What do we know about the BBC’s Atlantis?

Feature Louisa Mellor 12 Feb 2013 - 09:26

The BBC is replacing Merlin in the schedules with Greek myth family adventure show, Atlantis, written by Misfits’ Howard Overman…

Picture the scene: it’s Saturday teatime at the end of September, the leaves are turning, there’s a wisp of bonfire smoke in the chill air and the shops are already stocked with Christmas decorations. Refreshments in hand, you wedge yourself onto the sofa next to your family/significant other/Japanese love pillow, and switch on BBC One. But there’s a problem: no Merlin.

No Merlin? No matter. The BBC has some brand new family teatime viewing in store for you (brand new, yet very, very old) in the form of historical fantasy, Atlantis. Taking over from the Arthurian legend’s time slot will be a new thirteen-part series which will delve even further back into the annals of myth to entertain us on those crisp autumn evenings.

How far back? Ancient Greece. Atlantis is shaping up to be a depository of Greek legend patted into shape for family viewing. So that’ll be less focus on the baby-eating and swan-rape then, and more wholesome derring-do, we'd have imagined. 

The new series will be set in the titular lost city, a “strange, compelling realm” peopled by “snake-haired goddesses and palaces so vast it was said they were built by giants”. The thirteen episodes will follow the Merlin and Doctor Who pattern, each being forty-five minutes in length.

Our hero goes by the name of Jason (though whether this is pre or mid-Argo, or indeed, if he’s even the same fleece-seeking sailor is yet to be confirmed). His arrival in Atlantis kick-starts “an amazing adventure”, “bringing into life the vast store of Greek myths and legends re-imagined for a new generation” in the action-packed series.

That’s what the press release tells us at any rate. What it doesn’t tell us is which names have been brought aboard in the cast (though with filming due to start in April, no doubt that news is on its way).

If the Merlin casting format is repeated - and seeing as Atlantis comes from Merlin co-creators Julian Murphy and Johnny Capps we don’t see why it won’t be - then we can expect a relative newcomer in the lead, shored up by a few old UK hands of the Richard Wilson/Tony Head/John Hurt calibre. It would seem a waste of that wonderful Hurt voice not to stage it behind a CGI Minotaur or Cyclops at least once…

There’ll be a romantic plot we suspect, though will it be a version of sorceress Medea that Jason is romantically entangled with, or another Greek love interest? Again, we’ll have to wait and see. 

One thing we are certain of is that the scripts come courtesy of former Merlin writer and Misfits creator Howard Overman. Though his Dirk Gently wasn’t renewed by the BBC, Overman’s still being kept busy by the corporation with this new flagship production, executive produced by BBC Wales’ Bethan Jones (Sherlock, Wizards Vs. Aliens). With Overman on board, some laughs are guaranteed amongst the beast-battling.

We’ll have to wait until Atlantis begins filming in Wales and Morocco (coincidentally, the same country Game of Thrones’ Wolf Unit uses as the back-drop to Dany’s adventures across the Narrow Sea), to get a first glimpse of the new show. As soon as we do, of course, you’ll be the first to know.

Atlantis is due to start filming in April, and will be on our screens in Merlin’s traditional slot this autumn.


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First bukkake now Japanese love pillows...

I hope they don't use too much CGI. If it's going to be successful then they'd probably need to film in Greece.

Despite some flaws, I have really enjoyed the Saturday night historical swashbucklers since the BBC made them an annual regular in the schedules with Robin Hood. Looking forward to this show and also the Three Musketeers series in 2014.

Perhaps a Tarzan or Allan Quatermain series or a pirate based adventure could make for entertaining future shows.

Certainly looking forward to this, and the fact that it's Murphy and Capps again (who have just left 'Shine' to form their own production company I think?) gives me some optimism about the nature of the series. Not forgetting that Merlin took a while to take off, so I hope the BBC will nurture this one too if it shows promise. And let's hope the casting is as strong; always good news if the Murphy/Capps machine is able to showcase new and exciting talent, if i can head into a bit of cliche!

Sounds horrible.

It's not Merlin. I'm not watching it.

...in the lost city?

Neither is anything else on TV. Do you not watch that either?

I have no intention of watching anything that has Capps and Murphy involved ever again. No after what they did with Merlin so I'll gladly skip this.

