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Merlin: The Complete First Season (DVD Review)

10 Apr, 2010 By: John Latchem

Street 4/20/10
BBC Video
$49.98 five-DVD set
Not rated.
Stars Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Anthony Head, Richard Wilson, Angel Coulby, Katie McGrath, John Hurt.

The BBC series “Merlin,” seen in the United States on Syfy, probably owes as much to “Harry Potter” as it does to Arthurian legend.

The well-made show focuses on a teenage Merlin (Colin Morgan) as he arrives in Camelot as the apprentice to court physician Gaius (Richard Wilson). King Uther Pendragon (Arthur’s father, played by Anthony Head of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) has banned all magic, which means Merlin must keep secret his innate sorcery that he often uses to get out of tight jams. Merlin is told by a dragon that lives under the castle and sounds like John Hurt that he and Prince Arthur (Bradley James) have a destiny to lead Camelot to greatness, putting him on a path to understanding and controlling his powers.

The mythical-heroes-as-kids angle also takes a few cues from “Smallville,” especially the subplot of Merlin having to keep his true identity hidden.

Fans of “Potter” or BBC’s recently concluded “Robin Hood” series will likely get the most out of “Merlin.”

The DVD is loaded with extras, including commentaries on select episodes, and a bonus disc containing behind-the-scenes featurettes and video diaries that fans of the show will enjoy.

The second season is now airing on Syfy.

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