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 Episode 1 ‘Homecoming’

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PostSubject: Episode 1 ‘Homecoming’   Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:24 pm

http://boobtubetalk.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/camelot-1x1-homecoming/

Camelot 1×01 – ‘Homecoming’

Posted by wenuial on March 21, 2011 · Leave a Comment

After all those months of waiting, Starz finally gives us the Pilot episode of Camelot, only to have us waiting yet again. But what’s less than two weeks of waiting? The show continues on the 1st of April, and will be aired on Friday nights. The first season has about 10 episodes, but after having seen what I’ve seen, their contract to renew is almost already written in gold.

Synopsis:

In the wake of King Uther’s sudden death, chaos threatens to engulf Britain. When the sorcerer Merlin has visions of a dark future, he installs the young and impetuous Arthur, Uther’s unknown son and heir, who has been raised from birth as a commoner. But Arthur’s cold and ambitious half sister Morgan will fight him to the bitter end, summoning unnatural forces to claim the crown in this epic battle for control. These are dark times indeed for the new king, with Guinevere being the only shining light in Arthur’s harsh world. Faced with profound moral decisions, and the challenge of uniting a kingdom broken by war and steeped in deception, Arthur will be tested beyond imagination. Forget everything you think you know…this is the story of Camelot that
has never been told before.

Thoughts:

I have faith in Starz. I’ve had faith in them ever since The Pillars of the Earth. And then came Spartacus, and my faith became even stronger.

Even before watching this pilot, I already knew what I was getting into: amazing sets/scenery, some of my favourite actors on screen, beautiful costumes, a bunch of historical/mythological inaccuracies, and if I was extra unlucky, a really cheesy script. Production-wise, Starz has not yet disappointed me. But with Michael Hirst as a co-creator of this and seeing what he did with The Tudors, I knew he’d take his own creative liberties and make it work.

Joseph Fiennes as the Merlin to Eva Green’s Morgan Le Fay is too much hotness for one show, but I’m not complaining. Even the supporting cast is absolutely gorgeous–with James Purefoy as King Lot, Claire Forlani as Queen Igraine (time to start writing that Pre-Arthurian screenplay I shelved), Philip Winchester as Leontes, and Tamsin Egerton as Gwen, everything seems absolutely beautiful–especially that man playing Kay, Peter Mooney, whom I’ve never heard of before, but boy, that’s what I call easy on the eyes.

As for Arthur? Well, I was totally in agreement with what Morgan said when she saw Arthur, “It‘s pretty. It talks. But it is not an heir. … Look at it, not even a convincing pretender. You’re not made of kings, boy, but of common clay.”

But whatever, that was one episode. I’ll reserve true judgement and let him grow into his role. Arthur isn’t supposed to be all high and mighty at this point anyway.

I can’t wait to see out the plots Michael Hirst and Chris Chibnall have in store. Merlin and Morgan were dropping hints all over the place. This is hella going to be an awesome season for TV.
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 1 ‘Homecoming’   Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:32 am

http://www.slantmagazine.com/tv/review/camelot-season-one/244

Camelot: Season One **

by Phillip Maciak on April 7, 2011 Jump to Comments (0) or Add Your Own

It's both a surprise and a relief when James Purefoy bursts through the door of Uther Pendragon's banquet hall on Starz's new Arthurian peep show, Camelot. On HBO's dearly departed Rome, which innovatively chronicled the rise and fall of both the Roman Empire and the bosoms of its citizens, Purefoy—an inveterate scene-stealer—played Marc Antony as lust-crazed, apolitical, and strangely, almost compulsively, honorable. In doing so, he managed to create one of the most memorable small-screen characters in recent history. Here, he brings some of the same cocksure bravado, if less depth, to King Lot, one of a number of figures vying for Pendragon's evacuated throne. While Lot craves the crown, however, Purefoy seems more interested in simply getting off of this ramshackle show as quickly as possible.

