A time of great change in Camelot as the veil between the worlds is broken, Arthur becomes King and Morgana finds a new ally…
As the separate episode reviews of the six episodes in this set elsewhere on this site will attest, the fourth series of Merlin has taken the show into new territory, with the occasional light moment being used as contrast with the more serious dramatic stories being told – something that is reflected in the show’s new later timeslot. There isn’t a “happy ever after” at the end of every episode: in fact, a number end quite bleakly.
The first DVD release contains much that will please the fans, in addition to the pristine clean copies of the episodes (obviously not in the High Definition of the original broadcast, but benefitting from the 35mm photography that has been used). The first disc, containing the opening three episodes, benefit from commentaries by cast and crew, with Alice Troughton, Katie McGrath and Colin Morgan among those contributing.
The third disc has the other bonus features, with a large set of deleted scenes from most of the episodes in the set: these include some bonding moments between Arthur and Merlin (in some cases longer than we saw in the episode, but for Aithusa adding a new element), as well as some extra explanation of Gaius and Gwen’s activities during the illness in Camelot in episode two, and Merlin’s concerns over Arthur’s behaviour. The outtakes are pretty much standard, but the animated storyboards are fun, showing a Wyvern attack from episode two, and the sequence with Arthur on the spinning wheel from episode three. Add in a gallery of fan pics, and it’s a good package.
Verdict: Even if you’ve got good off-air copies of the episodes, fans will want to pick this set up – there may even be some clues as to where the rest of the season is going… 8/10