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Quick thoughts on the Merlin Comic-Con panel video
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I swore off spoilers after some interfered with my enjoyment of parts of Series 4, but here I am getting sucked in again...

  • So apparently the writing/production/editing/transmission schedule is ridiculously tight, particularly for the series finale & last few episodes. Hmm, that explains a lot.
  • Clearly neither Angel Coulby nor the creators, unlike fandom, care that Gwen never realized she was enchanted, and are never going to re-open that plot. There is a lot that could be said about that. Instead, I'll just note that this means selenak's idea for a Gwen/Morgana confrontation fic is less likely to be jossed.
  • Gwen in off-the-shoulder gowns! YES PLEASE.
  • Call me close-minded, but I'm not thrilled that we're going to skip several years and have Morgana undergo dramatic character development in that time. I will withhold judgment til I see it.
  • So the guest stars seems to come in two flavors: "white guys from Game of Thrones," which means nothing to me, and "people we've seen before." I'm especially excited about the latter bunch, particularly the two women.
  • I like you, Colin, but you're wrong: Merlin isn't always lonely in the legends. Medieval versions in particular give him a wife (Gwendolyn), a sorceress sister (Ganieda), an apprentice (Blaise), a mother (unnamed), a love interest/nemesis (Niniane/Nimueh), and a highly variable relationship with the Lady of the Lake, aka Lancelot's foster mother. That said, "lonely Merlin" is a theme in a particular strain of recent Anglophone Arthurian fiction, and I personally love how he's acted it so far, so carry on. (Just give us a few more positive magical women.)
  • It sounds like they're hinting at a possible Enemy Mine plot--you know, Morgana joins up with Team Camelot to defeat a mutual enemy. But I can't imagine that working with the relationships we currently have (and without making Arthur & Gwen & even Merlin look very dumb), so maybe it's something else. In any case, more scenes between Morgana & Gwen, Arthur, & Merlin would make me very happy.
  • Why did no one ask about the status of magic in the upcoming series?
  • Very interested to see what how they use the Mordred legends. Which ones? That he's part of the Round Table? Or that he's obsessed with Guinevere? It sounds like they might do something with the massacre of the innocents, though I don't know how they would manage it at this point of the timeline.
  • So it sounds like S5 isn't even fully written yet, but I really hope they post that trailer soon! 

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I'm not thrilled either by the forward jump. I'm not pleased at not seeing Gwen developing into the Queen she becomes. Missing Morgana's development seems to be a constant theme as well. :/

I'm definitely excited about the two returning guest stars. I can't wait to see how that plays out.

(Do you think you'll be writing about the rest of s4? I'm curious because I really like reading your analysis of the show.)

I am going to try to withhold judgment until I see it; I would be satisfied if Gwen gets a good arc in whatever political plot is going on--I would love to see her develop from Queen to High Queen--and some closure with Morgana. And oh, please, let her interact with both of the two women returning as guest stars!

I'm a little more iffy on the Morgana development, because, well, last time it led to too many skipped steps (all we needed was some flesh on the Arthur-and-Gwen-are-enemies-turn!), but I'm also not quite convinced that what they describe as development here is that much of a departure from how she was in S4. (She's wearing the same costume, for one thing.) But, well...*withholds judgment, withholds judgment, tries VERY HARD to withhold judgment*

And yes, I am trying to finish my last few pieces on S4--just a bit overrun by both work and life here. But thank you for the encouragement! I hope to at least have the 4x11 one out soon...

I wish they wouldn't forward skip quite so much but in this case it may be so they can believably...and I'm not quite sure how spoilt you are about a particular character so perhaps I'd better not go on. I haven't watched the con panel yet so don't know what they mentioned.

So it sounds like S5 isn't even fully written yet

That's usual. I remember them mentioning that before though they must have an outline. The last episodes filmed are usually 10 and 11.

I can't wait to see the two women again who are both the two characters I would have picked to see back again.

I think you're right--they need to age up Mordred, and I can't really begrudge them that, as I think he's potentially a much more useful character as a teen. I'm curious what the time effect on everyone else will be, though--it sounds like Arthur & Gwen will be an effective ruling team, and I can see the benefit of skipping right to that, but I'm not quite sure where this puts Merlin with his arc about the temptation-to-abuse-his-powers, not to mention the whole magic-legalization/magic-reveal/sorry-I-helped-kill-your-dad tangle of secrets.

The con panel discussed Mordred a bit, very vaguely, but (probably because Katie was there) spent a bit more time on Morgana

*spoiler space*

having been imprisoned for 2 of the missing 3 years. (Which obviously has implications for her development, but also sounds like a convenient way to keep her from causing trouble during the time skip.)