Lot's crucial scene comes about midway through the first episode. After being seduced into a political marriage and some pretty raucous consummation by Pendragon's exiled daughter, Morgan (Eva Green), Lot becomes embroiled in a power struggle with Pendragon's other lost offspring, Arthur (Jamie Campbell Bower), and Arthur's mentor, Merlin (Joseph Fiennes). The four, along with their various knights and hangers-on, meet in the entryway to Camelot, which in this show is more of a fixer-upper than the castle we might remember Richard Harris occupying in the 1967 musical. Morgan, Arthur, and Merlin trade barbs like dysfunctional family members after a few drinks at Thanksgiving, and a bored Lot recedes into the background. Finally, after much sniping and bickering, the camera cuts to Lot, sitting on a rock, shaking his head. "Fuck this," he says, and storms off.

Despite injunctions in promotional materials to "Forget all you know" about Arthurian legend, very little about this revision of the tale is new, and what is new is ultimately not that interesting. Indeed, we've seen the "gritty" take on various works of childhood mythology so many times that it's become a convention in and of itself (see, notably, Antoine Fuqua's 2004 King Arthur). The Arthurian legend, in other words, wasn't due for a radical revision in this mode, and it certainly doesn't receive one here.

What makes Lot's declaration so resonant is that it serves as a kind of meta-commentary on the show itself. Having established himself on a highly successful, highly influential, and highly individual revisionist historical epic, Purefoy seems out of place in this rote genre exercise. Camelot's mossy aesthetic palate and Bronx-meets-Brittania lexicon could easily be mistaken for Ridley Scott's snoozy Robin Hood; its goopy moral center might have been lifted from the most recent installment of the Shrek series; and its bizarrely pat utilization of shape-shifting seems undercooked in comparison with the work being done by those sexy beasts on HBO's True Blood.

So far, in other words, Camelot isn't worth watching for its new take on legends of old. What does make it worth watching, however, is a pair of engrossing performances from a couple of resilient, under-the-radar actors. The battle between the green Arthur, the wild and wise Merlin, and the ruthlessly savvy Morgan is mirrored in its casting: Green and Fiennes tear through the screen, and Bower, otherwise a perfectly serviceable rake, becomes basically invisible when either of them are in view.

Green exploded onto the scene with her enrapturing turn as the hinge of a love triangle in Bertolucci's 2003 ode to nudity and the French New Wave, The Dreamers. But since then, her talents (at least her dramatic ones) have been inexplicably underused, most notably in her turn as a Bond girl. Here she inhabits a role that would normally be occupied by an aging B actress who is willing to take her top off (Lucy Lawless, for instance, in Starz's similarly exploitative Spartacus: Blood and Sand). More than that, the plot repeatedly puts Green into situations that no actor, no matter how great, could survive with ego intact, including a scene that seems lifted from a Twilight porn parody. The authentic, searing rage she brings to the part in spite of all this must be partially generated by the indignity she feels at being buried before she's dead.

Campbell Bower's Arthur feels more like Young Indiana Jones than the Once and Future King, but, luckily, he shares most of his scenes with Fiennes's nonsensical yet brilliant Merlin. Jettisoning the white beard and pointy hat of legend, Fiennes's buzz-cut, tattooed sorcerer would look more at home in the mosh pit of a D.C. hardcore show than at the Round Table. Capturing some of the energy and genuine likability of his performance in Shakespeare In Love, and leavening it with a healthy dose of Travis Bickle, the actor's madcap, crazy-eyed performance is a pleasure to watch. Fiennes, like Green, seems to be relishing the opportunity below his weight class, effectively rescuing each scene he's in by momentarily distracting the audience from the travesty that surrounds him.

