Cursed Series 1 Review

Cursed, Series 1

I was so excited when I heard about this one. I’m just not sure how I felt about it. Here’s my Cursed review.

Show: Cursed, Series 1 | Company:  Netflix | Date: 2020

Plot (from Netflix Press Release) Based on the upcoming book of the same name, Cursed is a re-imagining of the Arthurian legend, told through the eyes of Nimue, a teenage heroine with a mysterious gift who is destined to become the powerful (and tragic) Lady of the Lake. After her mother’s death, she finds an unexpected partner in Arthur, a young mercenary, in a quest to find Merlin and deliver an ancient sword. Over the course of her journey, Nimue will become a symbol of courage and rebellion against the terrifying Red Paladins, and their complicit King Uther.

Cursed Review

Cursed is a strange one. Everyone knows my obsession with the Arthurian legend, so I wasn’t going to pass this up, and I hoped it would be good. Someone explained it as “girl power with a hot Arthur”. I was intrigued!

I liked the premise: sword choses a queen, not a king. A twist on the tale. But it was hard to engage. The violence, especially for the first few episodes, is extreme (I’m talking Game of Thrones extreme) and I’ve learnt the one thing that creeps me out is burnings. After the initial episode, I wasn’t certain I’d continue.

But I did. By episode five, I was half-unnerved by the violence and half-bored by the plot. It took that long before I connected to any of the characters. There was nothing wrong, per se: Nimue was fine as a lead. She was powerful but vulnerable, determined yet caring, everything that makes a noble character, but I missed a spark with her.

The other characters left me with mixed feelings. Arthur’s charming, and you know he’s going to have a bigger role to play, but he didn’t reach his potential in this series. Morgana was interesting and one of my favourites. Sister Iris just annoyed me, which isn’t great given the part she played, as did Pim.

Squirrel – Nimue’s little brother – is the most passionate. Never mind the raging battles, you want this young boy to come out on top because he fights twice as hard as anyone else.

Cursed Series 1 Review

In terms of intrigue, the Weeping Monk is a clear winner. You know there’s a back-story there, a dark past that shaped him. But his character also rivals Nimue’s when it comes to development – the mysterious cloaked figure at the beginning is a different man to the fighter at the end.

When you can’t connect to the characters, the plot loses meaning – hence the boredom. But I stayed with it one more episode, and glad I did. That’s where it picked up for me. Characters connect: the Nimue and Arthur relationship develops, Morgana’s character is coming into her own, and the arrival of Gawain adds an interesting dynamic to the mix.

The characters improved, and the violence eased. There were battles, but they were interesting viewing rather than one-sided slaughters, which makes for much better entertainment. The plot picked up its pace as the different threads came together, whereas before everything felt isolated, making the show lack momentum.

I want to like this series. I want to say it’s a great watch, because that’s what I hoped it would be. But I’ve discovered writing this review I have flat feelings about it: it wasn’t bad, but it didn’t draw you in. The characters were good, not great. The plot was intense, but not always engaging. Just…average.

They’ve set it up for a second series, and I am curious to see where they’re going to take the story due to the ending. But I won’t be counting down until it comes out.

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25 thoughts on “Cursed, Series 1

  1. That’s such a shame that it doesn’t live up to it’s plot, it does sound like it would be really good. Maybe the book will be better? And hopefully the second season will be better!


    • Yeah I won’t be highly recommending it for sure. It picked up, but didn’t do enough for me to really invest. I’d heard really good things about it so I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggled with it though.


  2. I’m so glad I read your review! I’ve been meaning to watch it for ages and based on what you’ve said, I think I would strongly dislike it. Will save myself the time and watch something else instead. Maybe I’ll just rewatch Merlin?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lindsey!


    • You can NEVER go wrong with rewatching Merlin! Might have to join you, I’m definitely overdue a re-watch. It wasn’t what I expected and although it got better, it didn’t work for me.


  3. I couldn’t watch it until the end. I think I left at episode 5 or 6 – I don’t remember. I had different expectations about Morgana and… I wasn’t intrigued enough. Anyway, great review!! I will consider a little bit more to finish it or not.


    • I think I reached a point where I’d made it that far that I was determined to finish it, just to see what happened. I was the same, it didn’t really capture my interest enough.


  4. I tried to watch this as I loved BBC’s Merlin and love adaptations of Arthurian legends but I really couldn’t get into it. I didn’t like the characters and plot didn’t seem to go anywhere so I stopped watching – I’m glad it wasn’t just me who felt this way.

    Tash – A Girl with a View


  5. Great review! I think this show is easier to watch if you’ve read the book beforehand, because you know it will pick up soon enough. It was definitely more violent than I expected too, but I appreciated that it stayed pretty close to the original plot. I’m really looking forward to both season 2 and book 2 – I need to know what happens with the Weeping Monk!


    • I don’t think I realised until I’d already started it that it was a book as well, so I’m definitely interesting in seeing how it reads as well. Thanks for reminding me that I wanted to check out the book.


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