Camelot (TV series)

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Camelot
Camelot 2011 Intertitle.png
GenreHistorical drama
Sword and Sorcery
Created byChris Chibnall
Michael Hirst
StarringJoseph Fiennes
Jamie Campbell Bower
Tamsin Egerton
Claire Forlani
Peter Mooney
Clive Standen
Philip Winchester
Eva Green
Chipo Chung
Sinéad Cusack
Composer(s)Mychael Danna
Jeff Danna
Country of originIreland, Canada & United Kingdom[1]
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Michael Hirst
Chris Chibnall
Fred Fuchs
John Weber
James Flynn
Ann Thomopoulos
Craig Cegielski
Tim Headington
Graham King
Douglas Rae
Morgan O'Sullivan
Editor(s)Sidney Wolinshy
Steven O'Connell
Location(s)County Wicklow, Ireland
CinematographyJoel Ransom
Camera setupmultiple-setup
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Ecosse Films
GK-tv
Octagon Films
World 2000 Entertainment
Starz Originals
Broadcast
Original channelStarz (US)
Channel 4 (UK)
RTÉ (Ireland)
CBC (Canada)
Nine Network (Australia)
RTL (The Netherlands)
VIER (Belgium)
Original run25 February 2011 (2011-02-25) – 10 June 2011 (2011-06-10)
External links
Website
 
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Camelot
Camelot 2011 Intertitle.png
GenreHistorical drama
Sword and Sorcery
Created byChris Chibnall
Michael Hirst
StarringJoseph Fiennes
Jamie Campbell Bower
Tamsin Egerton
Claire Forlani
Peter Mooney
Clive Standen
Philip Winchester
Eva Green
Chipo Chung
Sinéad Cusack
Composer(s)Mychael Danna
Jeff Danna
Country of originIreland, Canada & United Kingdom[1]
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Michael Hirst
Chris Chibnall
Fred Fuchs
John Weber
James Flynn
Ann Thomopoulos
Craig Cegielski
Tim Headington
Graham King
Douglas Rae
Morgan O'Sullivan
Editor(s)Sidney Wolinshy
Steven O'Connell
Location(s)County Wicklow, Ireland
CinematographyJoel Ransom
Camera setupmultiple-setup
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Ecosse Films
GK-tv
Octagon Films
World 2000 Entertainment
Starz Originals
Broadcast
Original channelStarz (US)
Channel 4 (UK)
RTÉ (Ireland)
CBC (Canada)
Nine Network (Australia)
RTL (The Netherlands)
VIER (Belgium)
Original run25 February 2011 (2011-02-25) – 10 June 2011 (2011-06-10)
External links
Website

Camelot is a historical-fantasy-drama television series which premiered on 1 April 2011. It was co-produced by the Starz cable network and GK-TV which began production during the summer of 2010.[2][3] The series, based on the Arthurian legend, was produced by Graham King, Morgan O'Sullivan and Michael Hirst.

A special preview showing of the pilot episode "Homecoming" was aired on Starz Friday night, 25 February 2011.[4] On 30 June 2011 Starz announced it was not going to order new seasons of Camelot, citing significant production challenges, predominantly scheduling conflicts with some members of the cast, including Joseph Fiennes, Jamie Campbell Bower and Eva Green.[5][6]

Description[edit]

Publicity releases noted the series would consist of ten episodes that would "redefine the classic medieval tale of King Arthur."[7]

Advance descriptions of the series described it as having "sex, sword-fighting, magic, comedy".[8] According to a tongue-in-cheek comment by star Joseph Fiennes, it should be watched for another reason: "Because it's not a musical."[8]

Head writer Chris Chibnall stated that every era needs its own version of the story of Camelot[9] and that this version would include strong currents of politics and romance in an adult drama: "The amazing thing about Camelot is you can talk about political pursuits and it's all about the romance. It's all about the passion. It's all about great ideals compromised by falling in love with the wrong person."[10] Chibnall also stated that the story had a special relevance for today's world because it dealt with the promise of world leaders to create a better world, and then trying to carry through on their promises.

