Have you ever wondered, while watching a finely crafted motion picture film or a dramatic television program presentation or even pretending to read one of those book things, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if they took one of the supporting characters not interesting enough to be featured in THIS story, and explored the origins of his uninterestingness?” If you have, then check your pants Trevor, ‘cause the debut of “Merlin” just filled ‘em. Now I’ve seen a lot of fantasy and science fiction programming over the years so I understand the drill: social commentary and hot button issues, thinly disguised beneath period costumes and dialogue. Sometimes that works and the subtle message makes you think about the issue in a new way. Then there’s “Merlin”, who’s writers took no chances that their important message might be missed, stopping just short of naming the show “By Sorcerer we mean Homosexual”.
Young WB style Merlin arrives in Camelot just in time to see the beheading of a man accused of “sorcery”, kicking off the King’s celebration of 20 years of unmagification in the land. But rather than immediately turning around and leaving to a town perhaps more tolerant of his flamboyant lifestyle, Merlin skips on in and wastes no time in performing a little clandestine magic trick and kicking off the gay allegory.
You see, as we are informed many, MANY times throughout, Merlin didn’t choose to be a warlock, he hasn’t studied the magic books, he never dabbled in magic in college and he wasn’t recruited to the magic lifestyle by truck stop magicians in medieval rest stops looking for no strings attached magical times, no, you see, Merlin was born this way. He grew up in a small town and his mother, afraid that if middle ages rednecks were to find out that her son was “different”, might drag him behind their horse drawn pick-ups, decided the only solution was to send him away, to stay with a family friend, an old doctor, named, I shit you not: GAIUS.
After a brief encounter with a young douche bag Prince Arthur, where Merlin employs his mutant ability of budget telekinesis to a sound track of Pirates of the Caribbean studio out takes and leftovers, Merlin returns to Gaius’ home. Gaius tends to Merlin’s scrapes, barging into the young boy magician’s room and ordering him to remove his shirt so that he can be rubbed down with oils and they can talk more about how he was born this way. I wish I was joking.
“If I can’t use magic what have I got? If I can’t use magic I might as well die!” Merlin says.
Feel free to replace “use magic” with the funniest, crudest thing that comes to mind. I did.
Eventually, the episode wraps up with Gaius talking to an exposition dragon for no good reason and Merlin saving Arthur’s life from an attack by the “B” story. As a reward for Merlin's heroism the grateful King rewards him with the job of the prince’s faithful man servant, or “bottom” as I believe the term is known today.
And while this show may be incredibly bad and probably canceled before I even finish this review I’m already looking forward to next Summer’s series about one of THIS series' uninteresting supporting characters.