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Monday, August 17, 2020

Netflix Picks: Cursed

Netflix has recently come out with a series that re-imagines the story that revolves around Excalibur and the legend of King Arthur. Titled Cursed, it revolves around the character Nimue, who, as the series insinuates, will eventually become the Lady of the Lake in the stories of King Arthur and Camelot. 


Based on an illustrated novel, the story from a different point of view. It is more about Nimue, who is given the sword Excalibur by her dying mother and instructed to deliver it to the wizard Merlin. Throughout the course of the series the viewers meet the people who she crosses paths with along her journey, some are familiar names from the Arthurian legends, who are revealed in a straightforward fashion. Some, the viewers get to know more before their true characters and roles in the legend are revealed. I really liked that about the show. The reveal for each character, particularly for someone like me who read the legends and have seen movies on the story, was exciting and, at times, gave me goosebumps. I do not want to spoil who is who in the show. I think that’s part of the magic of watching it!

One thing that I will spoil, since it was revealed early on, was the character of Arthur. I am not too happy with the role. Not sure if it is about the actor himself or how Arthur is presented differently from what I imagined him to be (as a person, not in terms of physicality), but something just did not fit for me.  Could be the lack of chemistry he had with Nimue (played by Katherine Langford) …I just felt that it was a little awkward. Even when they were kissing, I did not feel a spark between them. 

I like that the series shows viewers the story before Arthur became King. Showing how these characters crossed paths and the journey that had before they became who they eventually were in the legends was exciting to watch. One thing that I wish they did was pick up the pacing a bit because some parts of the series felt like they were either dragging too much or unnecessary to the story. It is an adventure; the pacing should feel the same way!

Another thing that I did not like about the show was how the characters did not seem to notice things that felt far too obvious to the viewers. When Sister Iris joined the Fey, none of the characters who knew her seems to notice she was there even though she was a human among the Fey and would obviously stand out. No one seemed to notice how she reacted during moments of Fey triumph where she was obviously mad and in tears. The same thing goes for when Morgana was bitten/possessed by the Cailleach. She was completely out of character and yet none of them seemed to notice that either. Considering how on edge they were it was a strange thing to go unnoticed.

There were some themes that I liked about the show that I think people can relate to today. It was a story of discrimination, about people fighting for their rights, about people who are drunk with power and will do anything to keep it, and the people who will sacrifice who they are and what they believe in to either be safe or be in power. I think these are stories that are still happening and are relevant today. 

Cursed was an interesting show to watch and there were actors who to me stood out even if they were not the main characters of the story. Merlin, for one, was played in a way I did not imagine but enjoyed watching by Gustaf Skarsgard (the Skarsgards seem to be an incredibly talented family, how many of them are out there?). Daniel Sharman (from The Originals and Medici) also stood out as The Weeping Monk. He hardly had any lines, but he just stood out whenever he was in the scene. Emily Coates, who played Sister Iris, that creepy young nun, was also a standout in this one.

A second season is still up in the air, but I am looking forward to seeing how they will move the story along if it does happen. There are already some changes to the legend in the show so I am not expecting it all to be the same so I am curious about how it will all play out with all the players on the board. Arthur is there and involved with Nimue, the future Lady of the Lake. But then Guinevere is also there. So is Lancelot. The love angle will make a interesting complication to their journey and I look forward to seeing it!

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