Cursed (2020 TV series)

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Cursed
Cursed Title Card.png
Genre
Created by
Based on
Cursed
by
  • Frank Miller
  • Tom Wheeler
Starring
Composer(s)Jeff Russo
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Frank Miller
  • Tom Wheeler
Production location(s)United Kingdom
Running time48–59 minutes
Production company(s)
  • Arcanum
  • Frank Miller Ink
DistributorNetflix
Release
Original networkNetflix
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseJuly 17, 2020 (2020-07-17)

Cursed is a British-American fantasy drama web television series, based on the illustrated novel of the same name by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler, that premiered on Netflix on July 17, 2020. The set location of the series is United Kingdom.

Premise[edit]

Writing for Deadline, Nellie Andreeva describes Cursed as "a re-imagining of the Arthurian legend, told through the eyes of Nimue, a young heroine with a mysterious gift who is destined to become the powerful (and tragic) Lady of the Lake. After her mother's death, she finds an unexpected partner in Arthur, a young mercenary, in a quest to find Merlin and deliver an ancient sword. Over the course of her journey, Nimue will become a symbol of courage and rebellion against the terrifying Red Paladins, and their complicit King Uther."[1] In another piece on that site, Andreeva calls the show "a coming-of-age story whose themes are familiar to our own time: the obliteration of the natural world, religious terror, senseless war, and finding the courage to lead in the face of the impossible".[2]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Katherine Langford as Nimue / the Wolf-Blood Witch / the Fey Queen, the lead whose village is pillaged by religious zealots, "the Red Paladins" at the start of the series. Nimue is entrusted with the legendary Sword of Power by her mother Lenore, who tells her to get it to "Merlin" moments before her death at the hands of the Paladins. Nimue thereon sets out on a journey to save her people from a holy war of extinction, consistently struggling with being corrupted by the power of the Sword and simultaneously comes to grip with her secret history and the immensely powerful magical legacy that flows in her blood and what it will mean for her and her people when she embraces her destiny as the "Wolf-Blood Witch" and eventually the Fey Queen.
  • Devon Terrell as Arthur, a sellsword who becomes Nimue's main love interest and struggles to rise above the shadow of dishonour and debts left in the wake of his father's death. He becomes an ally of the Fey and slowly begins to regain his family's honour in his journey with Nimue.
  • Gustaf Skarsgård as Merlin, a once-formidable magician who has lived for hundreds of years and is now the closest advisor to Uther Pendragon. He seeks to redeem a morally bankrupt past by destroying the Sword of Power when he discovers it still exists, revealing it contains dark magic which will corrupt its every wielder and was the loss of his formidable magical powers.
  • Daniel Sharman as Weeping Monk / Lancelot, the most powerful warrior in the army of the zealots who is seen consistently being the turning point in conflicts between human and Fey and is seemingly able to track and lead the Paladins to Fey wherever they go, killing them without mercy, though he claims to spare children to spread his message, using them to lead the Paladins to Fey hideouts. He is later revealed to be Fey himself and begins questioning his allegiance upon discovery by the Green Knight.
  • Sebastian Armesto as King Uther, a powerful but deluded king who uses Merlin's council as a crutch until discovering he can no longer do magic and his larger manipulations. Uther turns to his mother for guidance, but her political aspirations create a rift between them that forces Uther to take his own counsel. He seeks the Sword of Power which will solidify his illegitimate claim to the Pendragon Throne.
  • Lily Newmark as Pym, Nimue's dearest and closest friend who escapes the destruction of their village at the start of the series. She falls in with Guinevere's Red Spear army for a majority of the series and masquerades as its healer to hide her Fey heritage.
  • Peter Mullan as Father Carden, the leader of the Red Paladins and the fanatic responsible for their formation under the Roman Catholic faith. He spreads the misguided rhetoric of Fey being demons and leads the Paladins in his goals to hunt Fey to inevitable extinction. He manipulates Lancelot into hunting his own kind on the Paladins's behalf as the Weeping Monk.
  • Shalom Brune-Franklin as Sister Igraine / The Widow / Morgana, Arthur's estranged sister who was sent to a convent as a girl but grew to become the greatest human ally of the Fey. She uses her grandmother's name "Igraine" to conceal her true identity at the abbey and shelters Nimue for a time before leading her to a settlement of Fey where the latter soon becomes Fey Queen, taking Morgana as one of her chief advisors. Morgana eventually learns she contains the potential to become Britannia's greatest sorceress from a Dark God. She kills and accidentally acquires the powers of the Widow, abilities she later uses to save Nimue. She and Merlin witness Nimue's apparent death and flee together to parts unknown toward the close of the series.
  • Bella Dayne as Red Spear / Guinevere, the Queen of the Red Spear fleet and an exile of Cumber's court who eventually becomes an ally of the Fey.
  • Matt Stokoe as Green Knight / Gawain, an old friend of Nimue and a champion warrior of the Fey who helps reintroduce the Weeping Monk to his humanity.

