Bring Back Merlin!

I’ve been struck lately by the many dark, gritty TV shows there are to choose from right now. And don’t get me wrong, some of them are very well written. But do you know what I still miss? Merlin.


Source: BBC America

It had adventure, humour, moral dilemmas, a selection box of European mythological creatures, Morgana doing her evil-smile-when-no-one’s-looking, famous British actors talking goobledegook, and was just generally fun without taking itself too seriously.

I know it’s highly unlikely they’d bring it back (spoiler alert: a lot of people died in the last episode) but just in case anyone ever decides we need less dark drama and more running around the woods chasing CGI monsters and exchanging witticisms, I’ve taken the liberty of drafting a template script the producers can use.

Template Script for Any Episode of Merlin

Scene 1

Merlin and Arthur

A very green woodland. Arthur and Merlin are walking through the woods.

Arthur: You really are useless, Merlin.

Merlin: That’s OK, sire, I know you can only express your friendship through criticism and banter that is somehow heartwarming rather than complex-inducing.

Arthur: And another thing – wait! What’s that noise?

Strange noises sound, as the camera zooms towards the characters, to indicate something running towards them. Suddenly they spot a [insert magical enemy/monster of the week here]. He/she/it attacks ferociously, and the characters run back to Camelot.

Scene 2

We begin with the only establishing shot of Camelot’s exterior, which we’ve seen a hundred times so far this season. That way, viewers will know we’re in Camelot. Because there are so very many other locations in this show.

Cut to the court room in Camelot, where Gaius is addressing the king [Uther or Arthur, depending on which season we’re in].

Gaius: It so happens, sire, that I have done exactly the right amount of research to tell you what this creature is, and to allude to some terrible omens about it, but not enough to tell you how to beat it.

Uther/Arthur (depending on which season we’re in): Really, Gaius? With all that free time you have between collecting herbs, could you not have found out some more information before you came to see me?

Gaius: Sadly no, sire. Because then this episode would be over too quickly, with no peril at all.

Uther/Arthur: Very well. Since we have absolutely no knowledge of how to beat this thing, the best course of action is for six of us to hunt it down and kill it, using only the armour and weapons we are well known to always employ. There’s no way the beast will expect that. We ride at dawn!

Merlin: Um –

Uther/Arthur: Yes, something you want to say, Merlin?

Merlin: Well, it’s just – why do we always ride at dawn? I mean, it’s daylight right now. And even if it wasn’t, we can bring flaming torches to light our way, and we know our own lands better than anyone. Doesn’t waiting until tomorrow just give our enemy a headstart?

Uther/Arthur: Shush, Merlin. I like saying ‘we ride at dawn’. It sounds great. Say it with me, everyone.

Everyone: We ride at dawn!

Uther/Arthur: This reminds me of why I hate magic so much. Magic is evil and bad, and we must kill everyone linked to it.

Morgana pouts.

Morgana: Is it possible that this approach is making you more enemies, rather than fewer? It’s basically racism.

Uther/Arthur: Nonsense, Morgana. I’m king and I know what’s best. If I kill all the witches and wizards in Camelot, everyone will definitely love me. Now go and spend the next few hours changing into another fabulous dress for your next scene.

Scene 3

In the courtyard at Camelot. It is dawn, although it looks much brighter than that. Camelot must have fast sunrises or something.

Arthur: This journey is going to be very dangerous. But we must hunt down this Magic Beast. Because honour, and valour, and stuff. Also, because it’s killing innocent people around Camelot.

Enter Gwen

Gwen: You will be fine, because I believe in you.

Arthur: Thanks Gwen, you’re so affirming and encouraging. It’s almost like your only job here is to be everyone else’s moral compass and cheerleader.

Gwen: But I don’t mind being assigned such a narrow role, because I am so good natured.

Merlin: I can be moral too…

Arthur: Shh, Merlin. You’re far less attractive than Gwen.

Scene 4

The woods again. Arthur, Merlin, and four knights ride along a muddy track

Merlin: You know, I’ve been having some thoughts about how we could improve our success rate at all these quests.

Arthur: You’ve been having thoughts? Ha!

Merlin: I thought we could start with the knights’ uniform. I mean, the bright red cloak isn’t very good for camouflage, is it? And surely not being seen by our enemies would be an advantage? Also, I was wondering if we could start learning these knights’ names.

Arthur: Their names, why?

