(This is an ask meme where I try to describe a franchise I’ve never seen based on “dashboard osmosis,” i.e. what I’ve learned of it from fandom.)
It’s not too obscure, my dash used to be really into BBC Merlin!
I’m a big Arthuriana fan nerd so I know who the characters are, or who they’re meant to be.
BBC Merlin is a television show about “what would happen if Merlin and Arthur were the same age, and Merlin kind of pined for Arthur in a one-sided and Extra Gay way, in a land where magic exists but is outlawed. Also all the weird incesty dark stuff is sanded over.”
The result is Merlin, as a skinny Welsh kid with enormous ears and a red bandana. A large dragon and his cranky professor are insistent that he be friends with Arthur, because they love jock/nerd friendships.
Arthur’s father, played by Anthony Stewart Head, is outraged about everything. He is also alive. This is okay because all of Arthuriana is fan fiction anyway. I assume his name is Uther, because that’s what Arthur’s father is named in canon, but he might be called Gaius.
I feel like there is definitely a “gaius,” but that might be because Gaius Baltar is a character, or because ASH also played a guy called Giles. I have seen 6 episodes of Buffy and 1 of Battlestar. So I would know. Maybe the Dragon is called Gaius. Anyway, Merlin shakes his fist at the sky a lot, shouting “GAIUS!” , and I don’t think he’s yelling at another franchise.
Magic is illegal. The penalty is probably death. But Merlin is magic. He gets around this by doing lots of magic, and – this is the strange part – nobody ever notices.
Guinevere, or Gwen, is played by the Most Beautiful Girl In the World, but I don’t know if she actually does anything related to the Great Tragic Romance Plot; I think she may just hang out in a smithy, vaguely banging pans together and being sensible. It’s smart of her to stay out of it.
Morgan appears to be a cousin, rather than a sister, and apart from looking fabulous in the distance, she does not appear to menace Arthur. She does magic too but is marginally capable of actually keeping it a secret. I don’t think a Mordred ever happens but I’m okay with that. If there is a Mordred he’s probably a kitten that Arthur found.
The other knights might be around, but I don’t think they do much except go “oooh!” And “aaaah!” In unison when something happens. This is definitely not a Round Table show, the subject of the show is the eponymous Merlin and his pining, so there don’t appear to be any questing beasts or mysterious maidens imprisoned in bowers, or random digressions into the state of the ruling family in Nubia, or strange backwater incest plots, or even Mads Mikkelsen in a fur coat for no reason. So that’s kind of refreshing, although I do think the ensemble nature of Arthuriana is part of its charm, much like how the world of Harry Potter is larger than the central character. I also think the “king who invents chivalry and unites England” plot doesn’t happen.This is Arthuriana Lite, a college-AU.
“Now elodie,” you may say, “there’s like 15 seasons of this show. where is the drama and conflict, if there are no weird quests or politics and no incest?”
Ahh, you see, this is a romantic comedy show. The drama and conflict comes from Merlin, who is Gay AF, trying to win his prospective boyfriend’s father over. Arthur is oblivious and does not know he’s being courted. Uther is outraged and constantly being attacked by falling chandeliers or strange demands from the peasantry, all of which put him in a worse mood. Merlin does magic to rescue or impress Uther, then remembers that magic is illegal, so he panics and pretends it was a sudden gust of wind or an invisible badger or ergot-induced hysteria. Uther eyes him suspiciously and still doesn’t like him. Merlin tries even more desperately for Uther’s approval, and then goes to Puzzlewood and cries on a dragon about it.
“Have you told Arthur that you value his friendship yet,” the dragon says.
“Why would I do that?” Merlin says.
Then he looks sad, in the rain, with his enormous ears.
Arthur is beautiful, but utterly oblivious.
#BBC Merlin #anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog #unreality cw?