“Camelot” The Complete First Season had plenty of potential but thanks to a few miscasting of roles and poor writing all of it was wasted. Where the series does excel is due to the costume and production designs as well as the performances from Joseph Fiennes and Eva Green but otherwise this is a waste of time.
Genre(s): Drama, Fantasy, Adventure
Anchor Bay | NR – 515 min. – $49.99 | September 13, 2011
Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Chris Chibnall & Michael Hirst (created by)
Cast: Joseph Fiennes, Jamie Campbell Bower, Tamsin Egerton, Eva Green, Claire Forlani
Features: Featurettes, Trivia Track, Blooper Reel
Number of Discs: 3
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English, Spanish
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
The Starz series, “Camelot” came in with some anticipation, at least from this reviewer mainly because it featured Eva Green and Joseph Fiennes. Unfortunately what was supposed to be a thrilling and dramatic medieval series morphed into “Xena” – which would be fine on its own as that show was entertaining – meets a CW teen drama only with sex, nudity (tame by cable TV standards), violence and profanity. But just because we get to see the nipples of some unknown actress (Green only briefly gave a show and tell in the premiere) and get to hear characters utter the f-bomb does not a good show make.
In fact, I would say “Camelot” is an overwrought series plagued with terrible writing from show creators Chris Chibnall who wrote for a variety of UK shows like “Law & Order: UK”, “Doctor Who” and “Torchwood” and Michael Hirst, the man behind the well made former Showtime series “The Tudors” as well as films Elizabeth and its sequel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age. It’s a shame that we have two writers with talent and yet what’s spit out is terrible dialogue.
However, if it were only the poor writing then this series might’ve been at least acceptable entertainment since I’ve endured some so-so scripting from other TV shows (see: “Smallville” and “CSI”), but the acting doesn’t help matters. First, let me say that Joseph Fiennes and Eva Green both give it their best despite the obstacles and provide the only anchors to a runaway ship. But Jamie Campbell Bower (known for his roles in the Twilight movies), playing a young and hormones-out-of-whack Arthur has little to no charisma while Tamsin Egerton as Guinevere isn’t nearly as enticing as she should’ve been, to the point where we would believe Arthur betray his best friend to bag his woman (yeah, we get a melodramatic subplot between Arthur and Leontes).
Now, I must admit I’m not a historical aficionado when it comes to King Arthur outside of what I’ve seen in the movies which, of course, is often far from the truth and mostly glamorized to give a complete and more exciting story. The reason for bringing this up is I’m not approaching “Camelot” from a historical perspective so I don’t care how they change it, why they change it, how they evolved some true event to something more fantastical or how they might underplay other elements, so long as the show is at least entertaining. Unfortunately this show doesn’t have near the entertainment value to overcome all that is wrong, so much that it’s no surprise why Starz chose to cancel the series and cut their losses despite a cliffhanger ending, albeit an unusual ending to say the least…
Overall, it’s hard to imagine how a show like “Camelot” got green lit in the first place. The stories aren’t very compelling and the plot points are mostly predictable, the lead actor hardly has enough charisma and despite the efforts from Fiennes and Green, there isn’t enough here to sustain an entire season. The season, and series, on the whole is more CW meets “Xena” with some tame pay cable television liberties with sex, nudity and language but even with more liberties, none of it can overcome sloppy storytelling. All of this is unfortunate as there was potential for an interesting series but instead that was all squandered to the point that the studio didn’t even want to bother pouring anymore money into something that would be hard to correct and overcome.
02. The Sword and the Crown
04. Lady of the Lake
06. Three Journeys
07. The Love Night
09. The Battle Bardon Pass
This 3-disc DVD release comes housed in a 3-sided digipak inside a sturdy matted outer slip case where the title “Camelot” is embossed.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
Starz Studios: CAMELOT (14:32) – This is your average promotional featurette providing footage from the season interjected, and behind-the-scenes footage interjected with interviews from the cast and crew. You don’t really learn a whole lot except the amount of work that went into producing the show.
CAMELOT Character Profiles (13:57) – Here we get profiles for Arthur, Guinevere, Igraine, Kay, Merlin and Morgan. Each one is fairly short and provides a basic amount of info on the character.
The Knights (2:12) – This is a profile on the knights and their role helping and protecting Arthur. This is no different from the individual character profiles as it contains sound bites intermixed with footage from the series.
The Women of CAMELOT (2:47) covers the ladies of the series and how they aren’t merely damsels in distress and are in fact strong. Again, it’s more of the same as the previous featurettes.
Candid CAMELOT (1:18) is a selection, well, candid shots on the set.
Scene Breakdowns (7:04) – Here we get breakdowns for three scenes in episodes ‘The Lady in the Lake’, ‘Fire at the Castle Pendragon’ and ‘The Sword in the Stone’. Each one is more interviews with the cast and crew talking about the scene.
On the Set: Mooney’s Movie (2:53) – This is similar to the candid featurette this time the cast has a camcorder giving insights into what they do in their spare time.
CAMELOT Blooper Reel (5:29) – Yep, and if the “Candid” and “On the Set” featurettes weren’t enough, we also get some line flubs and general on-set antics.
The first disc includes previews for other Starz programming including “Spartacus: Blood and Sand”, “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena”, “Torchwood: Miracle Day” and the upcoming drama, “Boss” starring Kelsey Grammer.
VIDEO – 3.5/5
“Camelot” The Complete First Season slays its way onto DVD with an acceptable looking transfer. The picture is definitely littered with pixilation in some of the darker scenes. However, overall the detail level, for a standard def release, is pretty good.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
Anchor Bay Entertainment has provided a robust Dolby Digital 5.1 track that shows off Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna’s score quite well, especially the opening theme, while dialogue levels were crisp and clear. The action sequences also sound pretty good and give off the most depth.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, “Camelot” The Complete First Season had plenty of potential but thanks to a few miscasting of roles and poor writing all of it was wasted. Where the series does excel is due to the costume and production designs as well as the performances from Joseph Fiennes and Eva Green but otherwise this is a waste of time.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman