole. The writers had an excellent opportunity here to create an interesting conflict by having Merlin's powers discovered, perhaps by Arthur or the kingdom as a whole, but did not do anything on this scale to make the season memorable.

    The other thing that irked me in the series was its modern political correctness. Why exactly do we have African-Camolotians? Though I can forgive a creative licence of having Gwen as a servant girl, having her as an African is something that just doesn't make sense to the story. She's far from the only one, too. The Kingdom of Camelot in Merlin is filled with many different races which may warm our modern PC hearts, but is not germane to Arthurian legend, and would have been best avoided.

    Overall, this show is definitely worth a watch. It certainly has its share of problems and quirks, but overall it provides an entertaining prequel to the legends we all know and love.
  6. Mar 30, 2014
    Merlin is a medieval adventure with swordfights, magic and bromance. It's fun and entertaining and easy to understand.

    It's for you if: you
    like bromance and fun. You don't have to take things too seriously.

    It might not be for you if: you're looking for a serious drama. This is not a show like 'The Tudors' or 'Borgia', it's a fun adventure show.
  7. Feb 6, 2014
    Merlin was not shown on our network so I was just able to complete it
    I must disagree with all "knowing" critics the BBC gave us a wonderful
    look into
    Another world and time then DESTROYED it with the ending
    The view of the melodramatic of kill them in the end was not what you had anticipated
    Throughout the adventure - The sword was forged by a Dragon and Arthur could have been
    Spared at the end of the Dragons life (there were plenty of liberties taken in this) and a
    More positive one should have happened.
    Sorry BBC but you ruined it !!

See all 51 User Reviews