Merlin – What a difference good writing makes (Originally for CliqueClack TV)

Writing is really important.

As a writer, I’m aware this sounds like a terribly biased thing to say, but it’s true. It is especially true in television, in which writing is not just important, it is the most important part of any show, ever. Basically, a television show is like a cake. The actors and costumes and sets and lighting are the frosting and garnish, but the writing is the actual cake.  This is not to say that that other stuff is unimportant, because cake with no frosting is usually pretty boring. And all the frosting and cake fixings without cake are delicious to eat on their own (and I say this as someone who sometimes just sits down and eats frosting), but just frosting is sickly-sweet and eventually makes your stomach hurt and your teeth get that gross, chalky feeling.

To continue our cake metaphor, if Merlin were a cake it would be something like angel food cake. On its own it’s pretty lame.  It’s somehow simultaneously too sweet and not sweet enough, it’s squishy, it’s sticky, it’s plain, and it’s an exceedingly irritating recipe to get exactly right. But add a generous dollop of whipped cream and some sort of fruit, either fresh or in sauce form, or drizzle chocolate on top, or both, and suddenly you have something that is so delicious you cannot believe that it sprang from that crappy angel food cake in the first place.

The reason I bring this up, besides to make everyone hungry (and because I am a dessert addict who completely overdosed on Halloween and am now going through severe withdrawal), is because this week’s Merlin was a little different than usual, and by “different” I mean “somehow the same show we’ve been watching all along but a million times better.” (In case you were wondering why I chose that screengrab instead of a promotional picture, it’s because one, the promotional pictures for this episode kind of sucked, and two, that picture perfectly represents my feelings on this week’s episode. I am Arthur, the script writers are Merlin. They were lost and I thought they were dead, and then all of a sudden they came back. And even though they tried to kill me with amazingness, I still like them a whole lot.)

(Read more…)

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