Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Camelot

Go To

Camelot (musical)

  • Ensemble Dark Horse: For the 1967 film, Vanessa Redgrave as Guinevere, Laurence Naismith as Merlyn and Anthony Rogers as Sir Dinadan.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Used in-story. Guinevere, in the beginning, seems flattered by the idea of her being the subject of a war. Later...
    • One can't help but wonder if the writers intended for "C'est Moi" to be Foreshadowing of what Lancelot ultimately does.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Memetic Mutation: "Camelot" as a term for US President John F. Kennedy's administration stems from an interview given by his First Lady and widow Jacqueline shortly after his assassination, where she referred to his love for the musical, particularly the line "Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot". She added, "There'll be great Presidents again [...] but there'll never be another Camelot again". Ever since then, "Camelot" has become shorthand for the JFK administration, particularly in the sense of it being mythologized as a time of idealism which was tragically cut short, akin to the legendary Camelot. Incidentally, Lerner was a classmate of JFK's.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Nimue, singing "Follow Me."
    • Morgan Le Fay is one as well should she be kept in the show, having a grand time Chewing the Scenery and belittling "nasty" Mordred.
    • Merlin only appears in two scenes in the film, but Laurence Naismith make them very memorable.
  • Wangst: Arthur during his monologues. Most likely intentional given the satirical nature of the play.
  • The Woobie: Arthur, at the end. He's had to watch as his dream dies around him, the Round Table falling apart, his son is plotting against him and he's forced to fight his best friend in a pointless war.

Camelot (series)

