Merlin: The Series — An Introduction

Merlin: The Series — An Introduction
Welcome to the new fantasy series that does for Merlin and King Arthur what Smallville did for Superman and Lex Luthor. Welcome to Camelot — in the beginning!

MerlinPromoArt06 Fans anticipating the theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince may find some solace in NBC's Merlin, which debuts on June 21st and will be airing throughout the summer.

   A series created for England's BBC, it has garnered a powerful international following and promises to do the same in America as it traces the evolution of the wizard Merlin, exploring how an angst-filled teenager will ultimately take his place alongside King Arthur of Camelot.

   Johnny Caps, who co-created the show with Julian Murphy, notes that the duo's creative pleasure comes from developing high-concept shows, such as this one and the previously-produced British series Hex. "To us, it's the ultimate challenge as program makers and creators," he explains. "With naturalistic drama, you sort of take the camera outside and there you are, but with high-concept and period shows, you have to create a new world and the rules of that world."

   The writing pair began exploring different mythologies in literature and legend that could serve as the basis of a different kind of TV show. Appealing to them was the Arthurian myth and Merlin.

   "From there," Caps says, "we came up with the idea of a story about a young Merlin that would allow us to spin stories around a young boy who realizes he's different and has superpowers, like Spider-Man and so on. Then we thought if we have a young Merlin, why don't we bring in young Arthur and have Prince Arthur rather than King Arthur of legend? I've been a huge Smallville fan, and I thought it was so clever how they subverted the expectations of all of those characters. We realized we had this rich mythology of Morgana, of Guinevere, of Arthur, of Merlin, and we thought, 'Why not bring all of those characters in and let's start the story before the legend began?' The story snowballed from there. We have young Arthur who is not the king of legend. Instead, he's this young, kind of sporty guy, bit of an idiot, basically, but he has the potential to be a great king.

   "Then," he adds, "we said, 'Let's have Guinevere as a young serving girl. The audience knows she's to be Queen of England at some point, but they'll be intrigued as to what her journey will be to get there. So we started playing around with that and it felt really good. So we developed four or five scripts, fine-tuning that concept and then later on we thought, 'Why doesn't Merlin exist in a world where magic is banished? So everything he does he has to do secretly.' All of this happened over a year or two years. It kept on improving and it felt right."

   Merlin has felt right to audiences around the world, who are embracing the show which is currently shooting its second season of 13 episodes.  Look for much more coverage of Merlin coming soon to Voices From Krypton.
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