User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 112 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 7 out of 112

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  1. Jan 3, 2013
    8
    Merlin has great cinematography, great costumes and decent special effects and CGI. The acting in this show, especially from the main characters is superb. Colin Morgan's acting in particular is outstanding. The banter between Arthur (Bradley James) and Merlin is well-done and humorous throughout the series. What this show lacks is decent story writing and the directing is a bit weak at times. What I mean is that plot holes occur often and some of the scenes are a bit unintentionally silly. A plot hole, for example, in the 5th season. there is a multi-episode story arc where Arthur's wife (I won't name her to prevent spoilers) is under magic control and trying to kill him. Merlin is well aware of this but in one of the episode he leaves Arthur the king he is sworn to protect alone with her for an entire day for no good reason and doesn't even assign anyone to watch over him or anything. An example of weak directing is that while Mrelin has to hide his magic abilities from the knights when he is out on a quest with them, he often goes into the bushes about 30 feet away and yells magic chants at the top of his lungs to summon a dragon, I'm pretty sure the Knights and Arthur would hear that if the show was realistic. But other than stuff like that it is a good show. This show deviates very much from the legend/myth of Arthur, Merlin and the knights of the round table. So if you want to watch an accurate portrayal of the legend, this is not the show to watch and you might be disappointed. Overall, this show has excellent production quality and decent acting but the plot holes and poor directing can make it seem really unintentionally silly at times. I would give it a 6/10 to 7/10 for the stories and directing because it is a mildly-entertaining show. However, the cinematography, costumes and acting by the main characters is absolutely excellent so that boosts it up to 8/10. Expand
  2. Mar 5, 2013
    8
    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.
  3. Oct 2, 2013
    8
    Merlin is a british tv show. It is a family-oriented retelling of the King Arthur legend. The main protaganist is Merlin a young warlock that must hide his identity from Arthur and his father Uther Pendragon. I was expecting this show to suck, but honestly its one of the best tv shows ive seen. It has many interesting plots and character development. The first season kicks off the show with a bang and it gets better and better. Expand
  4. Jan 16, 2011
    10
    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
  5. rah
    Nov 3, 2012
    10
    This show is cheesy, under budgeted, and averagely acted, but I'm loving every minute of it. It proves extremely entertaining and I know that it will only get better. I highly recommend this show.
  6. Dec 28, 2011
    10
    This show is pretty well done yet i feel it has a long way to go to be perfect. Yet I have to say this a fantastic twist on the tales of Camelot and I feel it has great potential
  7. Jan 10, 2013
    8
    Merlin is a great TV show with tons of color to put in the medieval world. Magic and monsters are a great mix and just to put it a little bit of graphic can add some spice but still a generally good TV show. It is about 85%.
  8. Ndi
    Aug 9, 2013
    10
    Who the hell writes these critic reviews and why are they still in the list? "The actors look British"? It's a British show. Arthur is a British legend.

    Anyway.

    In true style of the BBC, Merlin is a quality show, with a great story, great acting, and all its cash poured into story, setting and immersion, rather than bigger explosions and hi-poly dragons. Also in BBC style, Merlin is
    a new take on the legend, not a re-pouring of the story on a screen.

    Excellent writing, with non-predictable story, that keeps the viewer guessing, likable characters with a realistic growth, with Arthur slowly growing from a prat prince to King Arthur, Merlin from a young and naive wizard to a more confident and capable wizard, all characters are well played.

    This show is a great story played by good actors and well put to screen. If you want to be immersed in the legend of Arthur, this is a great show. If you want big explosions, look somewhere else.

    The only thing I found a bit lacking is the ending. It feels a bit rushed, honestly, all crammed in. The last 2 episodes should have been 3 or 4.

    Still, a great show, with a good progression, and a storytelling style that pushes the characters' plight not by emotional displays and close up shots, but by carrying the viewer through the events the character experienced, letting you pick your own side, and understand why they turn, or remain loyal, rather than let you face a closed decision by the writers.

    Few shows get the viewer so immersed in the story. It is hard to watch the series and not appreciate how hard is it for Merlin to remain hidden, and why he has to do so.
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  9. Feb 24, 2011
    8
    Undeniably formulatic plot-lines and the effects aren't up to scratch either, however the comedy, character development and action are all the season's most promising hooks.
  10. Mar 30, 2014
    8
    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.
  11. May 3, 2011
    10
    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
  12. Jun 11, 2011
    8
    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.
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  13. Nov 21, 2011
    5
    It's ok show but a bit redundant about things. They took a enjoyable tale and messed with it until it was turned around and just nothing like the tale. Some episodes are funny, others try to be funny but to no avail. Most of the time episode themes are repeated in a later episodes and keep being repeated, just slightly tweaked which makes it boring to continue watching after a while. You also can almost predict what is going to happen in most episodes which makes you want to hurry it along and they drag out the whole Merlin not telling Arthur hes a wizard thing way to long. They should have had that happen the beginning of the second season or end of the first. Expand
  14. Jan 15, 2012
    9
    i really like this show it tells children stories but in adults ways i love it so much but i hate Guinevere as their isn't any sexier girl in the hole uk ????? seriously???
  15. Jun 17, 2012
    10
    Merlin is actually one of the best shows out there. People of all ages will enjoy it. I will admit that the CGI in the beginning is really bad but it does get better. And there are some pretty cheesy moments, but really what television show doesn't have those?
  16. Sep 19, 2010
    10
    I love this show!! Ten times better than most of the garbage on tv now days. I am officially addicted to watching :) Can't wait for season 3! Can't wait for someone else besides Gaius to find out about Merlins magic :)
  17. Oct 4, 2010
    10
    This show has more spirit than I've seen in a long while - from magic and sorcery to sword wielding hunks, Merlin brings back why dragons and charm are such key factors to make a story intelligent and adorable. It entwines Arthurian legend with young love and an era of beautiful dresses and gorgeous princes. The chemistry between Arthur and Merlin is priceless and their relationship is crucial to making this show as wonderful as it is - I just hope that Arthur and Merlin really do have some sexual tension, and it's not just my imagination running wild on me ... I loveloveLOVE this show! Expand
  18. Sep 11, 2011
    9
    This is the best show in the whole world! I am really happy with it and i have seen all the episodes again and again. I definitely recommend it. The only thing that bothers me a little is Katie McGrath's acting, it could definitely be improved upon
  19. Dec 29, 2011
    10
    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.
  20. Feb 6, 2014
    1
    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 !!
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Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 8 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 8
  2. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. 40
    The middling show plays too much like “The O.C.’’ with swords, crowns, and a cheesy CGI dragon (voiced by John Hurt).
  2. Reviewed by: Randee Dawn
    80
    For those new to the legend, this is a fresh, and delightfully color-blind, approach to the tale.
  3. 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.