The Arthurian Legend is now more than a familiar tale, retold generation after generation through constantly changing mediums, and now the all but spent story is getting a 21st century revamp thanks to Starz. From the first film adaptations almost 100 years ago, the Merlin-Morgan-Arthur triptych is now resolutely put into context for a completely new audience with Camelot, returning to its roots as an adult fantasy realm far from the famous Disney classic The Sword in the Stone, now so identified with the legend.
With superb writing helmed by Michael Hirst (Of Elizabeth andElizabeth: The Golden Age fame and the new Showtime series The Borgias) the bones are laid for a casting agent’s fantasy. Jamie Campbell Bower, known for his roles in Sweeney Todd and the Twilight saga, makes his premier in a starring role as King Arthur in the series. Playing alongside him as the conniving and treacherously beautiful Morgan, is Eva Green, the BAFTA winning Bond Girl, and pulling up the rear of the trio, Joseph Fiennes portrays Merlin the Magician. These are quintessential actor’s actors, hailed for more than their devilishly good looks, they bring a richness and reality to their parts that is totally unlooked for in such a fantastical storyline, helping to make that mystery shrouded history, more approachable to the viewer. The sublime cinematography pairs with breathtaking scenery and location shooting that is truly the winning ticket for a visual masterpiece. Need I go on? I mean, the score is even appropriate!
Starz is definitely giving some stiff competition to the more established cable networks monopoly on this type of graphic-historama (think Showtime’s The Tudors or HBO’s Rome …) This series is really something to behold, and finally a chance to turn the knob to something other than reality TV. Camelot shows on Starz, Fridays at 10pm.