Here we go again. Talk about doing the same thing, but different! So Merlin is over, ok. What can we do now? I know lets make Merlin again, but set it in ancient Greece!! This is going to be like Clash of the Titans the Tv series. It might be good, it might be ok. It might be lots of things, but does anyone think that its in any way original? No its not.
I will give it a go and see what its like, but I am just expecting something like Merlin. A lot. There is a problem that no one has mentioned yet. BUDGET and LOCATION. Where are they going to film in the Uk or Europe thats remotely like ancient Greece??????????????
Fair enough in Merlin when its supposed to be Middle Ages England. You can just go to any forest you like, and CGI in a Castle. But Greece? Where its HOT and the SUN SHINES A LOT??? So you need sand, deserts of some sort, ancient ruins, med style coastline etc. They are going to have problems with that. You might just get away with it in some parts of Spain maybe...
No matter what they do filming in a sand quarry or on Brighton beach is not going to cut it in this day and age. No doubt they will come up with something. But you just KNOW before it starts , what its going to look and feel like, and thats a bit disapointing.
Also they can find money for 13 episodes of whatever this turns out to be, but cant be bothered with 13 episodes of Doctor Who in the 50th Year. I think its disgusting. And I am still angry about it, and no doubt other fans will be too.
I am just going to wait and see what this is like, but I am not going to get excited about it, especially after making five seasons of Merlin that was the same three or four plots over and over again, and they did not reveal his Magic until Arthur was fatally wounded.
Anyway..I will give it a chance and wait and see, I just hope its not funny for all the wrong reasons. I still dont get all the love the BBC Robin Hood got, it was one on the worst, cheesiest crapfests I have ever seen.

They're filming it partly in Morocco it says above.

hopefully they'll take what they learnt with merlin and apply it from the start. The premise sounds interesting, I'll certainly give it a go.

Well it can't be worse than the Robin Hood from pre-Merlin times. That was truly dreadful.

As for this, it's hard not to foresee Xena-esque awfulness but without the tongue in cheek 'we know it's bad, but roll with it' approach.

In a year's time a chap at the BBC will be saying to another chap 'Why did we ever cancel Merlin?'


'Though his Dirk Gently wasn’t renewed by the BBC' - He was lucky it even got shown.

Yes I just noticed that. Wlaes for studios and Morocco for hte hot outdoors. So its going to need a fair bit of location filming, so thats a fair bit of money spent on it. So why cant they spend that on Doctor Who?

Rip off merchants. I dont know why they just dont come out on drop Doctor Who altogether after the 50th. Because if they are not behind the show 100% in the anniversery year , when will they be behind it?

Yes indeed. Robin Hood was TERRIBLE. Yet they kept making it, and people kept watching. I tried to watch it, each season I tried watching more episodes and it just got worse. Johnas Armstrong came across as a smug git in all his back stage interviews. And whats he doing now?

To tell the truth I had forgoten all about Xena...and Hercules Legendary Journeys...so its all been done before again, again the same but different.
So they are doing a Wrath of the Titans crapsfest and a Three Musketeers Crapfest (which to be politically correct will have the three leads played by diverse people. One will be a woman, one will be gay and one will be a muslim) I despair at the BBC output. It just gets worse and worse each year. Do you think they are doing it on purpose? Or do they really believe their own hype that the programs are fantastic???

Sounds great, I hated merlin Sooo much.The main character has the modern name of Jason so I wonder will it be about a Modern Teenager going to the lost city of Atlantis in another realm or back in time, or set in Ancient Greece entirely , sounds Good.

Yes thre going to fly to Atlantis to film it, Yes, so I wonder how much a flight is through a interdimensional portal is ? (Which is were it is)

I see ur not enthusiastic, u most have hated Dr who and merlin then ?

Exactly the BBC pump money into this and Dr who's Budget will slashed in half like in 2010

NEW Dr who's budgets have been different. Each year

Season one (decent budget was saved so The end of the world and The finale looked amazing for 2005)

Season 2 (budget wasn't great must have spent it all in season one it was okay but not a lot of CGI was used except for the werewolf , the devil and the finale)

Season 3 (Budget every episode looked great withits lighting and everythinglooked great and so did the shaksphere code and daleks in manhattan)

Season 4( Budget Over drive, was like Hollywood in every episode with full invasions and legions of CGI Army's such as the adipose and the Pyroviles, The Sontaran ships, and the Massive Epic Dalek invasion and the crucible with all the planets, season 4 was a CGI Masterpiece of Hollywood proportions

