Merlin is a prime time drama series based on the legend of Camelot. Originally airing on the BBC in 2008, the series premiered in the US in June, 2009 when NBC bought the American broadcast rights. The second season of Merlin ran on the BBC from spring 2009 to September 2009. Filming of a third season began in Wales in April of this year. Camelot is said to be the center of King Arthur Pendragon's realm in Britain although, according to many historians, Camelot was not a real place and has no real basis in history.
King Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is a tyrant who rules Camelot. He banishes magic from his realm and condemns to death anyone who practices it. Merlin (Colin Morgan, Doctor Who) is a man with magical powers who arrives in Camelot during this time. He learns that his future is tied to the young Prince Arthur (Bradley James, Portobello 196). Merlin learns to control his powers and help Prince Arthur with the help of court physician Gaius (Richard Wilson, Demons) and the Great Dragon (John Hurt, Hellboy).
Merlin: The Complete First Season takes place when all the characters are teenagers so it's loaded with lots of typical teenage angst including rebellion against father figures, teen romance, and drama. The characters are, of course, mostly gorgeous and attractive which further leads to the appeal to the younger crowd. This is a great way to draw a new generation into the story of Camelot although if you're looking for historical accuracy you won't find it here.
While Merlin is very entertaining, it doesn't hold true to the standard Arthurian legend at all although it wasn't the producers' intention to stay true to the legend. Merlin should be an old man and well versed in magic use and not a teenager who doesn't do magic very well. They took out the entire incestuous aspect of the legend where Merlin enchants Arthur to look like Morgan's father so that they can be intimate. Uther Pendragon was ambushed and killed when Arthur was just a baby according to legend; however in this movie he's alive and well. Guinevere in the movie is black and definitely wasn't in the legend. There are a number of other inaccuracies but the show is still very entertaining and should serve to interest a whole new audience in learning more about the "real" legend of Arthur.