Female main character: good. Strong female characters: good. Diversity (of race): good. Beautifully shot and realised: good. Sadly, of these three, the amount of quality writing is limited, and the one with the most convincing dialogue is the one with the least obvious diversity of characters. The Mandalorian is, to use a potentially confusing phrase, good bad TV. It uses the Star Wars universe - established elsewhere - to anchor a set of stories that are, if not convincing, then at least entertaining. In a way, it is the very improbability of the setting, the unlikely invincibility of the main character, that allows the program as a whole to get away with its stories, some of which deserve a fuller realisation than the episode length they get. The episodic nature of it means that there is a bit more coherence to each hour (or so) than there is in either of the other two, and I suppose that is also something positive about The Witcher. Having said that, the frankly unfathomable long-range plot of Witcher is such that you basically have to watch it twice before any of it makes any sense.
Both of those programs, although perhaps stiffly written and keen to establish a sort of coolness, do well at rollicking along and drawing you in. But there are far too many moments where the dialogue only exists to serve the story, and that puts actors into a difficult position. In the case of the Mandalorian and the Witcher, what comes across on screen is believable, even if it takes a little bit of indulgence. Sadly, there are too many moments in Cursed where you just don't end up believing what's going on. They try - and that includes such things as a nod to inclusivity in the form of the main character saying two women kissing have done nothing wrong - to make it work. They try to make it appeal. The Fey are great for a set of outcasts, different people who thereby are persecuted. The Red Paladins are a good concept for evil, but as is often the case with a set piece of drama like this, their evil is almost too committed to be believable. There is no need for there to be a romantic storyline between Nimue and Arthur, but it is there nevertheless, and there is antagonism among the goodies. It's all there. But the problem - if it can be reduced to this - is that whatever the quality of these actors, the lines are so creaky that it's impossible to let it slide. The only one who works across the whole program for me is the wonderfully unhinged Gustaf Skarsgard as Merlin, but even then his story is so preposterous as to require a superhuman effort not to just abandon the series altogether.
So, a recommendation for the second series. Worry a bit less about the long-range plot. Worry a bit less about making sure the characters have their moments. Write a great story, and tell it in such a way that the characters can do the story, rather than tell it by talking to each other. And - for Heaven's sake - let's get away from this brain-aching thing of changing from one story to another every fifteen seconds. Please.
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