Exactly the BBC pump money into this and Dr who's Budget will slashed in half like in 2010

NEW Dr who's budgets have been different. Each year

Season one (decent budget was saved so The end of the world and The finale looked amazing for 2005)

Season 2 (budget wasn't great must have spent it all in season one it was okay but not a lot of CGI was used except for the werewolf , the devil and the finale)

Season 3 (Budget every episode looked great withits lighting and everythinglooked great and so did the shaksphere code and daleks in manhattan)

Season 4( Budget Over drive, was like Hollywood in every episode with full invasions and legions of CGI Army's such as the adipose and the Pyroviles, The Sontaran ships, and the Massive Epic Dalek invasion and the crucible with all the planets, season 4 was a CGI Masterpiece of Hollywood proportions

the seresi has had no budget until Seaon 7

I think because Murphy and Capps are the minds behind this, Atlantis will take off immediately. Merlin took a while to take off before it became incredibly popular- and now because the fanbase is huge, lots of people will be interested in what Murphy and Capps have up their sleeves again.
I'm definitely excited for it. Especially to see the young talent who will take the forefront. After watching Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Angel Coulby, and Katie McGrath shine in Merlin and go off to, hopefully, very successful careers which match their brilliance on screen, I look forward to seeing the new actors who will star in this new show.

The BBC didn't cancel Merlin, though. They would have renewed it for a sixth season if Shine hadn't been told by Capps & Murphy that this was it. It was Capps & Murphy's decision completely to end Merlin where they did. Because Merlin was so wildly popular is probably why BBC has signed Capps & Murphy again with this new show which shows promise. I agree about Robin Hood, though. So dreadful.

Really? Modern name? For goodness sake what do they teach you these days? Look up your Greek mythology.

The show was desperately ordinary but the production design shined through IMHO. The round table in the last series was wonderful, although I thought it someyimes looked a bit too big for the room.

No I love Doctor Who. I always have. I hated Robin Hood it was rubbish. I gave Merlin a go and watched it until about half way through season three and then gave up as it was the same story every week. I watched a bit of season four and about one epsiode of seaon five. It just got so samey.

There was nothing wrong with the characters or acting etc. It just felt "stuck" because Merlin had not "come out" and he didnt until the last episode when Arthur died. So we never got to see the great Kingdom of Camelot and Arthur and Merlin working together with magic.

Most of the reason for this was down to the BBC and budget. Now we are getting Atlantis, by the same show runners, so its going to be Merlin all over again, but set in Greece. I am sure there will be differences, there has to be, but its going to go for the same feel and tone no doubt. And I am just bored with it all.

Its also very safe programming from the BBC. Maybe its just me. I have grown up too much. I just wish they would put the same effort into Doctor Who, because at least with that you can go anywhere and anywhen and do all sorts of crazy stuff and its always different. Each epsiode is unique and even the Doctor changes...I dont much fancy sitting through Merlin in Greece.

However to be fair when it comes along I will give it a go and see, I just dont have high hopes. I think I would rather be watching the excellent stuff coming out of America lately. The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Homeland, 24, Battlestar Galactica, Spartacus and so on....compared to them Merlin / Atlantis etc are a bit light weight....

Heheh...It will be modern though. All the characters will have loads of makeup on, perfect teeth. perfect hair, hardly any dirt or grime, they will all be well fed with good skin etc and will speak in English with 21st century slang / sayings in there too.
There will be lots of - oks, its cool and so on thrown in.
It does not have to be made in the ancient greek tongue etc, but you can bet someone will have nail varnish on or be using an iphone in the back of a scene or something.
Remember Robin Hood? Made Marion looked like she had steped out of a hair salon, and had makeup on that would never have existed back then, it was just stupid. And thats what this will be, stupid dumbed down, brain dead, BBC tosh filler for the masses. And everyone will watch it and love it. I despair........

