Season Five

 

Arthur's Bane Part 1
Arthur's Bane Part 2
The Death Song of Uther Pendragon
Another's Sorrow
The Disir
The Dark Tower







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About Merlin

"Merlin" is a drama series that updates the story of the infamous sorcerer of Arthurian legend for a new audience. The mythical city of Camelot, in a time before history began; a fantastical realm of legendary beasts and mysterious people; a dangerous world in which magic has been banned by the ruthless tyrant, Uther Pendragon.

When Merlin, a young man gifted with extraordinary magical powers, arrives in the kingdom, he quickly makes enemies including the heir to Uther's crown, the headstrong Prince Arthur. But guided by Uther's wise physician Gaius, Merlin is soon using his talents not just to survive but also to unlock Camelot's mystical secrets. As he does so he discovers that his destiny and that of the kingdom's young leader in waiting, Arthur, are inextricably linked.

Starring Colin Morgan as Merlin, Bradley James as Prince Arthur, Anthony Head as King Uther, Richard Wilson as Gaius, Katie McGrath as Morgana, Angel Coulby as Gwen and John Hurt as the voice of The Great Dragon (Kilgharrah). "Merlin" is an imaginative and enthralling new twist on a legend that is as old as time.

"Merlin" is produced by the award-winning team Julian Murphy, Johnny Capps, Jake Michie, Julian Jones and directed by James Hawes. This 13-part series is an epic, magical, adventure-packed drama certain to appeal to the entire family.

The Making of "Merlin"

Making of "Merlin" proves an adventure in itself.

Telling an ancient story in a new way is no easy feat - and for the producers of NBC's "Merlin," which debuts at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 21, on NBC, it led to an adventure in and of itself.

Exploring the exciting realm of Camelot hadn't been attempted in a while, explains producer Johnny Capps, and was an idea that immediately appealed to him and producing partner Julian Murphy.

"We wanted to produce something that merged the legend with big, family entertainment," he says. "We didn't want to make a 15th-century version of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table."

As the incredible fantasy worlds of Middle Earth, Narnia and Hogwarts gained in popularity, Capps and Murphy - along with writer Jake Michie - felt the time was right to re-explore Camelot.

They knew it wouldn't be easy.

"We have a very large magnifying glass put on us," Capps acknowledges. "Some people who love the legend of Merlin will be horrified when they see that he and Arthur are contemporaries in our version. But this is an epic, family show. We've got big stories - Lancelot fighting griffins, a talking dragon. But within that, we also have to have small, human stories and universal emotions."

The approach seems to have worked. "Merlin" has been hailed by The Guardian as "colorful, exciting and, yes, magic." Entertainment Weekly calls it "rollicking" and says viewers will be "happily entertained."

It's the result of having worked hard at the vision, work that became even harder when trying to find the right real-world location to serve as Camelot. "We looked all over Scotland, Wales, England and Eastern Europe," Capps says, "Everywhere, in fact. But we couldn't find the right place." Then they saw the Chateau de Pierrefonds, and the challenges grew again.

"It's not easy to secure a French national monument," Murphy says. "It was an interesting negotiation."

Once the decision was made, producers then had to create an entire world.

"Everything had to be designed," Capps says. "You can't just walk down the street and find every costume, insignia, prop and piece of armor. We had to have everything made. For three months, we were making massive decisions which we knew we would be stuck with for as long as the show lasts."

Casting was critical - and not easy. "We saw hundreds for all the parts, especially the younger roles," he says. "We were looking for actors who were larger than life rather than naturalistic." Of central concern, naturally, was the role of Merlin. "Merlin must have intelligence, charm and humor - there's a lot of humor in the show and that comes from him."

After a massive search, actor Colin Morgan assumed the role, joining Bradley James as Arthur (who in "Merlin" is a prince), Richard Wilson as Merlin's mentor Gaius, Angel Coulby as Gwen (or, if you prefer, Guinevere), Katie McGrath as Morgana, and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" favorite Anthony Head as King Uther Pendragon.

For producers, the adventure was only beginning... and, in fact, continues. Laughs Murphy, "Just the other day, we rode a horse into one of the great halls at Pierrefonds!"

Camelot Filtered Through a Modern Lens in "Merlin"

The Legend of Camelot is filtered through a modern lens in "Merlin".

A powerful wizard must protect a prince and lead him to his destiny on the throne of a mythical kingdom. The legend of Merlin is familiar to many - there's Guinevere, Morgana, and Lancelot... and, of course, Camelot.

However, NBC's 13-part fantasy drama "Merlin" reinvents the story for the 21st century by giving the classic tale a magical new twist.

"It's myth and legend, and is based on hearsay and opinions - so you can come up with a different way of telling the story," says acclaimed actor Anthony Head, who as King Uther headlines a talented cast in the new series. In "Merlin," he says, producers "have found a different spin on it: a young spin, a humorous spin, a dark spin. And why not? It's thrilling, it's entertaining and it tells a fantastic tale."

In this modern version, rather than an wizened, aged Merlin meeting a gangly young boy in the woods near Camelot, two strong-headed youths - as similar in age as they are dissimilar in personality - come together for the sake of the kingdom. Other characters, like Morgana and Guinevere, also undergo changes. Yet, says Colin Morgan, who stars as Merlin, the series' creators have preserved the central myth.

"We've got something new to show, something different to tell, which people would not normally associate with these characters," Morgan says. "You think of Arthurian legend, you think about that period in history - and we've twisted that and turned it on its head making it into something completely new and different."

Widely known for his role as Rupert Giles in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and his work with the "Doctor Who" series, Head says the series had to remain rooted in classic legend since the tale of Camelot is British to its core.

"In England, we know the story very well. It gets dressed up in different ways, but it's always the same tale, and that's why it has caught the public's attention," he says.

"Merlin" originally premiered on BBC last fall, and became one of the year's highest-rated programs.

"This is a very clever reworking. We all know how it's going to end. But now, when you see a character like Lancelot turn up, you know it's going to have repercussions. It gives you an opportunity to be a bit of a voyeur as an audience!"

Hailed by the Daily Mail as "a well-judged blend of fantasy, humor and excitement," "Merlin" stars Colin Morgan, Angel Coulby, Bradley James and Katie McGrath, with Anthony Head and Richard Wilson. "Merlin" also features John Hurt as the voice of the Great Dragon.
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