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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this pay-cable period drama takes broad liberties with the Arthurian legend, using violence, graphic sex, and nudity to keep the familiar plot interesting. There's also strong, unbleeped language (including "f--k") and social drinking, typically shown in conjunction with bacchanalian, post-battle celebrations.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When the British throne is left vacant in the wake of King Uther's sudden death, Merlin the sorcerer (Joseph Fiennes) steps forward and uncovers a long-kept secret: The king actually had a son named Arthur (Jamie Campbell Bower), who's now the rightful heir to the crown. But installing a brash, young twentysomething as the once and future king of CAMELOT is no easy task, considering Arthur's treacherously beautiful half-sister, Morgan (Eva Green), is determined to seize power for herself.
Is it any good?
Whether a seductress is sporting an on-trend smoky eye or a villain is declaring "f--k this," Camelot isn’t aiming for historical accuracy. (And, yes, both things actually happen in the first episode.) But for all of its technical shortcomings, Camelot plays just fine as escapist fantasy fare for willing adults whose only expectations are to be entertained. Oh, and parents, be warned: This is nothing like The Sword in the Stone.
Of course, it hardly feels like a coincidence that the virtual unknown who plays King Arthur looks remarkably like Jonathan Rhys Meyers, whose petulant portrayal of a young Henry VIII helped propel Showtime’s sexually charged costume drama The Tudors into must-see territory. And although Fiennes isn't the Merlin we've come to expect -- there's no pointy hat or long, wispy beard to speak of -- his performance makes it pretty clear that he's in on the joke.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the original King Arthur legend and the liberties this series takes with the source material. Does adding sex and violence to an otherwise noble story damage its integrity, or merely make it popular for a new generation?
Is it important for a period drama to be historically accurate in term of costumes, characters, and language? How does this series measure up in terms of getting the details right?
How does this take on the King Arthur tale compare with other popular depictions of the legend in television and film? Do you think it's OK for older teens to watch?
For kids who love fantasy
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.