The series used well-known stories and legends about King Arthur, including Le Morte d'Arthur[11] "but those only provided a starting point". The goal of the producers was to create episodes that "weave historical authenticity into a telling of the Arthur legends that is relatable to contemporary audiences".[12]

The relationship between Merlin (Fiennes) and Arthur (Campbell Bower) was central to the show. Fiennes has joked that he thinks "of Merlin as a sort of cross between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Donald Rumsfeld," referring to Kenobi's mentoring qualities and Rumsfeld's political agendas.[10] Fiennes described Merlin as a "...sort of tutor. He's a father figure. He's a brutal headmaster. He's got to give this boy all of the tools to be king in a ruthless world, and he has to do it in a very short space of time. So there's a lot of 'cruel to be kind.'"[10]

Plot summary[edit]

It is the late 5th century and Britain has been free of Roman rule for several decades. With King Uther's sudden death chaos threatens to engulf Britain. The sorcerer Merlin has visions of a dark future and installs the young and impetuous Arthur, Uther's unknown son and heir who has been raised as a commoner, as the new king. Merlin and Arthur install themselves in Castle Camelot with their allies, which include Arthur's biological mother Igraine, his foster brother Kay and loyal warriors Leontes, Gawain, Ulfius and Brastias. From Camelot, Arthur tries to build a new and better Britain, where people can live in peace.

Meanwhile, Arthur's cold and ambitious half-sister Morgan plots to take the crown from him. Having been banished by her father Uther, Morgan is responsible for Uther's death and wants to rule as his successor. Aided by her loyal maid Vivian and the devious nun Sybil, Morgan takes up residence in Uther's old castle, Castle Pendragon, from where she schemes against Arthur.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Recurring[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Production[edit]

In October 2010, Camelot was the first series to get the green light from Starz since Chris Albrecht took over as President and CEO of the company.[13] With the announcement of plans for the series, Albrecht said that "The story of Arthur isn't history, it's mythology, and Camelot isn't a place but an idea of hope that has resonated at different times throughout history."[13] Launched in January 2010, GK-TV is the television division of GK Films, headed by Oscar-winning producer Graham King and Tim Headington.[14] King called the series "a perfect choice as GK-TV's maiden project," given the company's mandate for "producing compelling cinematic quality programming for television."[13] The series idea is attributed to the U.K.'s Ecosse Films, and an "early incarnation" was set up at Showtime in 2008,[13] with that network announcing plans for the series in conjunction with BBC.[15]

The cast assembled at Ardmore Studios in Ireland in June–July 2010 to begin "principal photography" for the series, which was created as an Irish-Canadian coproduction.[1] After the Ireland filming, post-production and visual effects took place in Toronto, Canada. The cost was estimated at around $7 million per episode.[16] Starz retained U.S. rights, including digital and home entertainment distribution, Take 5 Productions owned distribution rights in Canada, and GK-TV for the rest of the world.[12]

Chris Chibnall, known for television series including Life on Mars and Torchwood, was showrunner and head writer for the show, which was engineered by Executive Producers Morgan O'Sullivan of Octagon in Ireland and John Weber of Take 5 Productions in Canada. Other executive producers included Academy Award-winner Graham King, Timothy Headington of GK Films, Craig Cegielski of GK-TV, James Flynn of Octagon, Douglas Rae of UK's Ecosse Films, Fred Fuchs, Michael Hirst and Anne Thomopoulos.[12] Chibnall was no newcomer to the legend of Camelot, having previously been in charge of developing a series about Merlin in 2005 for BBC. However, despite several scripts being written, BBC Head of Drama Jane Tranter eventually decided not to green-light the project,[17] although it later emerged, without Chibnall's involvement, as Merlin (2008–2012). Executive producer Morgan O'Sullivan also had experience with the story through his involvement with the 2004 film King Arthur.[18]

While the first season was limited to ten episodes, the producers indicated that if the response to the show were strong, they had plans for "several additional seasons".[19] It was announced on 30 June 2011, that Camelot would not be returning for a second season and US network Starz had ruled out production for 2011.[20]

Promotion[edit]

Promotional poster, showing Jamie Campbell Bower as Arthur and Eva Green as Morgan.

Starz invested in a number of initiatives to promote the series, including the advance airing of the first episode (scheduled for normal broadcast on 1 April 2011) on 25 February 2011, following the series finale of that network's successful series, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.[4][21] That episode, "Homecoming", was subsequently posted on the special series website created by Starz, where it could be streamed for home viewing.

In addition to a meeting with film critics to talk about the show,[10] individual interviews with the writer and a number of cast members[22] have been conducted, a Facebook page has been created, and many of the stars have been blogging[23] and tweeting[24] about the show's progress during and after the filming. Additionally, special short video trailers and behind the scenes video teasers were also posted online.[25] The upcoming series was also advertised online in a "Starz Originals" video, promoting both current and future original series.[26]

Starz also released a poster showing Arthur and Morgan[27] and a series of promotional photos.

