5 Things I Hated About Merlin

It has been a month since I watched the season finale of Merlin, yet every time I think of it I still become incredibly angry.

Honestly, from the beginning I knew the show wasn’t the best. At times, the only word that can be used to describe it is “cheesy.” I kept coming back, though, not only because I love the Arthurian legend, but because the chemistry between Arthur and Merlin is so endearing.

When I watched the final episode, I was so disappointed both by the episode itself and by the fact that the series was over and officially failed to live up to my hopes and expectations. My frustrations have mulled and festered within me until I can no longer contain them. Here are my top 5 problems with Merlin, either with the finale or the show in general. (Yes, there are spoilers. That should be obvious.)

1. That truck.

Let me just get this out of the way—I HATE the semi-truck in the very last scene. On my list of things I hate in film, that scene is on the very top of the list. Seriously, guys. I would watch hours of sparkling vampire drama if it meant that those 2 seconds of semi-truck could disappear from cinematic history forever.

2. Repetitive Plots.

Nearly every episode of Merlin follows 1 of 3 basic plots:

  • Arthur or Uther is enchanted by an evil woman, and Merlin must break the spell or CAMELOT WILL FALL!
  • Someone tries to kill Arthur or Uther, and Merlin must save them or CAMELOT WILL FALL!
  • Morgana tries to kill Arthur, and Merlin must save them or CAMELOT WILL FALL!

Don’t forget—Merlin has to do everything without anyone discovering he has magic or—you guessed it—CAMELOT WILL FALL!

Merlin was very close to being a monster-of-the-week kind of show. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just hoped for more. I wanted an epic fantasy retelling of the boy-wizard Merlin, but instead I got formulaic plots.

3. Eternal hipster Merlin.

WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH OLD HIPSTER MERLIN?!

Seriously, though?! What did Merlin do for thousands of years after Arthur’s death? I’m insulted to think that he just walked around the lake waiting for Arthur the whole time. Merlin was the greatest wizard who ever lived, and he didn’t die. He should have done some great, world-changing things by the time we see him walking by that stupid semi-truck (NO, I WON’T GET OVER IT).

4. Arthur died.

The great buildup of the ENTIRE SERIES was this new kingdom that Arthur was going to build. That’s why Merlin told Arthur that there is no place for magic in Camelot. That’s why Merlin rescues Arthur’s life again and again. That’s why Merlin did everything he did in the series–to usher in this new kingdom. And by the end of the series, the kingdom still doesn’t exist, and we’re left with Gwen on the throne. Which means that Gwen was the one who ushered in the great new kingdom. Which makes everything Merlin did essentially pointless.

5. We never see the new kingdom.

For FIVE YEARS the writers taunted us with this great new kingdom where magic was allowed and Merlin could be who he is without fear of persecution. And we never see it. Not even a glimpse. Arthur doesn’t even find out that Merlin is a wizard until he’s dying. I felt gypped. There was so much potential for this awesome show where the crux of the entire plot WASN’T Merlin’s secret, where Merlin actually worked alongside Arthur and helped him build the kingdom, but this show wasn’t it.

There are a lot of things Merlin did really well. For instance, some of the best bromances known to mankind. But that’s why I’m so bothered by Merlin’s failings–it could have been SO MUCH BETTER. I’m disappointed.

What bothered or disappointed you about Merlin?

7 thoughts on “5 Things I Hated About Merlin

  1. Yeah. You basically summed up what I didn’t like about Merlin. Especially that whole ending. Very unsatisfactory. I was so disappointed because the build up made you expect certain things in the ending… and you never got it. Major let down.

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  2. I stopped watching Merlin around the beginning of season three. I could forgive the silliness and the formulaic plots because the cast was so charming, but I was mostly watching the show for Morgana. When she suddenly became evil to the point of erasing all her previous characterization, I knew I was done. And it sounds like I made the right choice!

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  3. Personally what they should’ve done was have Merlin reveal his magic to Arthur and kill Morgana, leaving Mordred as the main antagonist of season 6. The first ha;f of season 6 could’ve been Arthur dealing with the fact that Merlin has magic. I wanted to see him get angry, see him try to cope and understand while the knights of the round table where all on the Merlin love cuz Arthur is a little thick-headed. Have Arthur and Merlin figure out what the heck was wrong with Aithusa and then bring magic back to Camelot. Second half of the season could’ve been dealing with Mordred. The last two episodes could’ve remain, essentially, unchanged. Arthur dies, Merlin waits for his return but at least his destiny would’ve been partially fulfilled.

    Although, and I know it sounds cheesy, did anyone else want to see a little blond boy playing at the lake just when Merlin looks over at it. Then he could’ve smiled a little AND…shows over. It would’ve been better (at the very least) to have a season where Arthur deals with Merlins magic, accepts him and magic back into camelot, and then Mordred can kill him.

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    1. I love your idea. That would have been so much better! I think I even would have been okay with Arthur dying at the end if we at least had a full (or even half!) season of Arthur dealing with the fact that Merlin has magic, and we saw a Camelot where magic was once again allowed.

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  4. I also hate the show for how it portrays the girls. It has this down-right nauseating idea that a woman can’ be both tough and good at the same-time. It has this idea only wimpy damsel-in-distress types are morally and sexually pure in the eyes of God!

    Too bad my family is watching all it all over all because my sister Rachel hasn’t watched it all the way through!!!

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    1. You’re right! I can’t believe I didn’t notice that. I’ll have to watch for it if I ever rewatch Merlin. There are so many things wrong with the show, but I’m such a sucker for Arthurian stories, and there aren’t many options available 😦

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  5. I watched the whole lot again (Jan-March 2015) and bought season 4 and 5 as TV wasn’t showing it quick enough. I was disappointed that Merlin was almost dying several times and yet the wicked witch would get up with no effort. I think Merlin could have revealed himself earlier. Great Job Merlin! Where was that truck scene?

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