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'Cursed' Season 1 Netflix Review: A New Kind of King Arthur Tale

'Cursed' Season 1 Netflix Review: A New Kind of King Arthur Tale

Everyone knows about King Arthur, but what do we know about the Lady of the Lake? This series explores her struggle, and we learn of her sadness and woe.

Fantasy fiction can go multiple ways. It's doubly so when you let people make series out of fantasy books. A perfect example is the Game of Thrones series. It had so much potential until the final season wrapped up, and both readers and watchers alike were left wondering what the hell they just witnessed. Unlike Game of Thrones, however, Arthurian legends have been part of our popular lore for centuries.

Before the Legends

The story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table are well known throughout the world. Netflix's new series Cursed looks at the Arthurian legends with a new spin on it. In this version of medieval England, we find a weak and blubbering King Uther Pendragon, multiple factions of Nords, and non-human species called The Fae, which also features in regular British folklore. However, our protagonist is not Arthur, although he does make an appearance in the film. It's a Fae girl called Nimue who goes from being a shaman with control of unknown powers named "The Hidden" to being a sword-wielding queen. It's alluded that this Nimue will eventually become the Lady of the Lake, who hands Arthur the sword Excalibur.

Merlin the Wizard

Taking Things From a New Angle

Nimue's village is burned to the ground, and her people slaughtered by a religious order known as The Red paladins, tasked with wiping out all non-humans in Brittania. While they've been mostly successful because of a secret weapon (a mysterious hunter who can smell Fae), they picked the wrong girl's village to burn. Nimue's mother dies in front of her during the raid but grants Nimue a sword right before she dies and bids her find the magician, Merlin. At this stage of his life, the magician has lost his magic and spends his time going around Uther's kingdom shirtless and drunk. He is, however, still a formidable foe. Nimue and Merlin are much closer connected than we first think, and as things start barrelling to a conclusion, we're left to see double-crosses and triple-crosses. Through the whole series, we're left to wonder if the Red paladins will actually get their wish to exterminate the Fae or if Nimue will be able to get them away to safety in time.

The Red Paladins Plot Extermination

 

Who is this Series For?

Viewers who have cut their teeth on Game of Thrones might enjoy the series, but the pacing is decidedly different from that show's. Regular fans of fantasy can get sunk into this series quickly, and the time investment isn't much (ten hours) as it's only a single season thus far. It's nothing groundbreaking, and there aren't any clashes where you get extended sweeping shots of the battlefield, but there's a lot of one-on-one fighting and gore if you're into that sort of thing.

There hasn't been anything written about the Lady of the Lake, and there's a lot the writers can explore. This fact might help to push the showrunners and make for a more original series over the long term. The first season does end on a similar note to Game of Thrones (hence the comparison to it in popular media). Still, one suspects the writers will be taking this series in a different (and hopefully, better written) direction. With experienced graphic novel writers Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler adapting their own work for the screen, we're likely to see an explosive series if left to continue.

Final Verdict: 7/10

The series has several familiar characters from the legends and keeps us entertained with a little sprinkling of magic. It's not a sword-and-sorcery epic, but it does encompass some aspects of humanity. The plot isn't predictable, and the characters are decently well fleshed out. While it's not wholly believable (it IS a fantasy, after all), it provides a lot of things to think about. It's admirable in that it doesn't pretend to be something it's not. Even so, there are points that could have been done better, even though the story still holds together. If you're watching this without an inkling of the legends associated with it, you'll be surprised by the outcome. Whether it'll be a good surprise, I'll leave for you to decide.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by trinikid.com

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