Everyone who watches TV (or movies, or reads books, or whatever) has certain tropes that they find irresistable, to the point where if a story contains them, the quality of said narrative almost becomes irrelevant. For some reason, people don’t really like to admit to having these narrative kinks, probably because it makes them feel sort of slutty, taste-wise. It’s the intellectual equivalent of saying you’re only dating someone because they’re hot and the sex is good. I, however, will freely admit to having several very strong trope kinks that supersede the quality of a show for me; adorable established couples, the found family/island of misfit toys scenario, banter, scenery/cinematography porn, excessive amounts of whimsy, strong female character development, and rampant homoeroticism. Combine two or more of those and I’m pretty likely to get hooked on a show. I guess I’m just kind of slutty like that.
Merlin obviously hits quite a few of these – banter, scenery porn, whimsy, and more homoeroticism than an Ancient Greek epic. And while that last part in and of itself should be enough incentive for me to watch and love the show (and it often is, let’s not lie), I can never help but feel guilty that Merlin, like many shows who go for the whole gay-or-bromantic tease, tends to do that at the cost of kicking one of my other favorite tropes – development of strong female characters and relationships – in the face.