It was fun watching Merlin's character grow last year, but the writers toyed a lot with character relationships for the sake of the plot. This year, the show is entirely too plot-centered. The characters are still dealing with the same issues and reacting the same way they always have. The knights are still playfully insulting one another, Merlin's still taking flack from Arthur, magicians are still the villains, and Merlin's still hiding his secret. Same old, same old. Except now Gwen is stiff and boring and she and Arthur barely look at each other. The entire last episode was dedicated to one idea: Arthur realizing he doesn't want to emulate his father anymore. I just wish they hadn't wasted an entire episode to do it.
For the first time, the guest characters are the most interesting part. I want to see Mordred and Sefa again. I wish Queen Annis had stuck around longer, and I'm really excited to see Princess Mithian return. I'm crossing my fingers that the next episode will bring back the old excitement, because the only thing I can remember laughing at in the last three episodes was completely unintentional: a whole mine filled with sweaty, shirtless, muscular knights. I didn't count, but I'm pretty sure that's a new record.
I'M NOT SCHITZO, I JUST HAVE A FLAIR FOR THE DRAMATIC
I'm one of those weird people who likes to talk to themselves. I make up stories in my bedroom and spout one-sided arguments in my car. Thankfully, we live in an age of cell phones and stereos, which makes it less obvious I’m a crazy person. What’s more, I love trying out accents. I would be mortified if any Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman, Australian, New Yorker, or Southerner ever actually heard my ill-attempts, but to my Midwestern American ears, I'm not half bad. I was completely hopeless at the Aussie accent until Netflix and Hulu came along and gave me Dance Academy and H2O: Just Add Water. I guess marathoning Australian television got me in the zone.
SHA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA, MY OH MY
H2O is corny and extremely predictable, but rather addicting. I suppose with a premise like “human by land, mermaid by sea” it’s hard not to be overly corny, but by the time I was halfway through season 2, I had totally suspended my disbelief and kept pressing the auto-play button, eagerly waiting for the “twists” that I already knew were coming. I was originally interested in it because I recognized two of the main actresses: Claire Holt (The Vampire Diaries), and Phoebe Tonkin (The Secret Circle). Then I discovered that Zane a.k.a. Burgess Abernethy was also in an episode of Dance Academy, and season two introduces none other than Craig Horner (Legend of the Seeker). It’s so fun to see their younger selves with their original accents, especially since I didn’t realize Claire and Phoebe were Aussies.
CASTLES IN THE SKY
In other news, the fifth season of Castle is off to a promising start. This was still a prep episode, but I’m hoping for some really entertaining episodes in the next few weeks. Beckett’s revenge plot has been reeled back in. There was humor and romance, and crime solving flurries. Everything seems pretty normal…for Castle. I’ve always had confidence that these writers could handle bringing Castle and Beckett together as a couple; the so-called “Moonlighting curse” be hanged. My favorite couple-y moment was when Castle wanted to whisk Kate away to some remote island so she’d be safe, and she just sighed and laid her head on his chest and cuddled. It was oddly natural. Odd because it’s new, natural because they know each other so well already.
I’m liking Captain Gates more and more with each episode. I liked her to begin with, but now I’m not being pestered by the fantastic four’s crotchety complaints about her. As far as I can tell, she’s got the best moral compass on the show, which is comforting because Esposito’s spiraling. One of my favorite lines in the episode was the way she told Beckett, “I don’t believe you.” It’s nice that she sees right through Beckett and Castle’s BS, which is actually kind of the way that Montgomery was, too. Montgomery just handled it a little differently. Okay, a lot differently.