Top 5 things you'd change in Merlin?
1. Acknowledge that Uther and the Great Dragon are the series villains that make the most sense. I mean, on the one side we have a king who committed genocide and continues to perpetuate it to this day (in his wife’s name, cool motive still murder) and a dragon who has a reason to have a revenge vendetta against that king, immediately starts killing people when freed, and makes a bunch of prophecies that are completely self-fulfilling. On the other side, we have a series of women who had their friends and family and way of life ripped away from them and want to take revenge on the person who caused all their heartache while stopping that genocide, and a focus on a woman who tried to protest that king’s unjust laws even before she found out they would apply to her and was drugged by someone she trusted instead of trained the way he trained some kid he’d just barely met. Like, tell me again that it makes sense for Morgana to be a villain given this set-up?
But a story where Merlin and Arthur and Morgana and Gwen are pawns caught between Uther and the Dragon’s revenges and wrest control of the story away and make a true golden age? That’s far more interesting.
2. Speaking of which, GIVE US A DAMN GOLDEN AGE. If destiny was destiny (see the next number on this list) and Arthur was always supposed to bring us a golden age, where the fuck was it before he died? Magic never came back to Camelot. The wrongs were never righted. Camelot is going to be a mess after that last huge battle against Morgana. Where’s the Golden Age? If they weren’t going to give it to us, the show should have ended with Arthur alive and making a commitment to that golden age, rather than with his death.
3. Destiny. Look, I’m going to make this easy. Give us one episode where there’s a prophecy made about something bad where Merlin and company say “nope, we’re not letting that happen,” and it doesn’t happen. Let people’s choices matter. What’s the point of acting out a story that’s already been written out ahead of you? It was lazy writing and it was fucked-up worldbuilding that was never acknowledged to be fucked-up and by the end of my time in the fandom I was eyetwitching a little whenever anyone in the show or the fandom mentioned destiny as a positive thing. It was a mess of self-fulfilling prophecies and the only one that didn’t come true was the good one where Arthur would bring about a golden age and return magic to Camelot.
4. MAGIC REVEAL FFS. After a while it was lazy writing, and they thought the secret was the mechanism the show ran on when it really wasn’t. Merlin should have told Morgana the second she showed signs of being magical and he should have told Arthur … oh, I would have picked the end of s2, cliffhung, and picked up s3 with a full season of Arthur yelling at Merlin and slowly coming around to realize that magic wasn’t evil, so when he took the throne in s4 he would be able to start slowly grappling with what he wants to change and how much. I know this is Merlin’s story and not Arthur’s, but Merlin stops looking like a hero the longer he keeps the secret and lets Arthur continue to persecute people like him, and it makes Arthur less of the legendary king we’re meant to be seeing.
5. Consistent tone. We went from “silly family show” to “in the game of thrones you win or you die” and it was a mess. Also the cringey Comedy Episodes. Can we be light with less fart jokes?
Bonus List Of More Achievable Goals
1. Instead of Gwen’s s5 plot being her being mind controlled, instead she recruits Sefa as a double agent so a. we get two non-evil recurring ladies and b. Gwen gets to be badass and queenly instead of losing her agency.
2. Loathly Lady episode. This episode replaces the Gwen/Lancelot zombie mind control mess.
3. At least twice a season, we briefly see a magic user who is friendly, not a tool of the villain, and not planning to kill anyone. It can be brief, but it has to happen and at least one of those people has to live.
4. Less fart jokes. I think we can manage that, I think that’s acheivable.
5. Tristan dies instead of Isolde and she becomes a lady knight.