TV Review: Merlin Series 2

Continuing my Merlin rewatch with Series 2 and the beginnings of better things to come

“I don’t need to listen to you Merlin, you always say the same thing”

Recognising why a good few of us watched the show, Series 2 of Merlin opens by getting Bradley James’ Arthur to whip his kit off and then continuing to get him shirtless at many an opportunity. We take our pleasures where we can when it comes to BBC Primetime.

This second series sees, essentially, more of the same, the formula of the week remaining firmly in place. But what works well is the introduction of key figures like Morgause and (Young) Mordred whose presence foretell much darker times ahead for Camelot.

The key to this is Morgana becoming increasingly aware of her burgeoning powers as a witch and Katie McGrath is great here, particularly with Emilia Fox’s Morgause helping her realise her potential. Adrian Lester and Joseph Mawle also do well as glowering villains of the week.

I could have lived without the troll episode (poor Sarah Parish) but the slow burn of Arthur and Gwen is executed well (even if poor Lancelot gets the shove, lovely Santiago Cabrera getting to come back). And the growing bromance between Arthur and Merlin is delightful, always played for laughs but with profundity creeping in as they deal with father issues and the realities of leadership.

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