I often spend evenings on the couch belonging to two of my very good friends. On this couch I will be reading comics, playing games, watching movies and… series. I dabble in the art of watching series. The only thing I’ve ever watched from end to end on my own was Buffy (I stand by my actions) and recently I’ve been guided through the newest installment of Star Trek: Enterprise.
Recently we’ve spent three days in a row going through the latest retelling of the legend of Arthur, his knights and all those well loved characters. It’s called Camelot and I like it. A lot.
While I’ve grown a bit jaded with Arthur myth retellings over the years (you watch it all unfold knowing it’s going to end the same bitter way it always does) Camelot offers enough of a break from conventions to make the story surprising while still keeping the original framework in place. There’s a new take on old vile Le Fay (who, incidently does not have that title, yet) and in fact many of the characters have been given a dramatic brush up. The Lady of the Lake has a whole new story that made me physically lounge at the TV going “NO!”. And even though all the characters remain unblemished and constantly well dressed (unless they are doing one of the many explicit scenes) there’s a grimey and dangerous feel to the world. People aren’t pretty (even though they might be beautiful), the world is a cruel and unforgiving place. It works.
My favorite part is Eva Green cast as Morgan (no, just Morgan, thank you). She works that character for all it’s worth and her eyes makes me feel cold and alone. I’ve seen Morgan as the hysterical sorceress, bitter wench, sad bastard and a lot more but Eva’s Morgan is using all her pain as a terrible kind of fuel. It’s terrifying and it’s great to watch. A vile, loathsome villain that you respect and pity at the same time. Each step she takes further into the darkness makes you shudder. What she is capable of. *shudder*
I’m also a big fan of the reworked Merlin (played by Joseph Fiennes whom I only know from Shakespeare In Love). A great take on that character who is brought into the story as a person you can relate to. No longer the estranged wizard playing out the same part he always does.
A lot of characters from the myth that you don’t hear much of normally is given spotlight and space to tell their story Even though it might not be THE story the core character concept is kept intact and as such it’s a great opportunity to examine these personages who are otherwise kept in the background. Igraine, Leontes and the very pleasing to the eye Kay (Peter Mooney) being just a few here.
It’s VERY easy to ignore the fact that Arthur himself is a whiney brat of epic proportions. Every time that boy does something right you first drop your jaw in disbelief… then cringe as everyone around him looks at him like he just invented the combustion engine. It’s also fairly easy to ignore the fact that while Morgan and her evil nun trains armies, practice dark sorcery and carry out complicated and risky plots the good guys are hunting, fucking around and having awkward conversations about things that matter FUCK ALL in the big picture.
So while you may be required to smile and shrug at times I’m looking forward to seeing this series unfold. Up until Mordred. I always quit at Mordred (something with whiney brats). But who knows, I’ve been known to quit at Morgan… and look at where we are now…