What’s going on out there internet people? It’s Slick Dungeon, back with a review for you all. I don’t usually do television series reviews, mainly because if I did, I would spend all my time doing that, and I can’t always commit to watching ten or more hours of content, then writing about it. But I am making an exception for Cursed on Netflix. I’ll review each episode, one at a time in the coming days and weeks.
I will be giving some mild spoilers for each episode but I will try to keep them light enough that they won’t get in your way of enjoying the episodes.
Cursed is a series that explores the Arthurian legend from a new perspective, that of the Lady of the Lake. The legend of King Arthur is one that has stood the test of time as it gets told over and over again, reshaped and reformed, always ending as a story that at its heart is about the hope of a good person to lead the world through hope. One of the pieces of that story is that there is a Lady of the Lake who gives, King Arthur, Excalibur, the sword that will help to shape his destiny. I’ve always wondered about the background of the Lady of the Lake, how she got there and why. This series is basically telling that story.
Some critics have compared the series to Game of Thrones or The Witcher. While I understand why they make this comparison, I don’t think it’s fair to this series to judge it by those. It seems that any time a critic watches a fantasy series, they are from now on, going to assume that the series is just trying to repeat the success of Game of Thrones. Certainly, I imagine, there will be plenty of palace intrigue, unlikely heroes, magic, and war in Cursed.
However, this is a different story. It’s clear from the start that unlike Westeros, this land is full of magic. The story will mostly center on one or two characters, rather than a huge ensemble, although there are certainly plenty of supporting characters. And while I think it’s possible this may have more similarities to The Witcher, this show is not that either. The legend of King Arthur is one of the earliest fantasy stories involving knights and kingdoms, queens, and lovers, and if anything, Game of Thrones would not have existed without that story preceding it. The Witcher is about a person who doesn’t quite belong in society but is still needed because of the actions he can perform. Cursed, at its core, is about an object. A sword that has as important of a destiny as all of the rest of the characters. What we get to see in the show is how the people around it are affected.
In the first episode, we meet Nimue. She is a young woman with magical abilities. It’s clear from the beginning that Nimue could easily lose control of these abilities and do real harm to people with them. This is in a backdrop where Red Paladins are hunting down and killing those with magical abilities. They are cruel and ruthless and seemingly unstoppable.
Nimue is expertly performed by Katherine Langford who is captivating from the first moment she is onscreen. Also appearing in this first episode is Gustaf Skarsrgard who plays the most famous magician of all time, Merlin. The two clearly have an intertwined destiny but I am sure that will play out more in future episodes.
In this first episode, we see the setup for the series overall and while I don’t want to spoil the episode, it’s easy to see how this will play out as a series. In this episode, it’s more about getting to know the characters and getting them into place so the story can start. Some good signs I see here are that the title character of the episode is highly engaging, the villains seem to be absolutely brutal and challenging, and Merlin remains, mostly, a mystery. When you are setting up the Arthurian legend, those things are vital.
The visuals of the series are gorgeous and there are moments where we are reminded of the source material, which is Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler’s book of the same name.
If the first episode is any indication, this will be an excellent series that should be judged on its own merits. not those of fantasy shows that have come before. At the very least, this is something any fantasy fan should watch, at least until the one I am most excited for hits, The Wheel of Time series.
Have you checked out Cursed yet? If so what did you think? Keep it spoiler-free but let me know in the comments!