The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Unfortunate Implications in the Knights of Justice

I hate this cartoon. I hated it when it originally aired and I was a kid. It was just terribly lame. But tonight, while bored, my brother and I discovered that this was on Netflix and watched the two-part pilot. It was even worse than I remembered it. I could go on about the characters all shooting missiles at each other, dragons popping out of shields, and outright saying that football players are better than knights, and the outright racism. If I ever do a full review, and I have something different planned for this one, I'll get into all of these things. But for now, I want to talk about what struck me the most.

Okay, the premise is that Morgana le Fay imprisoned the real King Arthur and his knights somewhere, and she and her army of warlords are rampaging across the kingdom, laying siege to Camelot, and they kidnap Guinevere. So Merlin reaches into the future and abducts a team of football players and they become the new King Arthur and knights of the Round Table. Their first mission is to rescue Guinevere from Morgana's dungeons. Okay, so this football player, a guy from Connecticut (cute, very cute) with a crew cut named Arthur King (lame!) is supposedly the spitting image of King Arthur, and the rest of them all look like the knights. Even though they have two black guys and one Asian guy.

So, Merlin shows them a magical image of Guinevere to inspire them, and he shows it like he's an Amsterdam pimp modeling his prostitutes. I thought I was seeing things, but as the show progressed it got creepier and creepier. So they rescue Guinevere, and she thinks the guy is her husband and writes off his changed behavior as the result of his war experiences.... he's partying like a 20th century jock!

Merlin then trots out what he calls "cheerleaders" for the other knights, one for each. Again, like a pimp! And it becomes very clear that this fake Arthur is going to go have sex with Guinevere, even though he's not her husband, he knows he's not her husband, and he knows she has no clue. Her actual husband is imprisoned somewhere.

Ahem, rape by deception is still rape. Now, I can sort of buy this from Merlin, he did help Uther Pendragon rape Duke Gorlois of Cornwall's wife, Igraine, in order to sire Arthur in the first place. But, here's the thing, Uther is not the hero of the story. This show is telling kids to look up to an athlete who rapes a woman. Seriously, that's what this show is doing!

This raises another question. One of these knights, named Lance, looks like Sir Lancelot too, and for all intents and purposes is Sir Lancelot. Is he boning Guinevere too? He certainly leered at her in these two episodes enough... but then, all the "knights" did. So Guinevere is married to King Arthur, cheating on him with Lancelot, being raped by Arthur King, and cheating on Arthur King while she is being raped by Lance.

You know. For kids!


  1. I remember this show. It was one of those toy commercials that had a good theme tune and little else. Never spotted the rape stuff, but maybe I was too busy cringing over the rest of it to notice.

    If I remember rightly Merlin magically gave them knowledge of how to fight, and since he can clearly make people not see that two of the "knights" are black and one is Asian, why did he need to screw with time again? Couldn't he just pick some guys from his time, make them all look like the real knights, and give them the knowledge and equipment to fight Morgana?

  2. I have the uneasy suspicion that Merlin plucked some modern-day people out of time just so that the protagonists of the series could shout things like "Let's do it, dude!" in a medieval setting without it being glaringly anachronistic. (I must confess that I'm writing a story about a modern-day person who goes back in time to the "Arthurian Age", but I made my protagonist a time traveler for a much deeper reason - I hope.)

    (Season Two didn't help matters by bringing in a third-party-faction of Japanese samurai, for no reason, apparently, other than "Japanese warriors are trendy".)

  3. Todd, I've known you for fifteen years now, and this is one of the only topics where I've ever seen you hate on it.

    If that's not proof that this show was terrible, there is no proof.

  4. Bishansky, yes, I felt disappointed by the show precisely because I'm an Arthurian buff (which might be additional "proof that this show was terrible", that an Arthurian buff disliked it).