  • Cry for the Devil: Morgan Pendragon in her very first scene (and the first scene of the entire show, no less), to the point where some viewers felt so sorry for her they ended up rooting for her over Arthur in spite of her evil actions. Morgan's abusive father killed her mother so he could marry his mistress, Igraine, then sent her away to a nunnery. When she returns years later to try and make things right between them, Uther violently rejects her and refuses to acknowledge her as his daughter, prompting her to poison him so she can take her rightful place as his heir and get revenge on him for his cruelty towards her and her mother. However, just as she thinks she's about to get back the life and inheritance that was taken from her, Merlin suddenly produces Arthur, a half-brother she never even knew about and declares him the new monarch - mostly because destiny (i.e. Merlin) says so rather than any actual leadership qualities he possesses; he's also the son of the stepmother Morgan despises, who replaced her murdered mother, did little to stop Uther from mistreating her and is now supplanting her with her own child. Though it doesn't excuse her actions, it's not surprising Morgan snaps. She also discovers that Igraine was the one who urged Uther to send her to a nunnery, because Uther had originally been intending to kill her to get her out of the way (which Igraine never mentioned for some reason).
  • Designated Hero: Arthur is a Spoiled Brat who is introduced to us while he's sleeping with his brother's girlfriend. He becomes king primarily because of Merlin's manipulation and plotting, rather than any merit on his own part. Then he gets into a Love Triangle with Guinevere and her Nice Guy betrothed/husband. His character develops a little over the episodes but, as seen below, he ended the season pretty much as unpopular as he started.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Morgan. Well, she may be an unrepentant, self-righteous villain who goes so far as to rape her own brother at the end, but she's so hot and her backstory is so sad! Surely that justifies every one of her atrocious crimes, right?
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Among the knights, Gawain for being the most badass. His actor Clive Standen later got more recognition as the also-badass Rollo in The History Channel's Vikings.
  • Evil Is Cool: Morgan is a very charismatic, intelligent, snarky, and badass sorceress who comes up with all kinds of schemes to regain the throne and has a fabulous dress sense. She's generally one of the most popular characters on the show.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Merlin. Merlin fans couldn't accept new actors as their favorite characters, and Camelot fans said Merlin was aimed at kids and too loose with the legends. "Merlin" fans also felt "Camelot" focused more on sex, violence and bad language than on plot.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: In keeping with the lukewarm response to Arthur, some fans were bewildered that Guinevere was so interested in him when she already had Leontes.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Joseph Fiennes is the legendary iconic wizard Merlin while his brother Ralph is the modern iconic wizard Voldemort — and they're both bald for the role. The show ended around a mere month before Voldemort's final movie was released as well.
    • The show has a Canon Foreigner knight in Arthur's circle named Leontes while its rival of sorts, BBC's Merlin has a Canon Foreigner knight in Arthur's circle named Leon. Leontes dies at the end of the show's only season, while in the final season of Merlin airing the year after, Leon outlives Arthur himself.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Arthur and Kay are quite close anyway, due to having grown up as brothers, but Arthur shares way more chemistry with him than Guinevere.
    • Morgan is much closer to her servant Vivian than she is to anyone else.
  • Jerks Are Worse Than Villains: A pretty extreme case; Arthur - the main protagonist - is hated by a large chunk of the fandom due to being perceived as a hedonistic spoilt manchild who does little to earn the throne and sleeps with women who he knows are already in committed relationships (including his brother's girlfriend and the bride-to-be of one of his knights). That being said, his actions pale in comparison to Morgan's, who is willing to commit multiple murders and rapes (including raping her own brother) to gain the throne, yet she's easily one of the show's most popular characters. To make matters worse, the Jerk (Arthur) is the rape victim of the Villain (Morgan), but most viewers tend to brush that aside. This is likely due to Eva Green's charismatic and nuanced portrayal of Morgan, while Jamie Campbell Bower is widely seen as miscast as Arthur and makes him a very difficult protagonist to root for, but the dissonant fan reception can still seems a tad extreme.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Several viewers admitted they were mainly interested in the show because of Eva Green's performance as Morgan (she's generally agreed to be one of the best parts of the series).
  • Memetic Mutation: Merlin being Voldemort's brother and vice versa, made all the easier by the Fiennes brothers going bald for their roles.
  • Moment of Awesome: "You are nothing! You will always be nothing but my father's bastard!"
  • Narm: The sword Excalibur is custom-made by an ordinary smith for Merlin. Fine. But the sword being named after the smith's daughter who is literally named Excalibur? Hilarious, and that's not even factoring in that Merlin accidentally causes both their deaths due to essentially poor communication.
  • Older Than They Think: Arthur and Morgan as paternal half-siblings instead of maternal originates with Knights of the Round Table. BBC's Merlin also presented them as both being the children of Uther with different mothers, albeit neither were aware of this until midway through the series.
  • Questionable Casting: Arthur is played by Jamie Campbell Bower, known for playing evil or jerkass pretty boys. While that might not normally be a problem, the fact that he's the main character makes it hard to root for him, though to be fair this is an issue with the writing as much as if not more than the casting. Some feel Arthur might have come across as more sympathetic with a different actor playing him, and some also feel that Arthur and Kay's actors and characterizations should have been switched, since Kay looked and acted more like the conventional hero they wanted Arthur to be, and the traditional Kay was indeed somewhat of a jerkass in the later romances (but this still leaves the issue of the love triangle with Leontes, which Bower's bad-boy vibe plays into but which makes Arthur possibly more unsympathetic than intended). Some even feel that Bower had the right look and bearing for Mordred, but he was playing Arthur.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Arthur/Guinevere and the consequent Love Triangle with Leontes was generally considered boring and shallow, particularly since Arthur/Guinevere's attraction was based almost solely on lust (occurring on the basis of one dream, two short conversations, and sex in a cave on her wedding day to another man), and most viewers' sympathies lay with Leontes.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Arthur is often at the receiving end of this. While he's not without his faults, he does show himself to be heroic, especially towards the end of the series. It's especially jarring when he's, at worst, an asshole, yet Morgan, a murderer and a rapist, gets about as much love from the fandom as Arthur gets hate.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Lots of viewers ended up rooting for Morgan over Arthur. The latter tends to be disliked by many viewers due to coming off as whiny and spoilt, while Morgan is generally seen as one of the most compelling and charismatic characters. It helps that she actually has quite a sympathetic backstory and motivations and is something of an underdog (she was cast off by her abusive father who murdered her mother, is viewed as being an unsuitable heir mostly because Merlin says so, and just when she's about to become queen, some random half-brother she's never heard of turns up to take her place, despite being an immature and unqualified teenager). The fact that fans still root for her after she goes so far as raping her brother is, needless to say, disturbing.
  • The Scrappy: Arthur was not a popular character. Although the point of the show was that he started out as a Spoiled Brat before undergoing Character Development, fans felt he was too unsympathetic to begin with and Eva Green was simply too charismatic as Morgan. He solidified himself as a Scrappy when he slept with Guinevere before her wedding day and felt no remorse, while she at least regretted it and tried to make amends. Still, the fact that fans can't forgive him for this, but nearly always forgive Morgan for much worse crimes (rape, for instance), is... well, jarring.
  • She Really Can Act: Claire Forlani was considered a weak attempt at hyping up a new star in the 90s, and her hype faded in the 2000s. She went quite against type here and turned in a spirited performance as Igraine, bringing the character to life in a way not usually done.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The reinterpretations of the Arthurian legends, especially regarding the main characters, didn't go over well with some viewers. Of course, the legends themselves have always been subject to some kind of reinterpretation... not often with characterization, though.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks!: The show was criticized for being a knockoff of Game of Thrones, but without the elements that made that series good (well-developed and nuanced characters, compelling multi-layered story, a decent script).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: King Lot (James Purefoy), Uther's greatest rival and Arthur's challenger to the throne alongside Morgan who allies with him and becomes his lover out of mutual convenience, dies in just the second episode in a Mutual Kill with Arthur's foster-father and Kay's father Ector (Sean Pertwee), when both men and Lot especially could have been kept around longer to better develop the show's characters and worldbuilding.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The show is rife with this, but for Arthurian lore fans, one bit sticks out: the legendary but probably part-historical siege of Mount Badon (Mons Badonicus) had an iconic place in early Arthurian lore as the battle where Arthur spectacularly halted invaders from troubling the British for a generation, supposedly slaying over 900 men himself. Here, it becomes the underwhelming siege of "Bardon Pass", fought with Suspiciously Small Armies — Arthur and a dozen knights defend not a fort, but what amounts to "a farm with two sentries", and the enemy force doesn't look that much larger despite outnumbering them.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: Guinevere clearly has a modern hairstyle with layers and highlights, which takes one out of the series.

The Golden Films work

  • Angst? What Angst?: Arthur isn't angry about Guinivere and Lancelot's affair, and even considers them good friends as he lies dying.
  • Awesome Art: The scenarios, the castle, and Avalon in general are very well designed.
  • Awesome Music: All the songs.
  • Designated Evil: While the movie avoids portraying Mordred as a strawman, it fails to explain why his will to punish Lancelot and Guinivere's affair is misguided. The closest thing is a comment that Mordred fails to see the bigger picture, but this explanation is too vague. Lancelot and Guinivere most certainly broke the rules by having an adulterous affair.