The first featurette for Starz's new series Camelot has been unveiled.
(note: Starz have objected to any of their foreign partners' audiences actually getting a chance to watch the trailer, so the above may vanish at any time; perhaps they need to learn PR lessons from HBO?)
Camelot is a new take on the Arthurian legend, starring Jamie Campbell Bower (fresh from the Twilight and Harry Potter movies, as well as the new version of The Prisoner and the unaired pilot of Game of Thrones) as Arthur, Joseph Fiennes as Merlin, Eva Green as Morgana, Tamsin Egerton as Guinevere and Claire Forlani as Igraine, whilst James Purefoy (the excellent Mark Antony from Rome) has a guest stint in two episodes. The 10-episode first season will start airing on 1 April 2011 in the USA, and will apparently come to Channel 4 in the UK later on.
Camelot appears to be yet another 'young' take on the legend, casting Arthur as a very young man (in fact, he's a clear half-decade younger than the Arthur in the family-friendly BBC series Merlin) and Merlin as a forty-something. It also seems to be following the Sword in the Stone angle, with Arthur having been raised as a commoner before discovering his true heritage. The casting is very impressive, with Fiennes, Green and Forlani noted for quite a few big-screen roles (though arguably none are A-list). Behind the scenes, the chief showrunner and writer is Chris Chibnall, noted for some of the worst episodes of the new Doctor Who and Torchwood, which is less encouraging (though he did write two solid episodes of Life on Mars as well).
Given this is a Starz show (from the makers of Spartacus: Blood and Sand), it's likely it'll be a fairly adult show, though probably not as blood-drenched as Spartacus. The trailer is full of PR buzz-words, but the costumes and production design look impressive. Chibnall as head writer is not the best news ever, but perhaps this show could finally allow him to write something excellent, and it's certainly somewhat ridiculous that we haven't had a 100% successful live-action depiction of the Arthurian legend (John Boorman's Excalibur had potential but was hamstrung by having to pack everything into two hours). However, skewing revisionistly young with this take on the project seems redundant, given that Merlin is already thoroughly exploring that angle.
This looks promising, but I do wish they'd bought the rights to Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles and done that for a satisfyingly 'different' and 'dark' take on the legend.