Warning: This post contains spoilers up until the fifth season of Merlin
So after a lot of speculating, hoping and waiting, it’s finally been revealed that the fifth season of Merlin will be the last.
Reactions among fans has been either:
1. ‘Noooo! How could they do this?!’
2. ‘I’m not that fussed since I haven’t enjoyed the fifth series so much.’
3. ‘I’m upset but I think it’s better for the show to end on an epic high.’
I’m number three. Of course I was really sad when I heard the news, and it was kind of mean of the BBC to admit it right in the middle of airing season 5, as if to say ‘take that fans, you have nothing left to look forward to!’
Like the type one fans, I do secretly wish the show could go on forever and that they could air a new episode every single week all year round. Except for that to happen, the cast and crew would have to never sleep ever again.
I know a few people who haven’t really enjoyed the most recent season so much, either because of the constant character deaths or the storytelling and directing quality dropping in their opinion. In response to characters dropping like flies, this is Arthurian legend, what did you expect?! In some cases it’s down to actors not being available. That’s just how the television business works. And in others, particularly King Uther’s death, it was necessary to advance the story. Sad as it is, Arthur can’t become King Arthur until his dad kicks the bucket.
Personally I haven’t’ seen any drop in quality. There are less filler episodes and more ongoing story arcs, which is what I wanted from the start. Maybe some people prefer the light hearted cheesiness from the early seasons. But you have to remember that there are children who have been watching the show since the beginning and as they’ve grown up, the show has to grow up with them.
I was very sad when I first heard the news. Merlin is not only my favorite show but it has been an important part of my life for 5 years. This means no more new episodes to look forward to. No more trips to Pierrefonds to try and catch a glimpse of filming. No more looking out for any tiny hints of homoerotic subtext.
But we did know from the beginning that Merlin was planned to last for 5 seasons and there was no guarantee of an extension. It’s much harder than you think to produce a show as big as this, especially since it involves filming in France, England and Wales. Plus the whole format of the show is ‘Merlin and Arthur as young men’ and coming of age stories can only go on for so long.
All in all, it is always best for a show to duck out at their peak rather than dwindle away with weaker storylines. Most writers feel like they have enough creativity to last for hundreds of years, but the truth is there is only so much you can write about one set of characters. Nostalgia Critic is a prime example. He went out with a bang by basically becoming the universe and we remember him for it. And Doug Walker’s new show Demo Reel is just as silly, funny and entertaining.
Not only that, but the busy schedule is very hard on the actors. I think all the cast and crew deserve a medal for how hard they’ve worked just so we can have something to watch at tea time. They all deserve a good rest and since many of the actors are still fairly young, they’re probably desperate to spread their wings a big more and try out other projects. Merlin has given them the position to do that now and it would be unfair to force them to stay in one job for years and years.
It’s hard to accept the end of the road is here, but the good thing about fandom is that it never truly ends. That’s why we have DVD’s and Youtube and fan fiction. Truthfully, I’ve gone completely off interacting with other Merlin fans. I know most of them are lovely, but there seems to be far too many who give the rest of the fandom a bad name.
But that doesn’t stop me enjoying the show and wont’ stop me loving it for years to come. It’s the type of show you would be happy to pass on to your children or grand children some day.
There is still the possibility of a Merlin film, but I still feel that if it did get made, it would have to be done in the right way. I’d rather see no film at all than a bad film which puts the rest of the show to shame.
Well, those are just my thoughts on the end of Merlin, for now at least. I’m looking forward to an epic finale and hopefully we’ll finally get the big magic reveal. It’ll be worth waiting five years just to see that!