And Camelot is a bit of a travesty. Like The Borgias, which debuted the same weekend, Camelot is an enthusiastic entry into the sword-and-sandals/T&A epic genre. We first meet Arthur fondling the breasts of a young country girl, Morgan wears nuns' habits that would appear immodest in a Madonna video, and Guinevere first appears nude on a beach in what is, I'm fairly certain, an intentional reference to Bo Derek in 10. And like The Borgias, Camelot often seems to be motivated by little more than a schoolyard curiosity about what sex looked like in olden times. Given all this, it's very tempting to follow Purefoy's lead and say, "Fuck this," to the whole kit and kaboodle.

But the strength of Camelot, as opposed to its similarly lecherous twin The Borgias, is that it does not seem to take itself at all seriously. Compared with the legion of Shakespearean thespians smothering The Borgias, the leads on Camelot can seem positively refreshing. Green and Fiennes have what seems to be free reign with their portrayals, and, as a result, they're producing some of the most idiosyncratic and engaging character work on TV right now.

This is not HBO or even Showtime, and nobody is holding their breath for Camelot to pull down any Emmys this year, but these diminished expectations actually work in the show's favor. Camelot plays it fast and loose with genre, historical authenticity, and good taste in general, but there's a certain lack of cynicism about the proceedings that's surprising for a show that, on the surface, seems like just another exploitative historical melodrama. It's not easy, with all the silly one-liners, oddball plot twists, and frat-party ambience, to get terribly invested in who will win the power struggle that Camelot dramatizes. But if Fiennes and Green could stage a coup, wresting control of the show from its tawdrier impulses, then that might just be something worth watching.

Purefoy's anachronistic expletive is by no means the only one that is uttered on Camelot, and midway through the second episode, Fiennes delivers something of a riposte to Lot's dismissal. As Merlin watches Arthur valiantly striving to extract Excalibur from its famous stone, an old peasant approaches and begins to hector him about the impracticality of his plan. Merlin stares straight ahead, with a gleam in his eye, and as if in response to Purefoy and anyone else—like this critic, for instance—who might think this show not worth their time, he simply says, "Piss off." Duly noted, Merlin.
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 1 ‘Homecoming’   Sat May 07, 2011 4:07 pm

http://dramapunk.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/camelot-starz-episode-1-homecoming-review/

Camelot (Starz) – Episode 1 “Homecoming” Review
By dpninjapunk

Since I was watching and loving “Game of Thrones” I’ve decided to hit another medieval fantasy show hoping I would love it the same. Yes, that’s right I decided to hit Starz’ “Camelot”. First, let me say that I love Arthurian legend. I’ve seen “The Mists of Avalon”, read the book it was based on, read many other books based on Arthurian legend and of course seen BBC’s “Merlin”. I’ve seen so many interpretation’s of Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot and Morgan that I’ve felt like I’ve seen it all. So I’ll give Starz props for showing me a new take on Merlin and some surprising twists on Arthurian canon. Otherwise, this is a show I’ve seen before.

The show begins as Morgan (Eva Green) walks into Uther’s (Sebastian Koch) court and demands her rightful place but is promptly smacked down by her father in front of his current wife. And that is the only scene to show the contention between father and daughter before Morgan has her father poisoned and sets the story in motion. Merlin (Joseph Fiennes) rides to a small country home to find Arthur (Jamie Campbell Bower), a pretty loverboy with nary a care, and tells him he is Uther’s only heir. Soon, he takes Arthur along and declares Arthur’s legitimacy to the court and to Morgan. Thus, Morgan manipulates King Lot (James Purefoy) into conflict with Arthur, while Arthur gains the loyalty of some of his father’s vassals including King Leontes (Philip Winchester).

Forget Cersei, I don't want to face Morgan Le Fay.

Sadly, no, it's not what you're thinking...

A hairless Merlin... with scars... and some dark secrets... mmm...


A confused look that you, the audience, should get comfortable with.

A beautiful shot of a decrepit Camelot. It looks full of promise of glory.

This Igraine looks too young and beautiful for a son of Arthur's age.


Sir Kay... who I think might make a better Arthur.

King Lot, who has Arthur pissing in his pants.

Here is a king! Oh you squared jaw one you.



