I started watching Merlin over a year ago because a friend was obsessed with it.
The actors were her desktop. She knew about their personal lives. That sort of obsessed.
And, let’s face it, any Camelot type story has some basic appeal on the stock characters involved in the story.
Thus began a love-hate-relationship with the SyFy’s Merlin.
In the beginning I watched simply for the background noise and I enjoyed snarking it on Twitter. I developed some Merlin fandom friends who liked to poke at me for the tweets and we’d discuss the episodes, the mythology and where the show was going. I was far more interested in interacting with the fandom than I was the show.
Somewhere around the middle of the series, I actually got invested in the story of Merlin, his struggle to keep his magic a secret and still protect Arthur from anything and anyone who would deviate him from his destiny.
And then the latter seasons happened. It was all this or that plot by Morgana, the episodes became formulaic and more often than not, I rolled my eyes at what was going on. But there was so little left that I really had to finish it.
I know that there is a lot of established Arthurian legend to deal with, and the show was staying family friendly. I also know that the main antagonist through the Arthurian legends is Morgana, but the show reached that point where every episode was the same, just drop a new, contrived conflict in there. Maybe it would have been more interesting had they shown how, exactly, Morgana got the support of the people she did.
Essentially I finished the show because I’m stubborn, not because I wanted to know how Arthur and Morgana battled it out. I was long over their sibling rivalry. I liked Merlin to a point, but he always had his magic luck dragon to call in whenever he needed an answer or a solution. There was conflict, but I stopped caring about it at some point.
When the final episode rolled up, I was glad. There would finally be an end to this saga. I must admit, the way the series ended kind of won me back. I was expecting some sort of heroic end to the battle with Morgana, an embracing of magic and a happily ever after. The actual death of just about everyone restored some of my faith in the show. Not everything has a happy ending, and that Arthur died and a new age rolled on, one where his wife knew what magic has done for them, I had a little hope in what comes next. Not that there’s another show, but still, it’s neat.
And I’ll say, that final shot of Merlin in present day walking past the tower tickled me! Yes, let’s have a present day Arthur show now, please? Pretty please?