Fair point, but American TV can't compare to British , American TV is its own thing , Flashy and Loads if Action (which I love) and then there's britsh , Dark and Thought provoking (Which I also like British TV has the guts to be dark) I enjoy American TV and British TV in Equal terms but they shouldn't be compared. Each culture has its own strengths and weaknesses,

In Regard to Atlantis, I hope is not the same, It is safe programming I admit but it may be interesting as everything is either Ancient Rome or medieval. This will be Ancient Greece set in a mythical city , can't be that bad, unless its the same "Kid who won't accept his destiny" thing it could be repeditive but I hope. Right now I am Looking forward to Doctor Who season 7 part 2 and ABCs S.H.E.I.L.D

If Atlantis in this series is in fact some kind of Utopia, it would actually make a lot of sense for everybody to have perfect teeth, and look like like they just stepped out of a hair salon.

I thought the scripts quite plodding and ordinary but whenever I switched on was impressed by the technical elements such as the standout production design. Except for the 'round table' in the final series which, whilst beautiful as a prop always looked a bit too big for the room in which it was placed.

Looks like a other thing we can be certain of is that the kiddies won't get adventure stories with a female leading character. Oh no. Either the sinister and seductive villain or the adoring sidekick. Good old BBC, keeping women in the kitchen, or if they escape, heading for hell.

Am intrigued, could be great full of Harryhausen style special effects.

But please, please take the time to create the plot and work out how each season fits into the mix. Loved Merlin but it could have been so much better if half of each season showed episodes that were effectively filler and could have been shown in any season in any sequence.

I thought DeShawn and the Argonauts was dope. Especially where they fought the gorgon Shaniqua.

Let´s face it: Storywise, Merlin was abysmal. It´s success is based upon the bromance and nothing else. Like Robin Hood, it was the cast that saved the show up to a certain degreee, and I have no intention to watch another historic setting slaughtered by the BBC by strange out-of-place costumes, repetitive, boring plots, and weird story-twists no one needed in the first place if they had an idea how to come up with an original plot at least once.

Yep, 3 miles west of Scunthorpe.

They Didn't teach me anything LOL

Yes I am looking forward to Doctor Who, and I am watching and still loving Top Gear, but thats about it for the BBC for me. The problem with this whole set up is this. You just KNOW the way the mindset at the BBC is now working. They are thinking thusly -

Merlin was a success...we want more Merlin, but the creators wont do it, and the story is played out.....So lets do something VERY like it it, but not Merlin....

We have done Robin Hood, We have done Merlin, England in the middle ages has been done to death....I know! Lets do something like Merlin in Ancient Greece!!!!

And so we get Atlantis....which is another ancient legend they can build on. And by doing something like Merlin, I dont mean having someone with hidden magic, a servant and a king that likes him but pretends he doesnt story.

I mean something set in ancient times, with pretty actors who look good, far too good looking and clean to be historically accurate, and with magic / Gods / magical beasts and a large slice of the political correct BBC agenda in there too. Each week the hero can go up against various Wrath of the Titans style monsters - The Minotaur, Medusa , Cerberus , Hydra etc etc..... The hero will be a pretty boy actor, safe, good looking , and at least one of his mates will be a muslim / black / lesbian / gay bloke.

There will be lots of running around and bare chested men for the fan girls, and no bare chested women, because that never happened back then. You get the picture.

You just know what its going to be like. You just KNOW IT.
So there you go..in a few paragraphs I have written the first three episodes more or less! I hope I am proved wrong, but the fact its the same people behind Merlin and the BBC means that I am 98% more likely to be right. You never know though, in the interests of being fair it might even be good.

But it certainly isnt going to be Spartacus! So like you I am looking forward to S.H.EI.L.D because at least that will be interesting and it has not been done. And there might be some decent action in it. And at least it wont be written with five year olds in mind and for the fangirls...what can I say?

Lol...yes...and they will all be using Ipads and say ok and various other 20th / 21st century colloquialisms....

Exactly. Well said my friend. Thats how I feel about it too. It was the bromance, which ended up as almost a gay love story. The BBC need a serious kicking in the managment and programming department. And do you know what the fault and problem is???

Its the license fee. It does not matter what they do, how bad it is, or how repetitive the show and ideas are, because the next year they will have another truck load of money coming in. So there is no real incentive to do anything different. They dont need to because they have a captive audience and a GUARANTEED money suply.

In America, if a show is crap and no one watches it, then it gets scrapped at once because if its not making money its not MAKING MONEY if you get my meaning.

Sometimes this does not work too well, because a shakey start means a show does not get the chance to develop, but it also means only the really good stuff keeps getting made.