Recurring[edit]

  • Emily Coates as Sister Iris, a teenaged girl who desires to join the Red Paladins and grew up in the convent with Morgana. She eventually finds the Fey settlement and masquerades as Fey, but secretly aims to kill Nimue.
  • Polly Walker as Lady Lunete, Queen Regent and Uther's mother who cares more about her crown than her son.
  • Billy Jenkins as Squirrel/Percival, a young Fey boy and one of the only other survivors of the Sky People village.
  • Adaku Ononogbo as Kaze
  • Catherine Walker as Lenore, Nimue's mother who gives her the Sword of Power at the start of the series to give to Merlin before her death. It is revealed that she and Merlin shared a brief romance many years ago which conceived and is responsible for Nimue's vast magical powers. Before her death, Lenore had become the High Priestess of the Sky People.
  • Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson as Cumber, the Ice King who claims legitimacy to the Pendragon Throne and commands an army to reclaim it from Uther Pendragon. When he learns of the existence of the Sword of Power, he and his daughters scheme to claim it and to that end come into conflict with Uther and the Fey.
  • Sofia Oxenham as Eydis, eldest daughter to Cumber
  • Clive Russell as Wroth, Chief of the Tusks
  • Sophie Harkness as Sister Celia, a fellow nun and Morgana's lover
  • Aidan Knight as Cups, a Kingsman
  • Andrew Whipp as Jonah
  • Nickolaj Dencker Schmidt as Dof, a raider who rescues Pym and takes a liking to her
  • Peter Guinness as Sir Ector
  • Olafur Darri Olafsson as Rugen the Leper King, who is manipulated by Merlin and seeks to acquire the Sword of Power for his own faction.
  • Zoë Waites as the Widow, a mysterious character who allies with Merlin throughout the course of the series, helping him in times of need. She wears a black veil concealing her identity but promises Merlin that he will see her face too one day. She acts as an invisible guide who claims the souls of the dead upon opening her veil until she is seen by Morgana, whose ability to see into the realm of the dead allows her to see through her magic cloaking and seemingly keeps her from death despite seeing her true face. The Widow is tasked by unknown motivators to claim Nimue's soul, but Morgana eventually kills and unwittingly claims the Widow's powers for own, though this seemingly does not rescue Nimue from her tragic fate.

