Netflix’s “Cursed” review

Darvin Nelson, Features Editor

Featured image courtesy of That Hashtag Show.

There are many shows and movies produced about the tales of Camelot, but they all generally follow the same narrative. Cursed applies a fresh twist to the ancient legends of Merlin and King Arthur, and introduces new narratives, and new versions of the known characters.

Cursed follows a race of fantastic woodland creatures, called “fae,” that are on the run from an army of religious extremists, named The Red Paladins, who are determined to exterminate the fae. One powerful fae, by the name of Nimue, is given a striking magical sword, and embarks on a journey with young Arthur to bring the sword to Merlin. 

Nimue is played by Katherine Lingford, who also plays Hannah Baker in 13 Reasons Why. Her character faces a chain of loss throughout her life, laying the foundation for a strong main character. 

Courtesy of IMDb.

Merlin also has a rough past in the series, as he may not seem as heroic and great as his character is usually portrayed in many films. In Cursed, Merlin is a powerless drunk who is clever, but is also deceitful and calculating – This gives so much more depth to his character. Although he has lost his magical powers for this duration of the series, he still plays a very important role in the story. 

Courtesy of IMDb.

As good as the plot of the Cursed was, There are some things I think could be improved. 

The show displayed great acting and credible set design, but some of the CGI and special effects were not the best and inconsistent in quality. There is a specific scene, near the end of the first episode, that shows a very unrealistic display of blood splatter. 

The transitions, along with the intro, gave the show more of an ancient tone, mimicking old ink drawings on old paper. Although at first, the animated transitions felt out of place and unrealistic, they added charm to the series overtime.

You can tell, they put effort in creating a beautiful set design. According to Atlas of Wonders, the series was filmed in Surrey, Wales, Gloucestershire, and other UK places. The landscape displayed epic mountains and created a credible environment for filming. 

The plot is very engaging, especially if you already know the tale of Merlin and King Arthur. Action surges every episode and the enemies may annoy you. The leader of the Red Paladin does terrible things to the fae kind which will most likely leave you rooting for his defeat. Many other groups find their way in the equation, such as vikings, raiders, and a “holy” army – This aspect of the series reminds me of Game of Thrones and The Witcher. The groups fight and negotiate with each other as they all desire the magical sword and the defeat of Nimue, who they mark as the “Wolf Blood Witch.”

There is a slight grim tone to the show, as many risks are taken and people die in almost every episode. The characters change gradually throughout the season, and it leaves you wondering how the characters will change further overtime.

The series tackles themes of genocide, religion, and the fear of difference. The Red Paladins use religion to justify genocide, when really all they crave is control. Many others who desire to wield the magical sword strive only for power and will kill to get it. It doesn’t help that the sword corrupts those who wield it, so even though her intentions are good, the way Nimue changes throughout the series with the sword is very interesting.

I think this would be a great series to binge. Netflix hasn’t officially renewed the series for a second season, as it was recently released on July 17, but there are many ways Netflix could explore the world in future seasons. The story of King Arthur, Merlin, and the sword in the stone has been played with by film makers for a long time, but this series takes it and gives viewers a new side of the legend. I rate this series 3.5/5 Spinnaker sails.

Cursed is available to stream with Netflix subscription.

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