Binge and Repeat: Netflix’s new series ‘Cursed’ offers feminist spin on Arthurian tale
Katherine Langford, who stars in a new Netflix series “Cursed,” is no stranger to working with Netflix as she had her breakout role in the streaming giant’s controversial series “13 Reasons Why.” Instead of playing a haunting and tragic teenager, Langford takes on the role of a character from Arthurian legend in Netflix’s adaptation of a YA novel about the Lady of the Lake (who, legend has it, gave King Arthur the sword Excalibur). The series is based on the novel “Cursed” by Thomas Wheeler and Frank Miller.
In this reimagined take, Langford plays Nimue, a druid girl who is an outcast among her people for being touched by a demon as a child. When Nimue’s village is attacked her mother tasks her with the deathbed task of returning a sword to the famous Merlin. Determined to carry out her mother’s dying wish, Nimue sets out on her quest to deliver the sword to Merlin. Along the way the teen meets Arthur and his sister Morgana and they work together to protect the Fae (magical folk) from the zealous Red Paladins. The Red Paladins work for the Catholic Church and take it upon themselves to persecute anyone with a trace of magic. The Paladins themselves are rather creepy with their aggressive attitudes and the crosses carved into their scalps (it’s not a good look, folks).
In this story, it’s not Arthur who saves the day, but Nimue, who wields her sword and her magic in the hopes of bettering the lives of the other Fae. The gory series provides ample amounts of bloodshed for those looking for more of a violent series, however, given that the series is geared more toward teenagers, “Cursed” went all in on the buckets of fake blood.
While the take on Arthurian legend is compelling, the series can come across as being a bit disjointed as the viewer tries to remember who all of the characters are and all of their side plots (if these elements had been fleshed out a bit more, there wouldn’t be as much confusion). In addition to numerous characters, the series offers animations to offer a visual transition between scenes that take place in different parts of the country.
Overall, the acting itself is quite good, the entire cast offers engaging performances; the issues in the series can be chalked up to the at times clunky writing of the adaptation.
“Cursed” has one season available on Netflix and is rated TV-MA. Some viewers might choose to skip this series as it is a gory tale. Audiences might also enjoy “The Letter for the King,” a series about two kids who travel across a kingdom to deliver a letter in the hopes of preventing a magical genocide.
Episode length: 1 hour
TV rating: TV-MA
Similar series: The Letter for the King