Season 1, Episodes 1-10
Cursed is a treat of a dark fantasy whose theme music will haunt you long after you’ve finished watching, and leave you wanting for more. Though in the beginning it takes some stumbles it quickly finds its footing and establishes itself as a refreshing take on the Arthurian tale. Created by Tom Wheeler and Frank Miller, Cursed tells the story of Fey girl Nimue (played by Katherine Langford) as she’s thrown into a war that threatens her people. With the help of friend Arthur (Devon Terrell) and many others they meet along the way, they fight to protect the Fey from the looming scourge of the Red Paladins, including the terrifying Weeping Monk (Daniel Sharman), who strive to “cleanse” the world of them. Overall the cast of the show has done a fantastic job embracing their characters and the arcs given to them, and the show has proven a fantastic transformation of the source material. The set design from places to costumes to people is impeccable, even extending to the creation of entirely new languages for little details, and the atmosphere makes it very easy to believe this could be a period drama of its age even with all the cultures within who (as far as we know!) never actually existed in this time or any other.
Though the story feels largely dark and as if futility looms over all, there is a pleasant amount of humour injected in their plight which doesn’t feel out of place or distracting from the matters at hand for our ragtag army of Fey and human alike. There were a couple of plot elements that felt cliché, though were optimised to fit with the story and didn’t become as much a burden to the flow as seemed they could be when first revealed.
The dialogue between characters never felt to leave a moment of filler, and the chemistry between actors was extremely believable. Langford did a great job with her role of a woman on a quest conflicted, as did Terrell as her supporter. Also worth mention are Gustaf Skarsgård as Merlin, who was entertaining in his part of a deceitful advisor of kings, and plenty of other actors for characters on the side of the Fey that I’ll refrain from mentioning in case of spoilers. On the side against, Sharman as the Weeping Monk, King Uther (Sebastian Armesto), and Father Carden (Peter Mullan) were well suited for their roles as oppressors of the people.
The largest complaint that could be said about the show is that some of the CGI early on in the episodes didn’t look as realistic as could’ve been done when compared to scenes later on. It was difficult to fear for Nimue’s life in her fight with the wolves when it was ever too slightly obvious they were fake.
All said, Cursed was a very entertaining watch and left much to think about in how its themes reflect on our modern age – war, genocide, and what happens to the refugees that follow. There was a delicate balance between this and the hope the Fey people sought, and what salvation they could obtain in the wake of all this suffering. This iteration of the legend is one to be reckoned with, and should be welcomed for the new ideas it brings.