Tomorrow night (9pm ET) SyFy premieres SCHOOL SPIRITS, a new reality based series from the creators of CELEBRITY GHOST STORIES and Mark Burnett Productions. They go inside high schools and colleges where paranormal activities are noted – and we get to tag along. right here. Plus an apology to President Bush from “The King” and TMNT gets shelved.
Thirteen episodes of sorcery and swordplay, dragons and demons, bewitchings and betrayals comes to a head this Friday when the fourth season of MERLIN culminates in an exhilarating season finale entitled “The Sword in the Stone, Part 2,” premiering March 30 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
only on Syfy.
For cast members Colin Morgan (merlin), Bradley James (Arthur) and Katie McGrath (Morgana), the fourth season has been filled with memorable moments for both the actors and viewers. (more…)
You gotta give writer/director Nick Willing credit. He continues to mine public domain works to give them modern day twists and gets Syfy to pay for them. Overall, these have been largely hit or miss affairs which began way back in 2007 with Tin Man, reimagining L. Frank Baum’s Tin woodsman as a sheriff in Oz with Neal McDonough doing his best with weak material. It was still head and shoulders about the god awful 2009 debacle Alice, that proved Willing had no ear to the lyricism of the authors he was pillaging.
Undaunted, thanks to positive ratings from an undiscerning audience, last winter Willing returned with Neverland, a prequel to James Barrie’s Peter Pan. In this version, it all began centuries ago, when the pirate Elizabeth Bonny (Anna Friel) came upon a glowing orb amongst her spoils and when she tired of it and used it for target practice, it shattered, sending the ship and crew to Neverland, a colorful dimension. We then jump ahead and meet Peter (Charlie Rowe), an orphan; prowling the streets of 1906 London, partnered with Jimmy (Rhys Ifans). When the gang steals the same orb, they disappear, leaving Peter and Jimmy alone. Tracking down the orb’s owner, Peter is taken to Neverland and his all-too familiar adventures begin. In addition to riffing on Barrie, the miniseries also borrows heavily from many of the pop culture genre hits from the last decade.
Bonny is still around, cozying up to Jimmy, whom she now dubs Hook, and in time we touch on all the Barrie tropes from Indians to crocodiles. New characters to the tale include Queen Elizabeth’s alchemist, Dr. Fludd (Charles Dance), who finds a spirit he dubs Tinkerbell (voiced by Keira Knightly). Bob Hoskins reprises his Smee from the misguided Hook film from the 1990s. Overall, it’s an appealing cast doing the best they can with poor writing and unoriginal material.
Producers Robert Halmi, Sr. and Jr. know how to stretch a buck, get just enough recognizable names into the cast for international sales and turn literary classics into Velveeta. The miniseries utilizes tons of green screen work but it’s low budget green screen so isn’t as sharp as it should be. In the conversational commentary by Willing, he goes on at length about working with green screen and some of that is more interesting than the story itself.
The video is an acceptable transfer with fine sound. The miniseries comes with a scant handful of extras beyond the commentary. The best of the lot is the 22 minute Neverland: Access All Areas featureete used to promote the miniseries before it aired. You get a woefully inadequate 15 minutes of The Story Behind the Story: Cast Interviews, and a brief look at Green Screen to Scene; a visually interesting Journey into Neverland: Art Gallery.
The shift to filming in glorious 35mm has opened new doors of creative storytelling for the crew of MERLIN, and the evidence is clear in the lush cinematography and haunting approach to “Lamia,” an all-new episode MERLIN premiering Friday, February 24, at 10 p.m. ET/PT only on Syfy.
The episode sets Merlin and several Knights of the Round Table on the road to a distant village to help treat those inflicted with a mysterious illness – but the young warlock quickly discovers he is the one in danger. As the Knights become increasingly bewitched by an alluring young woman named Lamia, Merlin finds himself with only Gwen as an ally as he’s lured into a game of cat and mouse against an unseen enemy more deadly than he could possibly imagine. (more…)
For six seasons, he played the traitorous Gaius Baltar on Battlestar Galactica. This Friday, James Callis brings his acting talents to the international hit series MERLIN, playing the equally unscrupulous Julius Borden.
And in his first scene in this Friday’s episode, titled “Aithusa,” Callis comes face to face with the man who was once his mentor – fittingly, court physician Gaius.
Once the pupil of MERLIN’s Gaius, Borden left Camelot during the Great Purge, but in the darkness returns to Camelot looking for the third part of the Triskelion – an ancient object that promises to reveal the location of the last dragon egg.
