Syfy has been calling Merlin a “Syfy Original Series” since they started airing it. It’s not, of course; not by any reasonable definition. It’s a BBC production, shot and originally aired in the United Kingdom, and only reaches the United States after each season has ended its run there; to be precise, the fourth season, which just ended tonight in the U.S., apparently ended in December 2011 in the U.K., so we’re about four months behind. And Syfy can’t even claim to be the first network in the U.S. to air the series (though they have it exclusively now), as during its first season it was aired as a summer program on Syfy’s parent network, NBC. None of that is particularly germane to the quality of the show or the season, I just felt like tweaking the nose of Syfy a little bit, since the “Syfy Original Series” bit feels a lot like the same pretentiousness that led to them no longer calling themselves the Sci-Fi Channel.
Obviously, since I’m aware of where its first season aired, I’ve been watching the show from the beginning. While the show takes an unprecedented amount of liberties with the legend of King Arthur, it manages to do so in a way that is not only entertaining and novel, but still plays it close enough that the viewer could see how the legends could match up with this particular telling, if a certain amount of narrative drift is allowed for. Since the fourth season just ended in the U.S., it’s time for a post-mortem review; spoilers, as usual, lurk within. Continue reading