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September 20 2008

(SPOILER) Tonight on BBC One - Tony Head stars in 'Merlin'. "It's basically Buffy with boys" says The Guardian. And our Tony giggles chats about his role as Uther over at The Sun's website.

Speaking of bizarrely succinct synopses and the BBC, did anybody ever watch that "It's Buffy meets horoscopes!" show that was being marketed last year? Did it live up to the half-arsed surrealist beauty of that description?

Could anything?

(Sorry, I kind of fail at on-topic.)
I'm so pleased this has been picked up in Canada. Judging purely on the evil Headmaster he played in Dr.Who, I think ASH will be a great Uther.He can be very menacing.
Lioness, where/when will this be playing in Canada? I just might tune in!
Not BBCAmerica? Any info on if?
It's showing on NBC toast.
Lioness, where/when will this be playing in Canada? I just might tune in!

According to ASH's website, it's been picked up by CTV. No air date is set, though.
With 30 minutes to go, my hopes for the show have plummeted after reading that the Merlin producers thought that their previous show 'Hex' was high concept.

Link:
Hmm.. in Hex's defense, it's not actually that bad. I'd long thought it was just a cheap Buffy knock-off, but I actually sat down to watch the first episode. I didn't actually make it all the way through (it was double-length), but it at least had a certain amount of charm even. I still don't think it's great, but it's not really bad either. I'm interpreting the "high-concept" comment more as "genre" than anything else. I don't think he meant it was approaching something sophisticated.

Considering this show isn't original, but is based on the Merlin myth, it should at least be decent. It's just about to start, so . . .

ETA: First impressions - ASH is great, as always. I'm getting the same impression from it that I did from Robin Hood though, another BBC show, and that turned out badly (imo).

[ edited by MattK on 2008-09-20 19:45 ]
I'm tuned in, good to see ASH's name back on the tube :)
Also tuned in here (well, my better half is and if you live in a weeny flat like I do; what he watches, I watch). Can't say my heart is a-flutterin' at the prospect of having this to watch every week.

That said, it's not completey crap.
So far it's reminding me of (new) Robin Hood too. Hrmph.
It's better than Bonekickers and Spooks: Code Nine which is not really a ringing endorsement. Specially when ITV can come up with the likes of Lost In Austen (best new show of the year!). Merlin's plot was pretty predictable and a little dull but there was a really good scene with Eve Myles in the banquet hall. Some imagination went into that scene. But I can't see it becoming must see tv for me.

Not used to seeing Tony Head swaggering about the place.
Well, that was um.. interesting.

Kind of a mix between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Too early to say if I like it or not, it has it's moments but I'm not blown away. ASH was perfect in his role though.

and was Helena (I recognize her from Torchwood) really singing or just playbacking?
I always think of Uther as a lot less... refined than ASH is portraying him here.
I dunno, I thought it was a bit better than 'Robin Hood'. Not brilliant but not utter shite either, the lead has an easy manner about him and the writing wasn't terrible IMO. And I agree, the scene with Eve Myles singing had some nice fairytale resonances. Plus Richard Wilson is always good value.

It is very like 'Smallville' though - Guinevere is Chloe, Arthur is Lex, Uther is Lionel, Morgana is Lana and obviously Merlin is Big Blue (it even has a Jor-El character, voiced by a respected veteran English actor that we never see on screen ;). And it's a bit "Theme Park Medieval" but it's clearly going more fantasy than gritty realism so that's OK by me. I'll probably watch next week if i'm in but it's not really appointment television.

And ASH was credited just as Anthony Head, can't say i've really noticed but is that how he's normally credited on UK shows ? Or has his Equity namesake shuffled off or something ?
I agree about Spooks: Code Nine (Spooks Series 6 was actually approaching its former godliness, and then they release that...?) and Bonekickers, which was frankly bad beyond belief. I haven't seen Lost In Austen though, premise reminded me too much of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books, which I'd literally just been reading ..

I agree with Caroline that Uther should have been less "refined". The whole thing just seemed so clean.
I don't know, I've seen lots of Uther's before and I kinda like ASH's take on him. But it's too early to tell I guess, a lot can change in the show.
Well, I kinda liked it. Never watched Robin Hood or Hex, so I don't know if those were either similar or good, though I imagine it could be very similar indeed. It did actually remind me of Smallville a few times, which is not a good thing in my book.

I kinda liked the young Arthur and if the series will focus on his friendship with young Merlin and those two iconic figures just being kids having fun the show could also be fun. I hope they're not going to spend to much time on monster of the week things or the Dragon which was secretly hidden to make an example. It would also be nice if the magic could be a bit more inventive then the moving of dices.

Arthur living at the royal court isn't really what I'm used to, so I'm curious to see where they are going with that (will he still need some farcical aquatic ceremony to get supreme executive power?)