“It’s pretty, it talks, but it is not an heir.”

My thoughts exactly, Miss Morgan Le Fay! No offense to Jamie Campbell Bower, but I can’t believe anyone would swear loyalty to you just because you’re Uther’s son. Don’t you know the times Arthur lives in? It’s Medieval! These are manly men who fights wars in tons of armor and believe any man without scars is still a boy. Who would follow such a small pretty boy as High King? Even if he has Merlin backing him up. He has no command presence. Even if he’s suppose to be starting out as a character to be all confused and lost, there is suppose to be a glimmer within him of a king one day. Or even a depth of something. Somehow this Arthur comes off shallow like a dish. It could also be the show’s decision (and Merlin’s) to rush Arthur off to Camelot rather then give him sometime to find his way (metaphorically and literally). I don’t feel as if Arthur’s yet earn his right to claim his heritage. I don’t believe it when all these kings would just follow Arthur or Arthur to deserve it. In comparison’s to the rest of the cast’s dramatic intensity, or the show’s adult theme, I feel as if this Arthur belongs with BBC’s Merlin or some other teen style Arthur retelling. Jamie Campbell Bower’s acting is eerily reminiscent of the young Leonardo Di Caprio’s in “Titanic” and “Romeo+Juliet.”

The rest of the cast was great, Green as Morgan was scarily fascinating. Just her presence alone exudes something magical and frightening. Merlin looks different from so many other portayals. Here is a Merlin who looks like he’s battle scarred but still capable of picking up a sword or getting into a sorcerers’ battle. Here is a Merlin that looks more like a wolf than a kindly old adviser to a boy king. It’s just unfortunate that this Arthur looks more like a lamb than anyone who could possibly match wits and skills with Morgan and perhaps Merlin. Sir Kay, for moments when he holds the screen, seems to have more depths than Arthur. He can look like he’s thinking without looking like he’s thinking too hard. He can also look like he’s aware of the things going on around him. There’s even Philip Winchester as King Leontes who can shine out among a crowd of rugged men and look kingly. It’s the spark of presence and authority and confidence that this Arthur just lacks.

The story has some surprising twists, such as magic being harmful to the user, or Merlin is possibly manipulative, but so far the story is marching pretty closely to Arthur lore despite the obvious presence of magic. In storytelling, I’m not finding anything intriguing that makes me want to rush to the next episode. So far, the story, the tension, the suspense, is rudimentary. I’m not very impressed. The only ‘adult’ thing about this show is the service scenes tossed in for good measure. Am I going to watch the next episode? Maybe, if I feel like it’s talking too long for a new episode of “Game of Thrones” or I might as well hop over to “The Borgias” to check it out.

Did you like “Camelot”? Do you hate it? Comments welcomed below.
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PostSubject: Re: Episode 1 ‘Homecoming’   Sat May 07, 2011 4:47 pm

http://geeksyndicate.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/tv-review-camelot-season-1-eps-1-2-homecoming-and-the-sword-and-the-crown/

TV Review: Camelot Season 1 Eps 1 & 2–Homecoming and The Sword and the Crown

Posted by Mirjana on May 3, 2011

Hey, everyone. New here, happy to be contributing. I’ll be reviewing Starz’s Camelot, starting from the beginning, even though it’s halfway through its 10 episode run here in the States.

Camelot is the latest in a long line of productions taking on the story of King Arthur, the most recent being the BBC’s Merlin. Make no mistake about it, though: Camelot is NOT a family show.

While Starz offered an advance peek of the pilot “Homecoming,” the first two episodes aired together when the series officially premiered on April 1, 2011. I really think that’s how they should be watched, so I’ll be reviewing them together, and thus this review will be longer. Beware: Spoilers Ahead…

Brief Episode(s) Summary:

Morgan Pendragon, King Uther’s exiled daughter, returns and poisons her father (nothing kicks off a series like a good regicide, I’ve always said). While she makes a bid for the throne through an alliance with one of Uther’s rivals (King Lot), Merlin rushes off to collect Arthur, Uther’s illegitimate son. Arthur lives in a rural village, raised there by foster parents and ignorant of his true parentage. Armed with Uther’s will acknowledging Arthur as his son, Merlin convinces Arthur to come back with him to the ancient castle of Camelot.

