When hearing a description of new Netflix drama Cursed – a retelling of Arthurian myth with a younger Arthur, new twists on the legends and revamped versions of characters like Morgana and Guinevere – some UK viewers might find themselves reminded of a certain BBC series which had a similar premise, starring Colin Morgan as a put-upon boy wizard.
Yes, of course we’re talking about Merlin. Like Cursed, Merlin is set “before” the events of the classic myths (at least at first), plays with our expectations and understanding of the centuries-old stories (i.e. bad characters begin as good people) and focuses on a magic-using hero (Katherine Langford’s Nimue) who faces persecution for their background.
And now, some Cursed cast members have admitted that Merlin was a bit of an influence on their performances, with some happily remembering their childhood days watching the series (and yes, that should make you feel old).
“So I watched Merlin growing up, the TV series, like the classic,” Devon Terrell, who plays Arthur in Cursed, told RadioTimes.com. “That was something I grew up on, so I knew that rendition in my head.”
And so, when it came to bringing a younger King Arthur to life, Terrell knew exactly where to draw inspiration from.
“I’d say the Bradley James version of Arthur,” Terrell told us. “I think the wonderful thing is, everyone has a different interpretation. People are going to love it and people are going to hate it. But it’s open to opinion.”
Meanwhile, Terrell’s co-star Daniel Sharman (who plays the villainous Weeping Monk in Cursed) also cited Merlin as a touchstone – partially just because he was such good friends with the former King Arthur himself.
“I had a friend who was in the BBC version of it – Bradley James – and I knew it mainly from that,” Sharman said.
“The reason [this story] kind of does keep re-emerging or being reinterpreted is because there is something very resonant in [The King Arthur legend]. There is something that people really love about that story.”
Of course, Cursed is quite a different take on the classic story – if nothing else, Gustav Skarsgård’s Merlin is a rather different take than Colin Morgan’s – but for any Merlin fans still bereft and wishing for a return to a land of myth and a time of magic, it sounds like they could do worse than check the new series out on Netflix.
If nothing else, we can probably assume it’s Bradley James-approved…