‘Merlin’s’ magic trick: Getting darker, staying light

Feb. 10, 2012 | 12:02 p.m.
morgana and merlin Merlins magic trick: Getting darker, staying light

Colin Morgan, left, as Merlin and Katie McGrath as Morgana in a scene from "Merlin." (Shine Ltd./FremantleMedia Enterprises)

Here’s a wizard’s trick: Can “Merlin” get darker and stay light at the same time? It’s a question of tone and the obvious challenge for the SyFy series as its plots push into more sinister territory but the creative team tries to hold on to the humor that widens the show’s audience to an all-ages group. Here’s a look at an exclusive clip from the Feb. 13 episode, “A Servant of Two Masters,” which finds a bewitched Merlin acting as a reluctant assassin.

I’ve written before that “Merlin” is a favorite in my house — it really is geared for family viewing — and apparently we’re not alone. The U.K. import is a hit at home (the finale of the fourth season aired on Christmas Eve to a record audience of 8.1 million) and it now has a foothold here with its biggest U.S. audience with a  20% increase over last season’s numbers. Consider the numbers for Jan. 27 episode: That one pulled in 2 million viewers, which beat the most recent SyFy episodes of the far-more-promoted “Being Human” (1.4 million) and “Spartacus: Vengeance” (1.3 million).

— Geoff Boucher


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5 Responses to ‘Merlin’s’ magic trick: Getting darker, staying light

  1. sendean says:

    (possible mild spoilers ahead) I love every single episode in MERLIN season 4. However, this episode (4×06 "A Servant to Two Masters") is my favorite "rewatchable" episode of the season. It is fascinating how the extremes of drama and humor can be merged seamlessly in the same episode. COLIN MORGAN is absolutely amazing as his portrayal of Merlin swings from dramatic seriousness to slapstick "pink panther" humor. BRADLEY JAMES is wonderful as Arthur shows great concern for Merlin's well-being. And who knew how funny ANGEL COULBY could be as Gwen helps Gaius prevent assassination attempts. You do not want to miss this episode!

  2. Yumenoko says:

    Although it's a family show, it's certainly got a hold on lots of us single adults. The SyFy forum, as well as some of the fan run forums, are abuzz with the thoughts and commentaries of an obviously invested and mature audience. And considering that this series really is pretty wholesome that's an amazing achievement by Capps and Murphy et al, gaining this leverage with a fan base that thankfully isn't Twilighted. I admit I almost wish they'd take the series past watershed and let it run a deeper course, but then that's just me wanting what I want. I'll take it as is and be quite satisfied.

  3. Cole says:

    I agree, Yumenoko, but I also think you'll be pleasantly surprised by what else is coming up this season.

    I'm glad to see the Hero Complex video player got fixed — I was trying to view this all day yesterday and kept having problems. It's actually one of my very favorite moments from a GREAT season of "Merlin."

  4. The Fortress Guys says:

    Merlin is getting darker, and the overall story arc is really a downer. To us it seemed this season's slapstick stood out in a way not fitting the tone.

    Merlin season 4 was fun overall, although we could have used more actual magic.

    Here is our take with lots of interesting pics and perhaps a little wit if you are interested:

  5. Merry says:

    Thank goodness Merlin came back for season 5. I am so glad Arthur married Gwen. Merlin doesn't have to worry about Mordred. I believe that Morgana is going to prove Arthur's bane. Hopefully she doesn't succeed. Merry

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