Cursed is a new Netflix show that takes on old Arthurian fairytales and mixes some familiar characters with new stories and new perspectives. It’s at the same time familiar and new, it’s fantastical and yet still relevant to a modern audience.
Cursed reimagines old characters, like Arthur, Morgana, Gawain, and especially Merlin, in new and fascinating ways. Merlin is now shirtless, drunk, rather cocky, and kind of a mess. It’s marvelous. Morgana is Black, a lesbian, and magical, both literally and metaphorically. I love old Arthurian legends, and to see some of my favorite ancient literary characters adapted in such a creative way was truly fun.
Before there was King Arthur, the famously powerful sword of legend chose a queen. That’s how this story begins. It follows Nimue, a young Fey girl with special powers as she leads a rebellion against the persecution of her people by the Church.
Nimue starts out as a mysterious and somewhat rebellious teenager who soon finds herself on the run, dubbed as a heretic and witch. She is young, powerful, and outspoken, a natural enemy to the army of men leading the Church.
A Progressive Fairytale
The events of the show are based upon Christian persecution of anything magic, calling these people demons and witches. It is immensely interesting to see a show so honestly portray the church as the bad guys, as it has been throughout much of history. Cursed unequivocally paints white Christian males as the villains and persecutors, and it’s, frankly refreshing. It feels right.
Part of what makes this show great is that it is unapologetically progressive. Arthur is Black. Morgana is Black. A woman is the hero. Cursed takes legends of old and does not hide behind antiquated traditions. It instead adapts fascinating old legends to include a more modern cast.
In keeping with the progressive nature the show includes darker themes beyond a simple fairytale. genocide and persecution as well as religious tolerance
The first episode requires a bit of patience, but by the end of episode two, the suspense of the show kicks in, and the engaging nature of a dangerous quest takes hold.
There are these stylized transitions between scenes that are not my favorite. It takes the viewer out of the moment and distracts from the story, but I can’t deny the artistry is beautiful. There are some moments of gore that come across a little cheesily. But even these strange elements are forgivable when accompanied by such a fantastical and enthralling narrative.
I thought this was going to be another step in the journey to find the next game of thrones, and in some ways, it is, but I found myself totally hooked on the story.