With all of the media hype over HBO’s newest series called ‘Game of Thrones,’ you’d almost never know that Starz came out with their own medieval series to rival the competition.  Well, to be fair ‘Camelot’ actually debuted first and ‘Thrones’ followed, but on to the more important stuff – which one triumphs over the other?

I’ve watched episodes from both series.  Recently I’d given praise to HBO for their series, but now that I’ve experienced Starz’ series for myself, I can tell you most confidently – ‘Camelot’ wins and here’s why:

• Vastly superior special effects:  Sorry ‘Thrones,’ but ‘Camelot’ is just better made.  Yes, the special effects are great in each but I can tell that true painstaking detail has been given in ‘Camelot’ to ensure the audience has the best viewing experience possible. Things just look to be so much more realistic in King Arthur’s kingdom.  The pulling of the sword from the waterfall in episode two was incredible!  When Arthur fell I literally felt my stomach do those flip flops that you feel when you’re on a rollercoaster.  But that’s not all.  The ice lake scene in episode four was stunning.  Absolutely amazing visual effects.  ‘Thrones’ pales in comparison.

• Better plot:   Not only that, but the plot just moves smoother.  In ‘Thrones’ the scene cuts away constantly to continually show another person’s experience.  It’s annoying.  For instance, just when the plot starts getting good with Ned, they cut to another scene and I’m watching some girl getting pimped out by her brother.  Gah!  In contrast, the camera stays on Arthur and his royal entourage or Morgan and never cuts away to show the lives of some at-the-moment obscure person in another land that has nothing to do with the current plot. 

• Legend v. a modern story:  The Arthurian legend pitted against some book published in the mid-90s.  ….Really?  Need I say more?  Yes, yes….’Thrones’ has its place and I respect that.  However, the legend of King Arthur is one of the most famous stories throughout history and while some may argue it’s been told ad nauseum, the truth of the matter is that the reason the legend of King Arthur has survived as long as it has is because it’s got a richness, a depth that cannot be found in ‘Thrones.’ Also, Starz’s interpretation of this legend is one of the best I’ve encountered yet.  It’s more dark and cruel, and less fluffy and fairy tale-like. Very good stuff.

• Merlin:  Alright, alright, I admit it.  I’ve always been hot for Merlin.  A dark, mysterious sorcerer aiding the young king of Britain….is there anything better?  Yes, the story’s focus is, of course, Arthur.  But where would he be had it not been for his trusted confidant?  Some girls swoon over musicians and whatnot; my obsessi-…erm, interest has always been Merlin and the many ways he’s been portrayed in movies and literature.  Heck, If I was alive back then (and he was real) I’d be his own personal medieval groupie.  But I will tell you, I’m hard to please.  I don’t like just any Merlin portrayal; I have very particular tastes.  Merlin can make or break a show for me. For instance, the Merlin from Syfy’s self-titled show?  Hell no.  I won’t even watch that ridiculousness.  This Merlin?  A resounding YES.  Merlin is a sorcerer, yes – but he’s also a warrior, even if the weapon he relies on most is magic instead of steel.  Finally we see Merlin depicted as dark, brooding, dangerous, a force to be reckoned with….not some frail, nerdy, skittish, wishy-washy magician.  FINALLY someone got it right!  Thanks, Starz.  (Oh, and the rest of the cast is great, too).

‘Camelot’ puts ‘Game of Thrones’ to shame, but hey – don’t take my word for it.  ‘Camelot’ airs every Friday on Starz at 10 pm EST.  Catch it and see for yourself!