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byTeleplay byOriginal release date [3]
1"Nimue"Zetna FuentesTom WheelerJuly 17, 2020 (2020-07-17)
2"Cursed"Zetna FuentesTom WheelerJuly 17, 2020 (2020-07-17)
3"Alone"Daniel NettheimJanet LinJuly 17, 2020 (2020-07-17)
4"The Red Lake"Daniel NettheimRachel ShukertJuly 17, 2020 (2020-07-17)
5"The Joining"Daniel NettheimLeila GersteinJuly 17, 2020 (2020-07-17)
6"Festa and Moreii"Jon EastWilliam WheelerJuly 17, 2020 (2020-07-17)
7"Bring Us In Good Ale"Jon EastTom WheelerJuly 17, 2020 (2020-07-17)
8"The Fey Queen"Jon EastRobbie ThompsonJuly 17, 2020 (2020-07-17)
9"Poisons"Sarah O'GormanTom WheelerJuly 17, 2020 (2020-07-17)
10"The Sacrifice"Sarah O'GormanTom WheelerJuly 17, 2020 (2020-07-17)
Consummating her relationship with Arthur, Nimue convinces him to lead the Fey should Uther betray them. Morgana confronts the Widow, who informs her she’s been cursed by the Dark Gods. When her intentions are interrogated however, the Widow threatens Morgana’s life and departs. Nimue later entrusts Morgana with the Sword and has her depart the city to keep it safe before receiving confirmation that the Fey have safely reached the harbour and handing herself over to Uther as payment. Arthur and the Fey are attacked by Cumber’s army as they dock but repel the attack with the help of the Red Spear's army. Nimue demands Uther release Squirrel and Gawain in exchange for the Sword, but after finding Gawain dead, she lashes out, earning the Paladins’s attention. The Weeping Monk rescues Squirrel, and takes down several Trinity Guards before fleeing together. Moments before the Paladins can execute Nimue, however, Morgana (having killed and become the Widow) rescues Nimue, giving her the Sword. Staving off the Paladins, Morgana leads Nimue to Merlin and the three flee Uther’s camp, but Iris pursues and fires an arrow that sends Nimue into a cascading waterfall to her apparent death. Enraged, Merlin reclaims the Sword, with it his magic, decimating a large group of Paladins and escaping with Morgana. On the road, Squirrel reveals his full name is Percival and the Weeping Monk reveals his is Lancelot.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In 2018 it was announced that Netflix had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. The show is based on the novel of the same name by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler (Simon & Schuster 2019). In addition to creating the television adaptation, Miller and Wheeler were also expected to executive produce the series as well.[1][4][5][6] In September 2018 it was announced that Zetna Fuentes is set to direct and serve as an executive producer for the first two episodes of the series.[2]

Casting[edit]

In September 2018, Katherine Langford was cast in the series' lead role.[2] In March 2019, it was announced Devon Terrell, Gustaf Skarsgård, Peter Mullan, Lily Newmark, Shalom Brune-Franklin, Daniel Sharman, Sebastian Armesto, Emily Coates and Billy Jenkins had joined the cast.[7] Creator Frank Miller appears in a cameo.

Filming[edit]

In January 2019, set building began on disused Army land in Deepcut, England. This was expected to continue until March 2019, with filming then scheduled to start and continue until September 2019.[8]

Release[edit]

The series was released on Netflix on July 17, 2020.[3]

Reception[edit]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes compiled 47 reviews, identified 68% of them as positive, and assessed an average rating of 6.03/10. The website's critics consensus states, "Cursed's first season isn't as subversive as its source material, but strong plotting and a heroic performance from Katherine Langford make for an enjoyable escape."[9] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the show a score of 57 out of 100 based on 11 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[10] Lucy Mangan from The Guardian criticized the writing and the acting, but wrote that "at times during its 10 beautifully meaningless hours, it's great fun".[11] Huw Fullerton of Radio Times also opined about the "awkward performances and exposition" while saying that the series "never quite feels big enough to tell this epic story [...] but overall the storytelling does a good job of showcasing varied, interesting characters in a growing cycle of violence."[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (March 28, 2018). "Netflix Orders TV Series 'Cursed' From Frank Miller & Tom Wheeler Based On Book Reimagining King Arthur Legend". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Andreeva, Nellie (September 12, 2018). "'13 Reasons Why's Katherine Langford To Star In Netflix's Arthurian Series 'Cursed'; Zetna Fuentes To Direct". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Cursed – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  4. ^ Otterson, Joe (March 28, 2018). "Frank Miller, Tom Wheeler to Adapt Upcoming Novel 'Cursed' As Netflix Series". Variety. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  5. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (March 28, 2018). "Frank Miller Sets King Arthur Drama Series at Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  6. ^ Gilyadov, Alex (March 28, 2018). "Frank Miller to tackle King Arthur series for Netflix". IGN. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  7. ^ Day-Ramos, Dino (March 4, 2019). "'Cursed': Devon Terrell, Gustaf Skarsgard, Lily Newmark & More Join Arthurian Netflix Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  8. ^ Imgur. "Imgur". Imgur. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "Cursed: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  10. ^ "Cursed (2020) - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  11. ^ Mangan, Lucy (July 17, 2020). "Cursed review – the King Arthur prequel nobody was crying out for". The Guardian. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  12. ^ Fullerton, Huw (July 17, 2020). "Netflix's Cursed review: A slow starter with stand-out moments". Radio Times. Retrieved July 20, 2020.

External links[edit]