Morgan (who was ignorant of Arthur’s existence) and King Lot oppose Arthur from the start, murdering his foster mother in an attempt to break his spirit. He is given five days to mourn and then leave. Instead, Merlin sets his plan for Arthur into motion. Realizing that Arthur needs the people’s support, Merlin brings him to the Sword of the Gods, which is embedded in a stone at the top of a waterfall. Arthur successfully removes the sword, which, according to legend, means that he will be the king to unite all of Britain. Immediately upon doing so, he falls and is gravely injured.

Word spreads to Morgan and King Lot, who quarrel about it. Lot resolves to attack Arthur immediately. Morgan rides ahead to warn Arthur; not because she cares, but because she’s angry with Lot.

When Arthur wakes from his injuries, he finds a castle full of people ready to swear fealty to him. He is crowned King, but Lot’s men infiltrate the celebration. When all is said and done, King Lot is dead, and Morgan has to find another way to try and take Arthur’s throne, making it perfectly clear that they can never work together.

Review:

I’ll be honest. I watched “Homecoming” on its own when it aired a month prior to the premiere date and didn’t care for it. I didn’t like Jamie Campbell Bower as Arthur, and I thought that Joseph Fiennes’s Merlin was a total creeper. Even so, when Starz aired the first two episodes back to back on premiere night, I decided to give it another chance. I’m glad I did.

Episodes 1 and 2 are very much about Arthur’s transition from a boy to a man and king. At first, there was nothing about him that gave any indication that he could become the great King Arthur of legend. But as the episode went on, with Merlin’s guidance, he learned to stand on his own two feet and by the time he gave his coronation speech I was nearly convinced. In retrospect, I think Jamie Campbell Bower did very well with the character, taking him from a young, scared village boy to the young King Arthur, around whom people are already rallying.

The biggest surprise for me was Merlin. After seeing the first episode, I didn’t like him at all. He’s very intense about Arthur; you learn that he orchestrated the circumstances surrounding Arthur’s birth, and that he’s been watching him ever since. It’s a bit creepy. But put into context with the second episode, you see that the intensity comes from believing so strongly that Arthur will be this great king, and he’s willing to do anything to make it so.

Interestingly, we learn early on that Merlin has sworn off his magical powers, saying that they are “cursed,” but offering no further explanation. He often looks tormented, primarily when someone mentions his powers. On the other hand, he’s also funny, and intelligent, and seems to be genuinely proud of Arthur. Joseph Fiennes does a great job juggling it all.

Eva Green is spectacular as Morgan. She’s the “bad guy,” yet I also found her sympathetic. Deeply affected by Uther’s alleged murder of her mother, she seems to take issue with King Lot killing Arthur’s foster mother. Even so, she is definitely determined to unseat Arthur, guided by magical forces that Merlin very clearly warns her away from. I would love to know more about the history of their relationship—definitely something to look forward to.

The supporting cast is great. Guinevere is played by Tamsin Egerton—we only see her a few times, just enough to establish the attraction between her and Arthur, and to find out that she’s already betrothed to another. Claire Forlani is Queen Igraine, Uther’s widow and Arthur’s biological mother. She’s one to watch, because you get the feeling that her guidance will be very important for Arthur as he goes on. Peter Mooney and Philip Winchester play Kay (Arthur’s brother) and Leontes respectively, the two who are closest and most loyal to Arthur. We’ll see how that changes when Leontes loses Guinevere to Arthur.

All in all a very enjoyable two episodes, but again, I highly recommend viewing them together.

Episode 1 Rating: 3/5
Episode 2 Rating: 4.5/5
GS Reporter: Mirjana
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