Wednesday, 15 June 2011

More King Arthur TV

Did anyone watch 'Camelot' on Saturday night? What did you think?

picture from here
I'm in love with old folk tales and fairy stories from all over the world; I think there's something really special about the way they have enchanted so many generations, and continue to do so. There's no denying that modern media has helped spread the magic to new audiences in an 'age of images' rather than words, but although they can do them justice...sometimes they just let you down. And sure, they're targeting different audiences, but with stories that have so much history and are so popular there's definitely high expectations that they ought to live up to.

And something really just bugged me about Camelot...

I'm not entirely sure whether I liked it. I suppose I was automatically comparing it with BBC's 'Merlin', which I dismissed pretty much straight away because in my view it was trying to fill the gap left by 'Robin Hood' (which I loved) and for me, at the time, it couldn't. So I thought 'hey, Camelot has to be better than that!'

The ads made me think it was going to be more gritty and realistic (kudos, they had people going at it in the hall with the King there) but then Jamie Whatshisface popped up as kind of went downhill from there for me. He seemed very preppy and pampered and it was a bit surreal next to Merlin and Morgan's intensity. And it felt weird trying to laugh about it because the show seemed to take itself too seriously.

Which got me thinking about Merlin again, and I wondered if I would dismiss it so easily now. I watched the first episode again and what eluded me a few years ago when it first came out suddenly clicked: its just a bit of lighthearted entertainment, no pretensions. It made me smile and laugh and feel enchanted (which is the point of these stories!) Yes, it had a 6:30pm time slot rather than 9:00pm like Camelot, so they are aimed at different age groups, but based on first episodes I found myself enjoying Merlin more...I just spent an hour and a half feeling a bit uncomfortable and confused on Saturday night, which...isn't really my idea of fun.

But these re-tellings and re-workings will never be able to please everybody, will they? 

Funnily enough the only modern Arthur TV programme that I really loved was the storyline that ran through the BBC series 'Bonekickers' which was about a group of archaeologists, one of which was obsessed with Excalibur. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend you seek it out!

And if anyone can recommend some good programmes/films based on folk/fairy tales - I'm a sucker for them, so let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, I'm sorry, but the tv show Merlin really grates on my nerves--possibly because I have friends who think they know everything about Arthurian legends because they watch it. It's just too cheesy for me. I did, however, love Robin Hood for the most part, so we can agree there :-D I never watched Camelot since it looked too sensual for my taste.