In one way or another, at least once in one's life, anyone has heard of the events of King Arthur and the kingdom of Camelot. There are hundreds of different versions of this popular tale and, as fans will know, it is impossible to determine which are the originals and which imitations. But what we can say with certainty is that the sword of the rock and the round table still exercise the same charm which they probably had at the time of the first storytellers, stimulating the imagination and enthusiasm of both adults and children. So let's get to talking about Cursed, a TV series promoted by Netflix and based on the namesake romance by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler, who came to bookstores last year. In this version of the story, we follow the tormented journey of Nimue, a young heroine destined to become the mighty Lady of the Lake. I had the chance to preview the entire television adaptation, and I'm ready to tell you my opinion.
The extinction of magic
Let's get rid of the annoyance immediately: how did I find Cursed? If you have come here in anticipation of a delicious dish of fantasy and tragedy, what I am about to say will probably take away your appetite. This series is confusing, exaggerated, senseless at times, and rarely able to hit the mark. As a deep fan of dark fantasy and chivalric epics, I can confidently say that I never screamed to the screen as much as while watching this skein of insecurity and cliché. But is all this to be thrown away? Absolutely not. There are many moments in which this confused reinterpretation manages to snatch a smile and genuinely capture the viewerrare moments that are immediately shattered to return to the footsteps of the 'already seen', almost like a puppy showing his beautiful face and then running away to his lair when you try to get close. Afraid to get out of the traditional canons, or rare and lucky accidents in what is a mediocre script? I can't know the answer, I only have the bitter taste in the mouth of a work that pit possesses incredible potential, but he can't exploit it. Now that I have pitted the juice of our judgment, let's go into more detail. It will be fun.
Damned in name and in fact
The first, gigantic problem of Cursed is found in its protagonist, Nimue, which we can also define as one of the most unsuccessful heroines of the history of the platform. Some had ironically feared the worst of knowing that Katherine Langford (Hannah Baker of Thirteen) would have played the main character of the series, but I can say that his interpretation is the less of the problems. Everything that revolves around the sad story of the witch fey is dismayed by clichés seen and revised, illogical reasonings placed at the total service of the plot and, last but not least, a plot armor so thick as to envy Sir Gawain. Everything comes from clumsy attempt to create a tragic heroine: a girl who, in order to save herself and her people, finds herself forced to make difficult decisions which, at the end of the journey, will lead her towards a sad and inevitable destiny. The latter is precisely what makes these protagonists exciting and engaging, a goal that unfortunately has not been achieved with Nimue. The protagonist alternates indeed bad life decisions, that could be safely avoided, a unexplained moments of glory where anyone seems to fall in love with her and treat her as the savior who has not in the least proven to be. The tortuous path I described above cannot be seen, replaced by the much more tragic (for the spectator) painting of a girl who makes mistakes on mistakes, only to be unjustly rewarded for one simple reason: she is the protagonist . I'm sorry, short lady of the lake, but your story is nothing but a big one hole in the water.
I want more Pym in my life
The situation is further worsened by the presence of secondary characters who, with minimal effort and role, manage to rise whole spans over our witch. Just look at the character of Pym, Nimue's best friend played excellently by Lily Newmark. In a world where everyone tries to be more forced than their neighbor, the absurdity of the story of the young girl, who touches the purest side of comedy without taking away thickness from events, is one manna from heaven that makes me dream of being able to have a whole story just about her. His awkward, imprudent and detached way of giving lightness to a series that often falls into the error of taking himself too seriously. In addition to Pym's sweetness, the other place of honor in Cursed's Olympus goes to the absolute antagonist: Paladins Rossi. If I praised Newmark for its ability to draw laughter from the public, the crude, realistic and terrifying writing of the servants of the Church and their morbid obsession with purification and power is extremely convincing. Their crusade against witchcraft, which brings with it many parallels to the cruelties we have witnessed throughout our history, detaches itself completely from fantasy and sets foot in the cruel realism of those who perform atrocities in the name of a phantom 'superior good', which in reality is nothing but a desire for wealth and sovereignty. Of course, not all that glitters is gold, and even these two figures fall victim to clichés and senselessness when the plot requires it.
The real villain
The plot can in fact be defined as the main antagonist of everything, the true holder of power and source of all that clashes in Cursed. The whole series, from the choices of the characters to the exaggerations, seems to be at the service of the story and its purposes. He does not fail to see characters teleporting suddenly from one place to another, or fearless assassins turn into harmless lambs, if this is necessary to make Nimue (or whoever for her) reach the set goal. Certain events are like this openly absurd that you wouldn't believe it if I told you. The bottom of the abyss is finally touched by the "twists and turns", which often hide behind a building without a minimum of sense for the sole purpose of amaze the viewer, or make him angry, as often happens. And where all else fails, a little healthy thinks about it Deus Ex Machina to save our protagonists and allow them to fly to the next destination that we, the public, know already will reach. This is because the continuous 'divine' interventions and the excessive plot armor they remove any kind of involvement emotional we may have matured towards Nimue and his companions. We get used too easily to the idea that everything will end well, because everything always ends well and with almost zero consequences for the characters involved, so much so that we come to be able to foresee the implications of any conflict - with some fortuitous exceptions . And that's how we find ourselves unwittingly cheering on the antagonists. Not that it is surprising.
A sword that remains in the rock
In conclusion, Cursed is a series with great potential, who prefers to throw nettles to pamper characters who only have the name of heroes, and sometimes undeserved. The cliches, the absurdities and the plot armor make it almost impossible to become attached or feel involvement towards this tragic story, whose strengths remain sadly and constantly in the background. The ending suggests the arrival of one second season that, despite all the problems, I hope will arrive and be able to demonstrate the true power of the authors' visions, without hiding behind the hackneyed looking for some kind of security. Basically, Cursed is not a series for lovers of the Arthurian cycle, nor for those looking for the next dark fantasy masterpiece: look at it only if you are genuinely interested, do not put high expectations on it, and you might find a work that, in the end, has something to tell.