Following in the footsteps of BBC’s Merlin (as well as the 1998 television miniseries), producer Graham King and Starz will begin production this month on 10 episodes of their own dramatic retelling of the Arthurian legend, Camelot. The network has cast Joseph Fiennes (William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love) and Eva Green (Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale) in the period piece as the wizard Merlin and the sorceress Morgana, along with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Twilight star Jamie Campbell Bower as King Arthur and Tamsin Egerton as Lady Guinevere.
It is not yet known whether the tone of the show will be more faux-historical, a la Showtime’s The Tudors, or graphic and sensationalized, like Starz’s popular original series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I would hazard that, with Fiennes and Green, Camelot will tend towards being more serious, but we probably won’t get a better idea of how the new series is going to come together until later this year.
Casting talent like Fiennes and Green is a sure step in the right direction for Starz, which currently lags behind Showtime and HBO in terms of the quality of their original programming and the respectability of their brand. Starz Media managing director Carmi Zlotnik sees a strong cast as central to Camelot’s chances: “All of the best TV shows were marked by great actors in the ideal parts, and that is certainly the case with the talented cast on ‘Camelot.”
Camelot will debut on Starz early next year.