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Hulu and Netflix, plus an Internet connection that is faster than it used to be (but still slow by civilized standards), her permitted me to check out older television shows. I’m now about seven episodes into Merlin.

Merlin is not a high-budget production, and it’s probably aimed at least partly at children. But the BBC has an amazing ability to do a lot with small budgets. Plus I understand that because Merlin became popular, its budgets and quality rise in future seasons (of which there are five).

These are not the standard King Arthur stories out of Malory. Rather, the stories were written for the series and focus on the doings of teen-age Prince Arthur and the teen-age Merlin, who in this series grow up together at Camelot. It’s good — if not dazzling — television for lovers of fantasy and period pieces.

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