Sunday, April 1, 2012

TV: Camelot

Okay, so I just watched the 3rd episode of Camelot the other day, compliments of a Christmas gift from my in-laws. Actually, it was a gift to my wife, but we enjoy watching that type of stuff together. Like so many other things happening over the past decade, this one was a complete re-imagining of the story, starting with the most basic of story ideas and building on it armed with what we know today about movie making, history and science that filmmakers didn't know before, and also well versed in what audiences want to see these days.

So... what do we have going for us?

Joseph Fines as an extremely interesting, hard-to-explain Merlin.
Early period armor and weapons.

Costumes that don't scream at me that they are out of place (don't know about accuracy, but people have come to accept that there was elegant clothing design before the reign of Elizabeth I).

A relatively new (to me anyway) take on magical abilities and powers.

And of course enough skin and heavy breathing to hold most people over between viewings of "The Tudors" and "Spartacus, Blood and Sand".

But guess what? I'm done watching it.

Episode 3 will be the last time I let the baby-faced Jamie Campbell Bower portray King Arthur on my TV. It will be the last time that I let Tamsin Egerton act like an all-too-typical teen-aged idiot while portraying Guinevere on my clock. And it will be the last time I watch Eva Green get naked while casting spells as Morgan .

Why? Because I am at a point where I just don't like anyone on the screen.

Merlin is intriguing... but not likable. I'm sure that's deliberate, but still, he's not someone who I would want to invest time learning more about right now.

Arthur...  Lets see, you bed your champion's bride-to-be and then preside over their wedding.

Guinevere...More or less this woman is a walking train wreck from the moment we see her all the way until her wedding night, where she managed to lie to her husband (not Arthur in this version) about her virginity. She lied to herself every step of the way through this process, and is too much of a coward to stand up to someone and admit that maybe getting married wasn't the best option.

Morgan...  honestly, she's the one I am closest to feeling sorry for in this mess. Still, she's little more than a selfish woman addicted to power. In this version she is painted as the child of a corrupt and amoral father, and her only reward in life was the promise of inheriting his throne. Then, on the eave of her father's funeral, that is taken from her by the sudden announcement of Uther's living male heir, Arthur. As magic is portrayed in this story, using it takes a heavy tole on the practitioner, but Morgan is drawn to the power itt gives her, hence my "addict" statement.

Honestly, the series is extremely well done. The cinematography, the writing the acting... its all spot on. But there is a point in time where I just have to ask myself "do I want to be told this story?" And in this case, the answer is "no". This high-end, Jerry Springer-meets-the-Royal Shakespeare Company approach to story writing just presses all the wrong buttons with me. There is nothing wrong with the series, and I would actually recommend it to a number of people. But I, for one, have seen enough deception in my real life thus far, that I have no room in my heart to watch another human train wreck unfold and feel anything but disdain towards the active participants.