Merlin: It’s just that I’ve noticed that the knights who die on these quests are always the ones whose names we never bothered to learn. So maybe if we learned everyone’s names, we’d all survive.

Arthur: What nonsense. You’re so stupid Merlin. Let’s stop and make a camp here. Merlin, you should go and get firewood.

Merlin walks off to gather firewood. As soon as he is out of sight of the others, a cloaked figure appears in front of him.

Merlin: Who are you?

Mysterious character: I am Eladorabourabilis, leader of the most magic of magic peoples possessing magic powers, and you have strayed into our territory.

Merlin: I can’t help but notice that the costume designers have tried to do something memorable but have given you a really anachronistic outfit. There’s no way we’d have access to that colour dye, or that sort of fabric, in what’s meant to be the Middle Ages. And no one in this period of history-slash-legend would wear clothes that shape either.

Mysterious character (waves hand airily): Fortunately all this can be explained away by magic. Anyway, I am here to tell you of Important Things, relating to the Future and your Destiny.

Merlin: My destiny? Tell me more!

Mysterious character: There is a morally ambiguous situation approaching, in which you must let a Bad Thing happen, in order to preserve your Destiny.

Merlin: Oh no, a moral dilemma! I hate these!

Mysterious character: You must do it.

Merlin: I shall go and brood over this. There shall be suspense and anguish!

Merlin goes back to the camp and broods over this information

Arthur: Where’s my firewood?

Merlin: I… forgot.

Arthur: You’re so useless Merlin!

Merlin pulls an expression that conveys ‘If only I didn’t have to keep my magic and my mission a secret, then you would understand and respect me, but alas that can never be the case and so I must be long-suffering and misunderstood’ before going back to looking troubled and brooding.

Scene 5

The Magical Beast attacks. Arthur and the knights fight it. One by one, the knights fail. Named knights are knocked unconscious, unnamed knights are horribly gored to death.


Source: BBC

Merlin: If only Arthur would be knocked unconscious so that I could use my magic to defeat this beast!

Arthur is knocked unconscious by a falling tree branch or something similar. Merlin’s eyes glow orange so that we know he is using magic. But he is not able to defeat the magical enemy with his magic.

Magical enemy: We meet at last, Merlin! But I am only attacking Arthur because of the terrible things his father has done to my kind. In fact, I’m really the good guy here.

Merlin: Oh no, that makes this a Morally Ambiguous Situation!

Magical enemy: You should definitely join my side, and not protect the man who would have you executed if he knew you had magic.

Merlin: Hmmm. That is a good argument. But I have decided not to do that, because Destiny!

Magical enemy: Isn’t Destiny just code for Plot Device?

Merlin: Silence! I shall now defeat you with my magic, which has somehow become more powerful than earlier when I couldn’t defeat you!

He defeats the enemy, but looks sad and remorseful as he does so, because killing is bad.

Arthur: waking up Oh look, I defeated our enemy. Hurrah for me!

The knights: Hurrah for Arthur!

Scene 6

Everyone has returned to Camelot and speedily recovered from all their injuries. Morgana is wearing a fabulous dress, and her hair will inspire a thousand Pinterest boards.


Seriously, can Morgana’s costume designer make all my dresses please?

Arthur: We won! And we have learned a valuable lesson too.

Merlin: You mean, how the magical enemy was only out to hurt us because of the hatred and oppression spread against all magical people?

Arthur: Yes, which just goes to prove that I must destroy all magical people.

Morgana pouts. Merlin does something clumsy.

Arthur: You really are useless, Merlin! He hits Merlin. In a friendly way.

Everyone laughs merrily at the beautiful friendship between these characters.


Now that I’ve done all the hard work, rebooting the show should be easy. If you need me, I’ll be here, waiting for my phonecall from the BBC…

4 thoughts on “Bring Back Merlin!

  1. Bryntin says:

    I have sent this to my daughter who, up until now and having just finished binge-watching every episode ever made over the last few weeks, had me parodying a typical Merlin episode in a much shorter but apparently hugely annoying form. Although along the same lines, you have supplied a more considered, better and funnier one which I am sure will even more hugely annoy her. 🙂


  2. angelanoelauthor says:

    We’ve been watching Merlin on Netflix! It’s our we-don’t-feel-like-dinner-conversation-tonight show with our nine-year-old. And I agree wholeheartedly with every single scene.

    I didn’t know that whole thing about the very end though…I’ll be prepared!


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