The BBC just do what they want, because they can, and try to make everything appeal to everyone and end up pleasing most of the people , but everything ends up looking the same, sounding the same, and the same old shows keep getting done over and over and over, sometimes with the names changed like Merlin / Atlantis / Robin Hood etc.

With the BBC if about four - eight million people watch something then they think its a success and its a hit and its all a big deal and they make a lot of it, but they forget about the other 60 million people that are living here...People like you and me......But we dont have a choice, we still have to pay the fee come what may, because if we did not we would be fined / put in prison and we could not watch any of the other channels or own a TV that can recieve a signal.

The more you think about it, the more stupid it becomes. I just cant believe in this day and age people put up with it. But then these are the same people that watch Merlin, and would watch anything and just sleep walk through life day to day....X factor lovers and so on...What do you do?

Hehehehe true, but then Jason and the Argonauts, Sinbad , Original Clash of the Titans will probably be better than this, and Harryhausen would probably do a better job. At least his stuff had soul, passion for his art and effort....

True...but if you want that, just go and watch Xena Warrior Princess. This whole set up has been done before, and done better. I just hope no one watches it, and it bombs, then they might have to go away and come up with something better or original, but I am not going to hold my breath. There is no way the BBC are ever going to do that , unless we, the captive license paying fools vote with our remotes.

Capps, Murphy & Overman... how many episodes before it turns into crap? 5, 8, 12?

Given that no one knows what Atlantis was like, or it culture apart from 1 poem/story they can pretty much do what ever they want with Atlantis, everyone else has.

To be fare through, the round table has always looked to big for the room it was place in, I haven't seen a version of Arthurian myth that included a table in a large suited to the table size.

Atlantis wasn't in Greece, Plato made that pretty clear, so why do they need to film it in Greece, they can pretty much choose anywhere they want. None of the descriptions Plato uses to describe Atlantian architecture fits with Greece architecture, so that isn't an issue either.

Nah they do not need to fly through an inter-dimensional portal (or as everyone else calls it a wormhole created through the use of a stargate) They just need to fly the cast out to San Francisco. I hear Todd is in early negotiations to play a lead role in an episode or two.

I'd like to point out that it's not being MADE by the BBC.... it's being shown by the bbc and therefore the rights and interest has been bought by the bbc. This isn't being made by the same COMPANY that makes Dr Who - just being shown on the same channel... different pots of money from different places.

Sorry - media student rant over.

As a VFX artist who worked on Merlin - We have a passion for our art and effort. The constraint tends to be budgetary - We don't always have the time we'd like or need to complete work.

Yes why does that not surprise me with the BBC. You would think they would set aside all the time and money needed to get the job done right. But then that's managers for you. Paid thousands and usually useless. That's been my experience in four separate jobs over the years.
If your in VFX maybe you can tell everyone how many episodes Jason is going to get in 2013 or 2014? Any Doctor Who is only getting half?
Everyone just wants to know and is fed up with the BBC not being up front.

The issue is nothing to do with managers or the BBC, it's a simple matter of making the most of the budget you've got. I think both Merlin and Dr. Who do a great job of looking good with the budgets they have.

That's called value for money. You can't expect Merlin to match the quality standard set by HBO series or major vfx films because they way they generate revenue doesn't compare.

Anyway, my issue is with you saying our work doesn't have soul, or that we are not passionate for our art - My response to that is : You've got no idea what you're talking about.

In any case, I worked on Merlin - I don't work for the BBC and am currently not involved with Atlantis. I've no answers to your questions, but I think you're a bit confused as to how the BBC works. Dr Who and Merlin are handled by entirely different studios.

That's right.. I am an idiot...after all, what do I know about anything. I mean I have only worked in I.T. for the last twenty years. I have only used more or less every computer system this country has ever produced. I have worked with Pcs and software packages since the days of MS Dos. Back to the days of early pcs, before anyone one could afford them. I spend my time fixing the hardware and creating web sites and online animation and writing code and so on , so don't try to treat me as an idiot and say I have no idea what I am talking about.

I can say the work has no soul if I want to, its an opinion. Just because a computer exists, does not mean it should be used to solve everything and for every effect in Tv Shows and films. You only have to look at what was achieved years ago in Indian Jones, and then look at the fourth film with its soulless CGI. SOULESS is a term I would use to describe something that looks great on the surface, but underneath its all done with a computer and an art package and hours are spent rendering, the computer does the work.