I believe it they usually are still writing at this point, but my general impression from the panel was more that they didn't even really have an outline, because they were waiting to make key character decisions until they found out whether they'll get a 6th season and/or the movie trilogy deal. The creators sounded more than a bit stressed about the tight timing to me, but then I don't usually watch panels like this, so maybe it's always like that.

I can't wait to see those two women again; I think they could get a lot of dramatic mileage over having either of them interact with Gwen as well as Arthur this time.

he's potentially a much more useful character as a teen

Yes. I don't know if you've seen pictures of the actor but he is extremely believable as an older Mordred.

The creators sounded more than a bit stressed about the tight timing to me, but then I don't usually watch panels like this, so maybe it's always like that.

I went to the BFI last year and though they weren't stressed about having another series (unlike every other year), they were stressed because they'd had to come up with three more episodes than the original order of ten. TV production = stress I think. I hope the BBC give them a decision about Season 6 soon rather than waiting until November.

I hope it is not going to be handled badly. The time-skip could really mean a lot of bad things. Gwen being derailed because of it. Merlin's dark side essentially being the summum of his "I-crush-the-likable-antagonist-against-the-wall-with-no-pity" tendancies. Morgana growing into a more determined and commited antagonist for the third time, and all the focus on the rest of her character development being thrown out by the window. Arthur could be brutally sent into the Other World like Lancelot was, after an anticlimatic battle sequence with a lot of slow-motion and Mordred and Morgana smirking over and over again as their convoluted evil plan comes to its conclusion...

But it's Merlin, and even though the fandom will be disappointed by some angles never being exploited, we will all continue to watch and some of us will still be having occasional fits of hysterical excitement every other scene of the first two-parter.

Edited at 2012-07-17 01:19 pm (UTC)

I hope not, too! And it could mean bad things....but I'm holding out hope, because overall the panel made me excited for the S5. I am particularly heartened by the news that Gwen and Morgana will have many more scenes together!

some of us will still be having occasional fits of hysterical excitement every other scene of the first two-parter

Yes, definitely!

Hi there, I agree with all of what you've said, 3 years is a ridiculously long jump in time, and seems to me an excuse for lazy writing - a bit of a cop out, as you don't get to see the fall out. A film trilogy "reboot"is an bizarre idea, why??
Like you, I was disappointed to hear the Merlin is supposed to be lonely,(perhaps Colin was towing the "party line")and I've heard before that he is thought of in non-sexual terms - what have those producers been reading to base those ideas on? Early works have him with his sister and wife (some think one and the same) Morgen, the lady of the lake and Nimue/Vivien. The more recent stories have diminished his role somewhat, apart from those like Mary Stewart. It seems women in BBC Merlin are continuing the modern tradtion of being evil or power-hungry, which is disappointing, let's hope for some better stories for Gwen. I am also interested in how they will use the character of Mordred, so he's a knight, possibly in league with Morgana, whether from the get-go or later on is not clear. However am eagerly looking forward to S5 (and your reviews of course)

Edited at 2012-07-18 09:00 am (UTC)

The trailer is out! (somewhat bad quality, but you can see most of it), right here:

The trailer itself starts at about the 8:16 mark; there's a bit of waiting as the blooper reel and a few other bits and pieces are also included.

I myself have given up expecting any sort of storytelling coherency or satisfying pay-off for this show; I'm just in a state of mind where I'm prepared to enjoy the actors that I love in pretty outfits and try not to think about all the gaping holes (and unfortunate implications) that the writers leave in their scripts. Try being the operative word.

So the guest stars seems to come in two flavors: "white guys from Game of Thrones," which means nothing to me, and "people we've seen before." I'm especially excited about the latter bunch, particularly the two women.

I don't want to jinx it, but I am longing - LONGING - to see Gwen interact with Annis and Mithian. Never in a million years did I think these two women would return to the show, so I was quite amazed when I heard the news.

Guinevere/Mithian interaction in particular could be fascinating. Surely Mithian is curious about the woman that Arthur chose over her, and there's a chance to see some of Gwen's strengths/personality quirks when side-by-side with a character who seemed to have been written as "the quintessential fairytale princess" that a lot of viewers expected Guinevere to be. (I was fascinated by Mithian's role (or lack thereof) in the show, and ended up writing an embarrassingly long meta on the subject - I'm really looking forward to reading your thoughts on her!)

Glad I'm not the only one who thanks that of the writers. I don't think that they can put it all down to rushing and writing whilst still filming, ALL TV series do that.
My biggest wish is for a writer such as Mark Gatiss or Toby Whithouse (or even Neil Gaiman) could write an episode for them. The curent writers seem not be able to write for women (even the female ones!)
by the way somebody mentioned that they film episodes 12 and 13 first - they haven't.

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