In addition to the official promotions, fans created a website to include news and images of the upcoming series.[28]

Reception[edit]

Advance publicity for the series was positive, as evidenced by the comments of Maureen Ryan, who writes the "Stay Tuned" column for TVSquad.com.[29] Writing on 25 February 2011, she lists "five good reasons" to be intrigued by this "new version of the saga of Merlin, Morgan, and Arthur," including:

Critics other than Ryan were also comparing the series to the (back then) upcoming HBO series, Game of Thrones.[30] Critic James Hibberd refers to both shows as "swords 'n' sorcery epics", with a "quest for the kingship as the central storyline" – but adds the comment that there is no reason to choose one over the other, implying that viewers might be able to enjoy both.[30] Hibberd adds the one-word description, "fleshy", to describe the new Starz show.[30] One website used the phrase, "Starz makes Camelot sexy again."[31]

At least one writer wrote about his concerns with any self-described "modern" adaptation of the Arthurian legends,[32] but critical reaction following the 25 February 2011, screening of the first episode was largely positive, including the following remarks:

Camelot shows promise mostly thanks to Green's emotionally charged performance as the vengeful sorceress whose only interests are achieving her perceived rightful place as queen of the land. After watching Homecoming it's hard not to keep watching with promises of Excalibur, the Lady of the Lake, Tamsin Egerton as Guinevere, Joseph Fiennes using his Merlin powers, and the beginnings of The Knights of the Round Table yet to come.[33]

Additionally, a critic for the Daily Inquirer wrote, "I watched the sneak preview and it looks like Starz has another hit on their hands",[34] and a New York Times article has called the series "An Arthur worthy of the modern ages."[35]

On the KFOG morning show Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter's Chief Television Critic, called Camelot "a lightweight version of Game of Thrones" and "almost more like a guilty pleasure".[36][37]

Camelot received a score of 58 on Metacritic. Negative reviews included Time magazine saying, "Even on the level of it's-just-entertainment, Camelot is exceedingly silly",[38] and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette saying, "it's a lot less graphic than Starz's ultra-sexy, ultra-violent 'Spartacus' franchise. Dramatically, 'Camelot' also pales in comparison. It's dull and talky and its first three episodes offer few surprises in storytelling."[39]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Turner, Mimi. "Eva Green, Joseph Fiennes to Present New Irish-Canadian Drama 'Camelot' to Buyers at MipTV". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  2. ^ Gorman, Bill (20 December 2010). "Starz Sets April 1st Premiere Date For "Camelot," A New Take On The Timeless Tale Of King Arthur,". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "Press Room - Camelot". Starz. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  4. ^ a b ComicBookResources.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  5. ^ Matt Webb Mitovich (2011-06-30). "Starz Cancels Camelot, Citing ‘Production Challenges’". TVLine. Retrieved 2013-02-08. 
  6. ^ Twitter, retrieved 30 June 2011.
  7. ^ EclipseMagazine.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  8. ^ a b TvSquad.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  9. ^ DailyUpdateNews.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  10. ^ a b c d TheTorchOnline.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  11. ^ MovieWeb.com, retrieved 27 February 2011.
  12. ^ a b c About-camelot.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  13. ^ a b c d Hollywood Reporter.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  14. ^ PRNewswire.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  15. ^ TheTVremote.com, retrieved 27 February 2011.
  16. ^ Chozick, Amy (23 July 2010). "Small Screens, Big Budgets". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  17. ^ "News". Dreamwatch (Titan Magazines) (137). January 2006. 
  18. ^ Screenrant.com, retrieved 2 March 2011.
  19. ^ Craveonline.com, retrieved 27 February 2011.
  20. ^ iftn.ie, retrieved 30 June 2011.
  21. ^ Entertainment.gather.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  22. ^ Eva Green interview, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  23. ^ Tamsin-egerton.org, retrieved 27 February 2011.
  24. ^ Twitter.com, retrieved 27 February 2011.
  25. ^ Screenrant.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  26. ^ YouTube.com, retrieved 26 February 2011
  27. ^ Sidereel.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  28. ^ Camelotfans.wordpress.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  29. ^ a b TVSquad.com, Stay Tuned, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  30. ^ a b c InsideTV.ew.com, retrieved 27 February 2011.
  31. ^ Trendhunter.com, retrieved 27 February 2011.
  32. ^ Cultural-learnings.com, retrieved 27 February 2011.
  33. ^ TheHDroom.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  34. ^ Daily Inquirer online, retrieved 27 February 2011.
  35. ^ NYTimes.com, retrieved 26 February 2011.
  36. ^ "Camelot" (MP3). Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  37. ^ "Camelot" (MP3). Retrieved 9 May 2011. 
  38. ^ "Camelot". Tunedin.blogs.time.com. Retrieved 1 April 2011. 
  39. ^ "Tuned In: Famous family dramas debut". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1 April 2011. 

External links[edit]