Unlike the classics, no models have been created from scratch and then hand animated frame by frame by frame with hours spent by the animator and his effort and personality is up there on the screen for all to see. Another example, the classic Empire Strikes Back Yoda puppet with the elements of the face of Einstein and Stuart Freeborn, compared to the flat CGI prequel version that could do so much more on screen but had lost everything that made it relatable and humanistic in character.


Its not your fault personally that its become like that in the industry, and I was not having a go at your personally because of it, its hardly your fault that everything is the way it is. There are plenty of other people on here who have complained about the over use of CGI and its not as good as practical effects so why jump on me for voicing the same thing. I was not even talking to you in the first place, you just jumped in because you have worked on Merlin. That's very nice for you and I am sure it was great, and I am also sure you got paid to do it. I never expected Merlin to match up to anything from America and HBO, it was exactly what it was, a BBC fantasy child like run around show for tea time on a Saturday. It was hardly Spartacus or Game of Thrones and I did not expect it to be.

My comments about managers are based on my own experiences with them. I have seen people get promoted time and time again in managers posts because they know the right people and drink with them or play golf with them at the weekend. Even if they are no good at their jobs, and you will not be able to convince me that there are not too many people like that at the BBC and not enough people to do the jobs that need doing. The bigger the organisation the more chiefs there are and the less of the Indians. Its always the same.

From your posts I can assume you work for a third party company that's contracted by the BBC to do the work, or some of the work? Are you freelance? Or do you have a permanent job at a SFX firm that the BBC uses? Its just typical of the way things are done now. If you work for a third party firm, when the BBC should have an effects team in house to provide everything from CGI to stunts for its programs.

Lastly I am not confused AT ALL by how the BBC works. I know EXACTLY what it does and how it does it, and I really could not care less that Merlin and Doctor Who are handled by different studios as it has nothing to do with the quality of the finished show. The BBC is paid by myself and everyone else in this country to make TV and Radio. That's the way it is, and its up to me if I watch it. I don't care how its done or where its done as long as its a quality product.

"The Computer does the work" is the only statement I need in order to say with absolute confidence that you have no idea what you are talking about. But congratulations for being an IT guy, I'm sure that means you know a lot about Digital artwork.

Usage of the word "Managers" is also slightly misplaced. This is an artistic medium and we work in studios - it's not an office. Everyone I answer to is an artist, not a manager.

VFX is a complex blend of many, many artistic talents that are spread out over several artists who each employ a different technique and talent before you can see it on your screen.

A 3D model has to be modelled by an artist.
Rigged by another artist.
Textures and shaders are drawn by another artist.
Another artist applies those textures.
An animator will animate that model.
A lighting TD will light that model and render it.
A compositor will take several passes of that render and fit it into live action.

I've skipped over roto, prep, matchmove artists, concept artists, previz... CGI, as much as you may claim to hate it, requires a greater amount of people and putting more time and art into something than I think you realize. Take this message as an example - Did my computer type this message for me, or is it simply a tool through which I can express myself?

Not every use of stop-motion animation is soulful or brilliant - With new technology comes a lot of efforts and attempts at its use that fall in the category of unnecessary or poorly executed. The same is true of CGI. Directors suddenly have a powerful story-telling tool and not all of them will leverage it successfully.

But the problem isn't the CGI.

Take Life of Pi as an example. The film is 65% CGI and features a Tiger that is entirely CGI. Yet that film, and the tiger has soul. The characters in District 9 had soul, Benjamin Button had soul, Avatar had soul. Jurassic Park had soul. Phil Tippett and Tippett studios (all those stop motion guys you hold holy) became Digital CGI people because of Jurassic Park.

Please think again before dismissing my, and my colleagues art simply because you don't understand it at all, and in many cases - didn't realize it existed.


p.s. If you think the Star Wars prequels only problem was an iffy CG Yoda... Then I think we'd disagree over the scale of issues with the prequels. Star Trek remake though - Great CGI.

And the Award for missing my entire point goes to....

Textures may be drawn by another artist, rigged etc, but its still done on the computer. I do know a lot about digital artwork. I have used and do use Photoshop, Elements, Painter 12 etc etc I cant be bothered to list them all here....
We agree to disagree and I cant be bothered to fight with you its not worth it and I am busy working on a web page at the moment.

