Synopsis: A teenage sorceress named Nimue encounters a young Arthur on her quest to find a powerful and ancient sword.
Cursed is set in a time prior to King Arthur and focuses on Nimue as she goes on a quest to take the Sword of Truth (Excalibur) to the great Wizard Merlin. The series starts by establishing Nimue as a sorceress living among a tribe of Fae known as The Sky People. Nimue is sadly feared by her people because she is such a powerful magic user, but is allowed to stay in her village due to her mother and father having high standing, but things get rough for Nimue when she sees her people completely wiped out by a group from the Roman Catholic Church called The Paladin. It is the Paladin’s task to eradicate all Fae from the land.
It is during the aftermath of a Paladin attack on her village that Nimue is tasked with taking the Sword of Truth (Excalibur) to the Wizard known as Merlin. Unfortunately, Nimue is forced to use the sword to defend herself as she starts her journey to find Merlin. Along the way, she meets with Arthur who in this version of events is a the orphaned son of an indebted Knight. Arthur has been disowned by his Uncle who has put the young future King’s sister Morgana into a Nunery as part payment of the debt, which Arthur’s father left him. When Nimue meets Arthur she finds herself liberated of the Sword as Arthur attempts to use it in order to gain entry into a tournament. As the series progresses we get a great many story threads. But at its heart is the storyline of Nimue becoming the Queen of the Fae and trying to use The Sword of Truth as a means to save all Fae from the Paladins and the vicious rule of King Uther. The story is a complete reworking of Arthurian legend and gives us new origin stories for pretty much most characters that fans of the stories of Camelot have come to know and love. The origin story for Merlin in this series is pretty enjoyable as we learn that he is a very important figure in Nimue’s life.
I particularly enjoyed the twist involving the Paladin’s main warrior who is known and feared as The Weeping Monk.
Katherine Langford puts in a solid performance as Nimue who is a character that I didn’t particularly warm to right away. It was only really in the second episode that I started to warm to the character once I got to see her backstory. It is when Nimue befriends Morgana that the story picks up the pace and pretty soon after she is leading a group of runaway Fae who have been getting help from The Green Knight. Devon Terrell puts in a decent performance as Arthur who starts out as a cunning thief and evolves into the beginnings of the Noble King that we all get to know.
Daniel Sharman puts in a rather menacing performance as The Weeping Monk, who turns out to be a much more interesting character when his true identity is revealed in the final episode. In the series, The Weeping Monk is very much used as a tactical weapon by the Paladins because he has the ability to sniff out his own kind. We learn pretty early on that the Weeping Monk is a Fae, who has been adopted by Father Carden (Peter Mullan).
Gustaf Skarsgård is brilliantly cast as Merlin who is a far more complex version of the character than the one we seen in the BBC television drama ‘Merlin’ a couple of years ago. This version of the character has lived a life where he has been a part of some terrible events. When we meet him he is a Wizard to King Uther’s court and seems to spend a great deal of time drinking due to the fact that he has lost his magic. So the series becomes as much about Merlin finding redemption as it is about Nimue learning about herself and her destiny with regards to leading the Fae.
The acting performances from the whole cast are phenomenal as everyone commits to their respective roles with total belief.
This series is another hit for Netflix as far as I’m concerned and hopefully, it will get a second season. Especially given that the first season ended on such an edge of the seat moment in which we see Nimue fall into the Lake and Merlin get his magic back. The storyline throughout is massive so it helps if you are paying attention because if you miss something you may find yourself lacking some information that will come up and be revealed later on. I really enjoyed the different twists on all the characters and particularly enjoyed the Paladins as the main threat to Nimue and her people. Peter Mullan is particularly wicked as Father Carden who is obsessed with his mission to kill all Fae. Especially Nimue.
The drama is helped by a fantastic soundtrack from Jeff Russo and I really liked the brief animations that broke each episode into chapters.
Hopefully, there will be a second season for this because it will serve to show us Nimue becoming the Lady of the Lake and we’ll get to see if Merlin can resist using the sword again.
One of the great parts of this series is the Sword of Truth itself, which is also known as The Sword of the First Kings. It has a very interesting origin, which is kind of similar to the Ring from the Lord of the Rings trilogy in that if a person takes it and starts using it they can become addicted to it. Whereas if the sword chooses someone. That person will be able to wield it without ill effects.
Overall. More of this show, please.
- CGI & Stunts10
- Incidental Music9.8