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"Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs."
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October 25 2010

Anthony Stewart Head's show 'Merlin' gets a fourth series. But it's only getting a 10 episode order instead of the usual 13.

Glad to hear it's getting a fourth series. I was a bit worried with the timeslot it has this year against the X-Factor. There are some pretty poor "comedy" episodes, but the interaction between the characters is great and when they focus on that and the larger story elements, it's a really good show.
Yeah, I was a little worried about the episode cutdown, but this will give them a chance to ditch the crappy filler eps about farting pixies and such.
Good news! I enjoy this series more than is explainable because of the uneven quality (aforementioned gross pixie and troll episodes, though I have to say the troll wife one almost had me in tears on the floor just thinking of how many outtakes there must have been). Hope this means another Comic-Con visit.
The show works when it remembers to be true to it's characters and to build on the relationships. It falls down when it tries - as noted by notaViking - to be "funny".

Uther drags the show down though. Not so much a character as an arbitrary blockade to the stories moving forward.
I wouldn't be worried about the episode cutdown, some news outlets are pointing as possible positioning to fit into the Doctor Who split series schedule in 2011. Plus it means, as everyone also commented is that we'll probably get rid of the weak comedy episodes, that seems to appear every series.
I'm hoping they'll cut down on the "a mysterious stranger comes to Camelot" episodes. But apart from that, I enjoy the show and I do my ironing to it. What more do you want?
While I cannot fault ASH's performance on Merlin, I agree with Andy. Just when you think Uther has learned something about his own humanity, how to treat people accordingly as a wise and good king ought, he goes right back to his old ways; full of fear about the truth of his past, his son, magic, always ready to cut off someone's head rather than think the situation through (or throwing poor Gaius in the dungeon yet again). The comedy stuff and stranger of the week pale in comparison to the narrative being jerked around. I'm a bit behind in episodes so maybe this is being resolved, I don't know.

All in all, though, the camaraderie of the main actors, particularly Merlin/Arthur, Merlin/Gaius, is delightful.
Hopefully season 4 will be better than season 3. So far the show seems to just be doing the same thing over and over and over.

And Morgana needs to stop smirking! It's making me angry!
This is good. I quite like the show, even though I can see why some people don't. I love the characters and it is such a pretty show.

@Glitch_Doll My husband and I were counting how many times Morgana would smirk evilly to show she was evil but we had to stop because it was every single scene she was in.
I remember reading in an interview w/Tony a while back that he's expecting Uther to get bumped off soon - "Arthur can't become King Arthur if his old man's still wearing the crown" or words to that effect.

I've only been able to see the first season (Stupid NBC not picking up the show for a second season!) although I did catch an episode & a half earlier this summer when I was cat-sitting at my aunt's (She has Dish) - the half episode was when there was some kind of dark plague affecting the men of Camelot, and Arthur & Merlin were dragging Uther around on a rug, and the full one was when Merlin met his father.

Hopefully some day I'll be able to buy the series on DVD, since online viewing is difficult for those of us on dial-up.
I'm kind of hesitant to say that killing off Uther would make the show better. Arthur's not ready to be king yet, mostly because he still believes some of the ideals that make Uther a bad king (like magic being evil). I think he at least needs to learn about Merlin being a sorcerer before Uther gets killed off.
Morgana's smirking is starting to drive me nuts but glad there will be more regardless.

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