Using standard consumer basic art packages doesn't make you an artist though, right? They are tools, just like a brush. And some tools enable artwork that can do things other mediums cannot. The medium doesn't define art, the usage of the tools is and the application of artistic technique is what art is.

That's why myself and many of my colleagues studied art academically and have graduated with a variety of art degrees.

Is your argument is that no artwork can be done on a computer? or do you just prefer traditional artistry over anything computer-aided?

Really, it's a situation by situation case. The Star Wars prequels made heavy use of miniature sets. Different techniques work better for different shots/requirements. When Jurassic Park went into production - the idea was to use Stop motion (go-motion to be specific) for the dinosaurs, but it just didn't compare with a digital alternative. The final film made heavy use of CG dinosaurs, but also used people in suits and props to help sell shots where more intimate interaction was required.

And it was lauded as a masterpiece. It really set the precedent as far as CGI was concerned and many techniques were created that have evolved to become staples in todays industry.

Parts of your argument are reminiscent of complaints made about photography and early film-making by traditional artists. The medium changes, people will often view the passed through rose-tinted glasses - which is fine. But pretending like a medium defines the worthiness of something is backwards. I've provided plenty of examples where that's not the case at all.

So what IS your argument? That CGI doesn't have soul? I don't think you can make that argument and expect to not be laughed at.

I told you I am not rising to the bait anymore! Leave it. I was trying to make the point that a lot of modern stuff is plastered with cgi and effects for the sake of it, and they leave out the important stuff like a script or story or characters and a decent plot and the whole thing ends up as a showcase to say

"look at how clever we are...look what we can do...wow look at all that isn't it great"

And it ends up a mess and nothing like the days when people had to put thought and effort in and create a good story and the effects were secondary...

Examples - Tron, compared to Tron 2. Alien compared to Prometheus and so on.

I have nothing against computers and using them as useful tools, but when they are used to much , so much so that the film becomes nothing more than actors standing in front of a green screen crapfest like The Phantom Menace compared to the original StarWars it becomes Soul less. As a term I was meaning it to say the heart and SOUL of the whole thing is gone....


Talk about over egging it. It was a simple comment. Or are you trolling? Is anyone else on here reading this and does anyone else get what I am trying to say to this man?

And when they made Jurassic Park they should have had actually put more of the actual book into the film. Instead they killed characters that should have survived, and also did not kill people that should have died, like Hammond. They missed great stuff that was in the book like the aviary and the river chase and as for the ending, the raptors should have been killed by eggs that grant poisons, rather than the T Rex just happening to show up at EXACTLY the right time to save them. It might then have been a better film, and not just great effects. As it was the only things it had in common with the book was the name, some characters, some dinosaurs and the fact that its set in a man made park.

Would you say Merlin fell into that category? Out of interest - I can't really have an opinion there as I've not seen it all.

There's definitely an argument to make regarding the marriage between story-telling and an over-reliance on VFX to tell that story often leading to problems. It's tricky - because VFX opens up a world of possibilities with the story telling and makes bringing tales like Lord of The Rings to film a real (and glorious) possibility. and Yet, often becomes too heavy a focus meaning that a story gets lost.

I can't speak for how Atlantis will fair, or if the final result will feel like it has soul. Though there's still a lot of soul in the art that shouldn't be overlooked. I'm pretty sure it will surpass the quality of the original Clash of the Titans, especially given that retrospectively the early stop motion stuff looks pales in comparison to basic CGI.

I'm hoping that the CGI exists to further enable the story-telling rather than define it. I'm sure on that, we can both agree.

Merlins problem was that it told the same story more or less every week. Locations changed, characters changed but it was more or less the same. By half way through the third season I had tuned out. I started to watch season four, and gave up three episodes in. Then watched one episode of season five and the finale. And it was still the same. The fact that Arthur only found out about Merlin as he was dying was pathetic. The Cgi had nothing to do with the flaws in the show. And it was simply because it never moved on enough. We did not get to see Arthur and Merlin working together as King and Wizard and that was such a cop out.

