Another year, another retelling of the Arthurian legend. This time, we're getting the story from the point of view of the Lady of the Lake. At least, that's the very basic way of surmising the new Netflix series Cursed.
Katherine Langford plays Nimue, a young woman with powers that aren't quite under her control. Following her mother's death, Nimue and future-King Arther (Devon Terrell) cross paths, and the pair go on a quest to find Merlin (Gustaf Skarsgård). There is, of course, a magical sword that plays a large role.
But, the big question: is Cursed worth watching? I've seen the first episode, and – while the budget is certainly high – I wasn't won over by the young-adult vibe of the series. However, with the review embargo now dropped and the show available to watch, some critics have revealed they were won over by the show's charm. Here's a Cursed review round-up.
Time – the radical reimagining fantasy TV desperately needs
"Cursed may not be the most serious or profound program that TV has to offer, but you won’t find many shows more solidly built or satisfying. It’s wonderful to see a female fantasy hero whose chief character trait isn’t her sex appeal, whose quest is about more than just finding her one true love and, frankly, who isn’t constantly reminding viewers that she is an empowered woman. Rarer and more exciting still is that this fantasy drama understands that you can’t make good television in any genre without getting fundamentals like character, themes, storytelling and aesthetics right." Read the review here.
The Guardian – Two stars
"At times, it’s great fun. Axes are taken to necks, taverns are brawled in, groping hands are chopped off, iridescent dragonflies alight on every tree stump, CGI wolves endanger our heroine. And any man who tries to assault her person is liable to find himself bound by writhing branches atop the highest tree, and very uncomfortable it looks, too. Almost no one can act and those who can are… taking it easy. And that is, within certain very limited confines – such as cod-medieval legend-hokum – exactly as it should be. Harmlessness, especially in these God- (and Arthur-)forsaken times, amounts almost to a virtue, an art form in itself. And here, for 10 beautifully meaningless hours, it is." Read the review here.
CNet – Not the Games of Thrones replacement you have been looking for
"Nimue dips her foot into being the hero you want her to be with a Wonder Woman pump-you-up moment at the end of the first episode. Yet despite its intriguing spin on a legendary figure, Cursed fails to leave a lasting impact. Overlong and spread thin, it finds its focused pace and otherworldly atmosphere fading as surface-level Game of Thrones politics get in the way. The show is set up for a second season, but the most interesting aspects of its story already seem to be behind it." Read the full review here.
The Hollywood Reporter – Better when it focuses on its fresh heroines
"The drama, based upon the graphic novel by Frank Miller and TV showrunner Tom Wheeler, lacks the inspired fits of lunacy that made Witcher watchable. That is to say there's no nudity and nobody is transformed into an eel. It also, however, lacks the long stretches of utter amateurism that sometimes made Witcher unwatchable. It's an OK show with the raw materials to have been much better given just a bit more commitment to its premise." Read the full review here.
RadioTimes – A slow starter with stand-out moments
"Cursed is definitely a bit of a slow starter, with the first couple of episodes stuffed with awkward performances and exposition that might put viewers off before the series finds its feet later on in the run. If people do get through the opening, though, Cursed is worth sticking with. If nothing else, it’s always fun to get a new chapter in a story nearly as old as our entire civilisation – albeit now written in digital ones and zeros, rather than the traditional vellum." Read the full review here.
Looking for something to stream this weekend? Check out our list of the best Netflix shows to watch right now.