Merlin Debuts This Saturday (in the UK)

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This Saturday, BBC One viewers will get to see the premier of “Merlin”, a new fantasy series featuring “Buffy” alum Anthony Head as Uther, and a veritable “Scooby Gang” of young actors playing the roles of Merlin, Arthur, Morgana, and Guinevere.

“Merlin, which begins on Saturday September 20, is a new take on the tales of King Arthur. Rather than re-visiting the legend of the knights and the round table, this version goes further back to examine those characters’ formative years. The new series is set in the court of King Uther Pendragon … Something of a tyrant, King Uther has outlawed magic in the kingdom of Camelot, and anyone caught using such tricks will be sentenced to death.”

While developing the show, the BBC said they wanted a family production that appealed to “three generation TV”.

“Three generation TV – that’s TV you can watch with your grandparents and children. There’s not enough of that about,” Mr Fincham said. “I believe we’ve only scratched the surface on modern family viewing. It has a very important role on a mainstream channel like BBC1.”

The show seems to take a decidedly fantasy-style approach toward the Arthurian mythos, complete with imprisoned dragons, magical explosions, and knights in shiny armor. It remains to be seen if there will be any religious themes concerning Merlin, Gaius, and Morgana. Will the “wicked sorceress Nimueh” (played by “Bionic Woman” star Michelle Ryan) be fae? A pagan survival? Something else? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

As for us in America, Australia, and Canada, we won’t have to wait until it’s shown on BBC America or comes out on DVD. Broadcast rights have been sold to CTV in Canada, Network Ten in Australia, and NBC in America, where it is supposed to premier this Winter. A nice little Yule present for fans of fantasy-oriented programs.