Netflix’s Cursed, an R-rated fantasy collection reimagining Arthurian legends, has lots on its plate. A coming-of-age story following a teenage Nimue, aka the Lady of the Lake, its 10 episodes strive to juggle warfare, a love story, a medieval land-spanning quest and a well-known future that is ripe to be subverted.
Yet after a promising begin, it turns into clear that Cursed would not have a agency grasp on what sort of present it desires to be, failing to tie all these components into one related entity. Torn between younger grownup drama and R-rated violence, Cursed appears to resolve it is best to wander into Game of Thrones territory, with political intrigue and a single spectacular one-shot battle sequence.
The sweeping English valleys are stunning, and a few of the imagery evokes co-creator Frank Miller’s comics — Sin City, 300 and the graphic novel the present relies on. But disappointingly, Cursed’s greatest, yep, curse, comes down to its predominant character.
The present in the end fails its younger feminine protagonist, who has all of the cool promise of a sword-wielding heroine destined to lead her individuals to freedom. Instead, Nimue flounders in romance and absurd decision-making, with no actual persona that lets her shine because the highly effective enchantress she’s arrange to be.
Note: Minor spoilers forward.
We start when Nimue (13 Reasons Why’s Katherine Langford) is chosen to be the subsequent Summoner of the Hidden. The function entails defending her druid individuals through the use of her reward to name on the weather.
Instead, Nimue rejects the place, calling it a curse. She laments her individuals for casting her out, after a demonic encounter scarred her bodily and mentally from childhood.
Along with comedian aid greatest buddy Pym (Lily Newmark), Nimue heads to the docks, but as a substitute of catching the subsequent ship out of there, they arrive throughout Arthur, performed by Devon Terrell — the first Black actor to be solid within the function.
Like most of the characters with legendary names who pop up within the present, Arthur has just a few quirks that mark him as completely different from what we have historically seen. Aside from a fantastic singing voice, he is a scruffy knight who charms Nimue, organising a love story that in the end lacks genuine moments to earn the sparks that fly.
When the Red Paladins, magic-hating brokers of the church, invade Nimue’s village, she’s tasked with bringing the Sword of Power to Merlin (Vikings’ Gustaf Skarsgård). But Merlin is not at his magical greatest, ingesting away his sorrows as a substitute of doing what his boss, a petulant Uther Pendragon, asks of him.
Politics amongst kings, together with Viking chief Ice King and warrior queen Red Spear, simmer within the background and shortly envelope Nimue. She should additionally resolve what to do with the Sword of Power, which everybody desires.
While it is refreshing to see Nimue shed her conventional antagonistic function, in addition to do greater than merely hand Excalibur over to Arthur, she missteps in an analogous method to Daenerys Targaryen. After going from naive would-be queen to non secular determine inspiring the oppressed, Nimue’s crammed right into a storyline that takes all that triumph away.
It’s irritating, after we do see her develop all through the collection. Finally accepting her duty as chief of the Fey, she makes just a few key choices that repay and, most significantly, rallies the woodland-type Fey tribes. She even earns a memorable title just like the Wolfblood Witch.
But then she tosses the sword down a ravine in a sudden rage, and one character really calls her out for being unreasonably “whiny.” She by no means takes an episode with a mentor to discover the bounds of her uncommon magic or will get a triumphant second to chunk again at her demons. Worse, she’s confined to the sidelines within the ultimate battle to save her individuals and cease the “age of men.”
Nimue dips her foot into being the hero you need her to be with a Wonder Woman pump-you-up second on the finish of the primary episode. Yet regardless of its intriguing spin on a legendary determine, Cursed fails to go away an enduring influence. Overlong and unfold skinny, it finds its targeted tempo and otherworldly ambiance fading as surface-level Game of Thrones politics get in the way in which. The present is ready up for a second season, but probably the most fascinating elements of its story already appear to be behind it.
Cursed is out now on Netflix.