Anyway it can and very propably will go down the wrong way, but it wasn't that bad and showed some potential + ASH is in it, so I think I'm in for next week.
Highlight for me was ASH, of course. And the Merlin/Arthur spats were fun. I'm there next week.
Ah well, I'm thinking it can't be any worse than the re-made Dune that aired on the Sci-Fi channel awhile back. Plus ASH. Thank you, NBC.
I agree about Spooks: Code Nine (Spooks Series 6 was actually approaching its former godliness, and then they release that...?) ...

It's like 'Highlander 2' MattK - it just didn't happen, move along, nothing to see here ;).

(apart from anything else it has to be a separate universe to 'Spooks' - as if Harry would let that happen on his watch)
Jasper Fforde was actually asked about the agreeably silly Lost In Austen by the Radio Times:

"Although I was - until recently - the most current purveyor of the bookjumping concept, I was not the first. I thought the idea was wholly original until someone pointed out that Woody Allen, Luigi Pirandello and Alan Moore had written something along similar lines. More recently, Cornelia Funke has joined the club with her Inkworld trilogy, and there are manga comics that also use the idea. Fantasy is the greatest genre ever, but it can be frustrating: you think you've found bold new territory, and then discover it's covered in footprints."
I liked it. I can't wait for the next episode.
Plus it's great to see Tony on my TV again. :)
I wish the BBC website wasn't so prejudice against me because I'm American ;.; I can't look at Merlin stuff, I can't look at certain Doctor Who stuff... Honestly, what would be the harm in me looking at character profiles?
I thought it was rather fun!
You can have our character profiles when you give us Dr. Horrible! :P
And some kind of formal apology for 'Ned and Stacy' wouldn't hurt either ;).
Thanks for the quote Craig, it's very much appreciated. It must suck to be an author and think you've done something totally original, and then find out several people have done it before. But, as he says, that's the nature of these things -- I didn't think Lost in Austen was copying him, it was just a strange coincidence that I'd just discovered his Next books just before that came out.

Saje, everyone seems to be a fan of Harry, Stephen Fry even mentions him in his latest podgram.
I think we should also apologize for: the American version of "Coupling," "Viva Laughlin," "Teachers" and every attempt we've make at re-working "Fawlty Towers." I'd also like to apologize for "The Minister Of Divine" after "The Vicar of Dibley" even though I've never seen it and it wasn't picked up. I think we should also apologize for even thinking about making an American version of AbFab. Finally, I apologize in advance for anything awful we may do in the future to Dr. Who.

It's just plain good manners to apologize when you do something rude in public, so - sorry.
I never watched any of them, so I'm not apologizing. I'm very glad the American Ab-Fab never happened (or did it?). Though I think when Whose Line is it Anyway was on, was pretty good, but not in any way better than the show it was stolen from (because Drew Carey as the host ... go figure [WHAT?! They couldn't get Lewis Black or Richard Lewis?]).
Actually, Tonya J, there was a little-known contractual requirement that no one named Lewis ever appear on the show. Lewis Carroll snuck onto the set once, and Colin Mochrie had to chase him off with a spatula.
That I would have liked to see, though raising the dead can be so damnably tricky...
Well, we could always use the Oija board.

Isn't Lady Helen the same actress who played Gwen in Torchwood? And I wonder if this will ever get to Norway. Looks interesting.

ETA: Never mind. Yes, it's her.

[ edited by MysticSlug on 2008-09-21 11:35 ]
Isn't Merlin supposed to be much older than Arthur? I'm confused.
Yeah he's much older, Camelot isn't around when Arthur's growing up and AFAIK Guinevere's so they took some liberties basically (but then, it's already a legend, down through the ages everyone's put their own spin on it anyway, this is just another iteration).

ETA: Oh and apology accepted QuoterGal. Err, sorry about the whole colonialism thing ;).

(and for a minor spoiler)

[ edited by Saje on 2008-09-21 17:57 ]
Saje, I was under the impression that ASH is AH over here and it is just in the USA that he is known by his full name. He has certainly been AH in anything else I have seen him in e.g. Doctor Who, Little Britain, The Invisibles, Imagine Me & You, etc.
moley75, Saje And I think it's only his fans who call him ASH or Tony - even his webmistress calls him Anthony.

I'd call him scrumptious, but not to his face.
was under the impression that ASH is AH over here and it is just in the USA that he is known by his full name.


I think I read that there was an actor in the States who was called Anthony Head* and that's why Tony used his full name for Buffy.

* It may have been this guy.
It's odd that the bbc can't regularly right good tv shows. You'd think with the talent they could pull in they could have made that a bit better. And it was a bit better than some of the stuff they've done (I had a soft spot for Code 9, though Bonekickers managed to be worse than the worst bits of Torchwood. How it managed that, I have no idea).
So when's it going to be on NBC? They said on tvguide.com that there were no listings for the next two weeks....
whedongeek Not until "winter 2008/09," which translates, AKAIK, to Decemberish.

Tony's site will have airdates when they become available for US, CA & AUS airings.

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