SyFy is preparing the third season of Merlin for its American debut. To whet your appetite for medieval magic and mayhem, the network has released a short preview of the first new episode, entitled "The Tears of Uther Pendragon."
For those out of the loop, Merlin can be thought of as an Arthurian version of Smallville. It focuses on the young adventures of Merlin, Arthur, and Morgana (also known as Morgan Le Fey) as they grow up in Camelot under Arthur's father, King Uther.
Uther Pendragon is distrustful of magic to a paranoid degree, and has all magic users within his kingdom executed - which makes life for Merlin somewhat problematic, since he's Arthur's servant. The only people that know Merlin's secret are the castle's doctor Gaius and the dragon captured by Uther's knights.
The preview shows us Morgana's return - after being kidnapped for over a year. Morgana also has latent magical ability, but is forced to hide it while under the protection of Uther. Her magic, and her dark intentions toward the kingdom, are unbeknown to all but Merlin and Gaius.
The third season looks to continue on a more epic scale than the previous two. With Arthur and Merlin's relationship firmly rooted and a good crop of antagonists to play against, the series can get on to some of the classical battles and political intrigue that run through the more fleshed-out versions of the ancient legend. While it's hard to feel a real sense of peril for young characters who have a known destiny (again, not unlike Smallville) there's enough differences in the new version of the classic tale to keep fans coming back. For instance, we've already seen multiple appearances of Lancelot, Morgause, and Mordred in the previous two seasons - and the stories for all of them vary from the legend in compelling ways.
Check out the preview below:
I've seen the first two episodes ahead of Friday's premiere, and they definitely set the stage for more intriguing developments in the third season. Those hungry for more Pendragon will not be disappointed - keep an eye out for the upcoming review.
Merlin returns to SyFy this Friday at 10:00 PM.