Week after week they had to some up with some way of getting Arthur out of the way so Merlin could do his stuff. He was either knocked out, asleep, looking the other way etc. The only reason it became a success was the chemistry between the two leads and how good they became as actors. It ended up a bromance that verged on a gay love story and it was getting a bit creepy in places. All the girls tuned in to watch the blokes, and everyone had a favourite, the kids watched it because it was their sort of show and I just watched it because it was on, my wife was watching it, and all the time I was wishing Doctor Who was back on. Uther was a pantomime villain, only to be replaced by Morgana. The Cgi was ok most of the time from what I saw. But it still looked obviously cgi. The castle looming out of the trees with the trees used to disguise the base , because it was not really there was pretty bad. The dragon went from looking good in certain shots, like in the dark or in the caverns, to looking a bit cheap in others. It was never going to be like Game of Thrones etc and it was aimed at people younger than me.

As for Atlantis / Jason and the Argonaughts or whatever its going to be, I am sure it will be better than the two modern Clash of the Titans films. The original Clash film is still a classic, especially the Medusa scenes. I don't really care about that new show. I might watch it, but I am not going to go out of my way to watch it because if it gets 13 episodes and Doctor Who has not, then I am going to boycott it on principle. Besides which if its popular we will just get more of the same from the BBC and its just not dark / gritty / realistic or interesting enough to keep me watching. Its all too tame. Too politically correct (and I am not going to explain myself with that one) and too predictable.

If it was not for Doctor Who and being a lifelong fan of the idea, I would have given up on the BBC output entirely. As it stands today, I would rather watch Genesis of the Daleks / Seeds of Doom / Inferno / Ark in Space etc again than any of the new series. Because all though the old series had bad effects, the storys had room to breathe, the characters time to grow and it was not over in a 45 minute biff bang run around week after week.

Totally agree. I am not willing to waste my time.

To me, this all just seems to scream "Well Merlin worked, lets do something as similar as possible". Merlin started out well, but really started to drag around its 3rd series. I was really hoping the beeb would come up with something refreshing and different :/

They didn't finish Merlin....Merlin should live forever...We want more Merlin!
Patty and Scott
Elkhart IN

Ditto. They had a great premise and a great cast and they completely messed it up.

"Well it can't be worse than the Robin Hood". Don't tempt fate. It could be. It could be very much worse.
I rather liked Dirk Gently - wasn't much like the book but unlike Merlin, it had some clever and intriguing plots.

Probably why they've picked it. In spite of their protestations that they were doing their own thing with Merlin, they got bogged down in the myth, so that we had characters doing things that were completely at odds with the characters that had been built up (ie, Morgana's very sudden descent into evil gothdom). I'm at a loss to understand why they're using Greek myth though. As you said, no-one knows what Atlantis was like, so they would have had a blank slate and the chance to do something creative and original. But as Merlin proved, original and creative are not Murphy and Capps' strong points.

I don't know about the license fee being the issue though. The BBC still have to sell this stuff abroad and a lot - a lot - of people rave about Merlin and Dr Who, even though they are pretty rubbish compared with most US shows. I think you're right about the BBC management and programming department. The BBC gets a lot right, but their fantasy and science fiction is stagnant - everytime there's a new show, it's the same writers, the same creators, the same actors - all doing the same old crap. They need some fresh blood (and probably less interference by the liberal elite running the place).

Yep, the crack team that gave us Hex - the badly written programme about pretty teens fighting supernatural creatures; Demons - the badly written programme about pretty teens fighting supernatural creatures; and Merlin - the badly written programme about pretty teens fighting supernatural creatures.
But, hey, I'm sure Atlantis will be completely different.

I see that Pasiphae is listed in the cast - while you're at it, look up that myth. Will be interesting to see that in the teatime slot - people will be spitting their chicken nuggets across the room.

On a side note, I thought the VFX on Merlin was one of it's (few) strong points. The castles, landscapes and the dragon were excellent. If you worked on the show, congrats.

Xena is hardly the epitome of feminism! She's a male fantasy figure - scanty armour and a penchant for girl-on-girl action. And anyway that show was over 10 years ago. I don't care if female characters aren't the lead, it would just be nice to see one who isn't a love interest or a stereotype, but I won't hold my breath for anything original either!

Guys!!! CALM DOWN!!! Merlin WAS offered a sixth series because they had a plot and some parts were scripted or at least thought of. I know this because 1. my aunt was a regular extra on there 2. my aunt and uncle are friends with Capps and Murphy 3. Colin Morgan is my cousin 4. I've met Bradley James and he's friends with my family.
Atlantis is good although some things such as the temple could look better but thats down to green screening. Oh, and stoop blaming the BBC- the BBC sometimes put some money toward the budget but they don't make it- they show it on their channel.

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