Parents' Guide to


By Will Wade, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Fresh take on legendary wizard is fun, if not truly magical.

TV NBC, Syfy Drama 2009
Merlin Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 57 parent reviews

age 10+

The perfect series

I'll echo that it is is difficult to find a series for an 11 yo and his parents to equally enjoy. Merlin delivers stunning sets and costumes; nuanced and psychologically complex relationships; fantasy and stellar actors. Its the benchmark for our family's choices and we hope to see more like it.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 10+

Something for the whole family

It's hard to find a series that will interest me, a 10 year old, my husband and my mother. This was an easy one for all of us to watch.
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (57):
Kids say (124):

This show offers a new take on a different stage of the King Arthur legend, but the legendary wizard deserves a more impressive series than this; it's fun, but it lacks magic. Everyone knows how that story turns out, but the main characters' early years don't typically get as much attention. The show takes significant liberties with the conventions -- though there are so many versions of the story that there's plenty of tolerance for change. Making Merlin a novice magician and turning Arthur into a thoroughly unlikable jerk places the characters at the start of a developmental journey, inviting viewers along to see how they finally get to their well-known destination.

While the idea is solid, the execution is a little shaky. James is so effective at making Arthur unpleasant that it's hard to imagine him becoming a better person, while Morgan plays Merlin as bemused and a bit cocky and doesn't seem to have much else in his emotional repertoire. As a result, his young wizard frequently seems full of himself, which might be more appropriate for a seasoned magician rather than one just learning the trade. The show's tone veers from lighthearted to dark; some scenes are played for laughs and might be fun for young viewers, while others feature malevolent magic and medieval-style violence that's more appropriate for teens and up.

TV Details

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