Cursed comes before the King Arthur legend, with Nimue (Katherine Langford – Knives Out) wielding the sword…
First, she’s spooked by birds circling in the sky, then a deer tells her that death is not the end, making her think she’s tripping on something. However, the deer adds she should “Save them…”, but who? And is this really happening, or has she been on the waccy baccy?
Either way, The Hidden have chosen, and Nimue is the new Summoner… whatever that means. Yes, Cursed is a load of sci-fi nonsense where I have absolutely no idea what’s going on, but I can tell that for its intended audience, it’ll be massive. Still, even when I don’t understand something, it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it, so I got stuck into the first two episodes.
As she gets to grips with her new found talents, she continues to hang out with childhood friend Pym (Lily Newmark – Temple), while the man to avoid is Father Carden, played by Peter Mullan who makes his presence as unwelcome as that of his Ozark character Jacob Snell, and a contribution to why this is rated 18.
Along the way, Nimue is challenged to roll a score of 7 with two dice, yet we clearly get the impression she has some sort of Jedi mind powers (or witchcraft, in those days), which will give her the desired outcome; and Merlin claims he can cast spells on people, this Merlin being like the middle-aged version of the character, not the BBC’s young equivalent.
And when I got to episode 2, it features flashbacks to Nimue’s childhood, to fill in some backstory.
Overall, it’s difficult to know where to pitch this programme. It often looks like the kind of show aimed at teenage girls, hence the female heroine – and with a potential love interest in Arthur, played by Devon Terrell. But then, there’s some 18-rated violence and bloodshed thrown in. Then again, those same teens will most likely have seen Game Of Thrones inside out… and I’ve never seen a whole episode of that, but I get the jist of it.
However, there are some ideas in this which feel like things we’ve seen many times before, yet applied to the King Arthur-style setting. It’s difficult to go into detail without giving spoilers, but it just feels like it’s not really trying to stamp its mark on the Arthurian legend. Plus, with Arthur played by Mr Terrell – who also portrayed Barack Obama in 2016’s Netflix film, Barry, it feels like someone’s too busy ticking all the diversity boxes in this series rather than scripting a decent and engaging plot.
As such, while anything onscreen was completely inoffensive, the cliches and lack of originality – plus the fact I didn’t have much idea what was going on, meant I won’t be sticking around for any more.
Cursed is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but is on Netflix from today.
Episodes 1 and 2 Score: 3/10
Series Directors: Paul King, Tom Marshall, Daina Reid
Producer: Alex Boden
Series Directors: Jon East, Daniel Nettheim, Zetna Fuentes, Sarah O’Gorman
Creators/Writers: Frank Miller, Tom Wheeler
Music: Jeff Russo
Nimue: Katherine Langford
Arthur: Devon Terrell
Merlin: Gustaf Skarsgård
Weeping Monk: Daniel Sharman
King Uther: Sebastian Armesto
Pym: Lily Newmark
Igraine: Shalom Brune-Franklin
Father Carden: Peter Mullan
Lenore: Catherine Walker
Gustave the Healer: Lace Akpojaro
Moon WIng Girl: Lola Shaw
Florentin the Miller: Julian Seager
Cups: Aiden Knight
Hook: Matthew Wynn
Brioni: Bryony Miller
Sir Borley: Jasper Jacob
Bors: Sean Gilder
Mosk: Eddie Eyre
Trent: Joseph MacNab
Sir Dellum: Anton Saunders
Josse: Tobi King Bakare
Royal Aide: Robert Wilfort
Jonah (Nimue’s father): Andrew Whipp
Nimue (aged 5): Ella Prebble
Nimue (aged 10): Florence Hunt
Voice in the Woods: Olivia Pearson
Footman at the gates: Robin Pearce
Red Paladin at the gates: Robin Pearce
Dentist: Pete Lee-Wilson
Wallo: Thom Ashley
Kurt: Donal Finn
Peri: Molly Harris
The Widow: Zoe Waites
Squirrel: Billy Jenkins
Lucien: Hugh Simon
Villager: Amanda Gordon
Benum: Kaine Zajaz
Hunter #1: Paddy Rowan
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.