Fall TV and the Politics of Merlin

23 Dec

Once Upon a Time is proving better than the pilot would have suggested. I like the non-linear way it is telling the back story of the characters, and how it is embellishing the fairy tales to make them more complex and interesting. I think of this show as Lost in reverse—characters from a fantasy place all trapped in the contemporary U.S. together.

And I am hoping, like Lost, it is able to successfully reinvent itself each season without losing its charm or forgetting its roots. Lost was brilliant in that respect.

In other news, the show Merlin has become a bit of a new TV obsession for me.

One thing I don’t like about it is the poor Morgana character development. If you want an effective villain, you have to give some glimmer of her having the sorts of character weaknesses that lead to such villainy, and show a more gradual evolution of the character as she falls prey to those weaknesses, and that’s something they just didn’t do very well.

Also, the politics of the show are a bit dodgy. Maybe I’ve watched way too much Deep Space Nine (in fact, I’m sure of it), but showing nearly every Freedom Fighter character as corrupt and evil and having the heroes essentially being collaborators who are playing a very long game and allowing innocents to die in the interim…. Well, it makes me uncomfortable.

But the show hits so many of my story kinks I can grumpily overlook these flaws. It has gorgeous scenery, myth, swords and sorcery, secrets and secret identities, a charming, powerful, overlooked hero, interesting complex family relationships, long lost parents, faeries, trolls, dragons, and griffins.

And ironically, I seem to have developed a Merlin/Morgana thing after Servant of Two Masters. More in a Epic Destined!Enemies kind of way, although I would not object to a few brief moments of hate lust.

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