Despite a stern warning from Gaius, Merlin offers to help Borden if it means he can fulfill his obligation as the Last Dragonlord to ensure the survival of the species. But the task turns deadly when Merlin realizes exactly why Borden wants the egg.
Although the Great Dragon, Kilgharrah (voiced by John Hurt), figured prominently in the first season of MERLIN, in the last two seasons his primary function has been to give advice to Merlin and help him in times of greatest threat. It was Kilgharrah, for instance, who cautioned Merlin that “your determination to see goodness in people will be your undoing.”
In “Aithusa,” however, the Great Dragon assumes a much more prominent role in the story. In the last two seasons, MERLIN “has shown his separation, his independence from the Dragon,” says actor Colin Morgan, who plays Merlin. “At the beginning of Season One, the Dragon was a confidante, someone Merlin needed help from. Slowly and slowly, they grew apart, and the Dragon’s motives became slightly unclear, so there has been a question of trust between them.” (more…)
It is “The Wicked Day,” indeed, for Merlin, Arthur – and all of Camelot.
It begins with a festive birthday celebration for Prince Arthur … but ends as the destinies of Arthur and the warlock Merlin come clear. This one enormously fateful day is the backdrop for an all-new episode MERLIN, titled “The Wicked Day,” which premieres Friday, January 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT only on Syfy.
Written by Howard Overman, creator of the popular British sci-fi series Misfits, and directed by Alice Troughton, “The Wicked Day” is a pivotal episode in the saga of Camelot – and begins with the arrival of a sinister-looking visitor named The Gleeman. (more…)
Just as one mysterious character departs, another enters as MERLIN welcomes its newest addition – Agravaine, chief adviser to the King. Played by acclaimed actor Nathaniel Parker, the character provides yet another potential snake in Camelot’s grass for Arthur and Merlin as they fend off Morgana’s attack in the epic conclusion of the season-opening, two-part episode entitled “The Darkest Hour, Part 2.” The episode premieres this Friday, January 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy.
The magic of MERLIN continues to cast a spell over audiences: Last Friday’s fourth-season premiere of MERLIN attracted the biggest-ever first-episode audience in its Syfy history, with viewership 29% higher for Season 4 than Season 3. Episodes from all three previous seasons are available on iTunes, and Season 3 will be released January 17 on DVD.
In “The Darkest Hour, Part 2” the kingdom of Camelot is on the brink of collapse as Lancelot (Santiago Cabrera) races back to Camelot with the dying Merlin, the Dorocha continue their siege on the kingdom, Arthur considers an unthinkable sacrifice … and Morgana waits to strike. (more…)
The poetic irony of Shakespeare’s phrasing is not lost on Anthony Head. When the Bard wrote that “uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” even he could not have known what was in store for the actor Head’s royal character as the fourth season of MERLIN begins tomorrow at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy.
As the new season opens, Head’s character – King Uther – is a mere shadow of himself, mired in bleak despair after realizing that his illegitimate daughter Morgana has arisen to become his greatest enemy, using dark magic to besiege Camelot and its leaders.
The first of a two-part episode, “The Darkest Hour, Part 1” finds Morgana’s blinkered determination threatening not only Arthur’s future, but the very balance of the world. With her magic stronger than ever, the sorceress summons the mighty Callieach (pronounced “kay-lix”) to tear open the veil between the worlds. Hellish creatures – the Derocha – pour forth, killing any who succumb to their touch. With King Uther in dire straights, it falls to Merlin, Arthur and his loyal Knights to protect the kingdom.
Head, the beloved Rupert Giles of Joss Whedon’s cult classic TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, enters his fourth season as Camelot’s monarch Uther Pendragon. The actor has been particularly busy for the past year working in television on both MERLIN and reprising his role
on NBC’s Free Agents, as well as appearing in feature films, including The Iron Lady alongside Meryl Streep and the upcoming sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.
QUESTION: After all that happened in Season 3, how has Uther’s perspective changed entering Season 4 … and how does that change things in Camelot?
ANTHONY HEAD: Uther is broken man. Everything that he basically believed in and held
as reality has shifted. I’d say he’s not playing with a full set of marbles. And all of that means Arthur has more responsibility, and there is another – Nathaniel Parker has joined the cast as Agravaine – who has been drafted to act as the chancellor, to politically help
Arthur. It’s an interesting and kind of logical progression from where we were. (more…)