News

Cursed First Reviews: A Twisty, Unique, and (Mostly) Compelling Arthurian Fantasy

13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford leads an ensemble cast in a series that critics see as having potential for an even better season 2.

by | July 17, 2020 | Comments

Cursed, premiering on Netflix today, brings to life the alternative Arthurian legend presented by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler in their illustrated young adult novel of the same name. The story is told through the eyes of Nimue, a young Fey woman who is destined to become the Lady of the Lake of myth. Arthur, Merlin, Uther Pendragon, Gawain, and other famous names of legend are on hand to spin this tale of a magical warrior-protector of a mighty and ancient sword.

The series stars Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) as Nimue, Devon Terrell (Barry) as mercenary Arthur, Gustaf Skarsgård (Vikings) as a debauched Merlin, Daniel Sharman (Fear the Walking Dead) as the mysterious Weeping Monk, Peter Mullan (Westworld) as cruel Father Carden, and Lily Newmark (Pin Cushion) as Nimue’s best friend Pym.

Here’s what critics are saying about season 1 of Cursed:


Does Cursed Honor the Ancient Arthurian Mythology?

KATHERINE LANGFORD asNIMUE in episode 107 of CURSED

(Photo by Des Willie/Netflix)

What gives Cursed its edge is the source material, which subverts centuries of lore and oppressive systems. The Netflix adaptation isn’t nearly as captivating, but it still manages to be a quaint escape from reality. — Kayla Sutton, AV Club

The Arthurian myth kitty is not so much raided as spilled all over the floor in this adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel focusing on the fairy-woman Nimue. — Suzi Feay, Financial Times

Cursed never quite feels big enough to tell this epic story… but overall the storytelling does a good job of showcasing varied, interesting characters in a growing cycle of violence. — Huw Fullerton, Radio Times

Cursed delivers on its use of Arthurian legend while also creating a unique story that pushes past your expectations… — Kate Sánchez, But Why Tho? A Geek Community

Cursed successfully reimagines the Arthurian legends we know and creates magic. This in spite of some pacing issues and its abrupt end of season conclusion. — Sarah Musnicky, Nightmarish Conjurings

We’re all a little too used to seeing the fate of the world hinge on Teen Girl Chosen Ones who never seem to laugh – but Cursed gives us one genuinely worth caring about. — Lena Wilson, The Playlist



Are the Performances in Cursed Magical? 

Langford is an excellent choice for Nimue. She is strong and resilient yet somewhat trusting and naïve. — Allison Rose, FlickDirect

Terell is brilliant as Arthur. A Black Arthur does feel radical, but he is a co-lead and sidekick to Langford’s Nimue. Cursed is still a lot of fun, but don’t expect anything too revolutionary from this safely subversive new Netflix show. — Rosie Knight, Nerdist

Almost no one can act and those who can are … taking it easy. — Lucy Mangan, Guardian


Is Cursed’s Fantasy Believable?

GUSTAF SKARSGÅRD as MERLIN in episode 101 of CURSED

(Photo by Courtesy of Netflix © 2020)

Cursed’s Fey, made up of snake-skinned, tusked and other hybrid humanoids, all with their own cultures, efficiently establishes them as a living, breathing species independent of their human relatives. — Hannah Collins, CBR


Is Cursed Cheaply Made or Flashy and Stylish? 

DANIEL SHARMAN as THE WEEPING MONK in episode 102 of CURSED

(Photo by Netflix © 2020)

Cursed does a fine job of stylizing its visuals, as well as building a complex story base (even if the latter feels too bulky at times). — Kimberly Ricci, Uproxx

Cursed may not be the most serious or profound program that TV has to offer, but you won’t find many shows more solidly built or satisfying. — Judy Berman, TIME Magazine

With twists and turns you might not see coming, no matter how well you know Arthurian Legend, Cursed delivers a fun and wild ride. It also has serious Game Of Thrones vibes. — Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky


Final Thoughts?

LILY NEWMARK as PYM and KATHERINE LANGFORD as NIMUE in episode 101 of CURSED

(Photo by Courtesy of Netflix © 2020)

Featuring a lot of promise but failing in the execution tonally, Cursed is unfortunately a bit of a missed opportunity to breathe new life into the Arthurian legend. — Nicola Austin, We Have a Hulk

Cursed makes complete its clumsy tightrope walk, but will need to build stronger support for any feminist goals it has for future seasons. — B.L. Panther, The Spool

Cursed will do — it’s nowhere near perfect but its attempt to take on an alternative tale with a female, strong lead, makes the whole viewing worthwhile. — Daniel Hart, Ready Steady Cut

Bloated yet entertaining, Cursed carves out a uniquely weird kitsch-fantasy niche for itself, even if it doesn’t always quite know what it wants to be. — Shaun Munro, Flickering Myth

I never was able to fully give myself over to Cursed, but I never really got bored and I think there’s a better show laying in wait for a second season. More Pym, please! — Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

The highs of the series far outweigh the lows, and Cursed manages to tell an exciting and surprisingly timely tale with Nimue and the rest of the Arthurian roster. It is sure to fill the void in the hearts of fantasy fans everywhere. — Charlie Ridgely, ComicBook.com

Cursed: Season 1 (2020)
67%

#1
Adjusted Score: 70.301%
Critics Consensus: Cursed's first season isn't as subversive as its source material, but strong plotting and a heroic performance from Katherine Langford make for an enjoyable escape.
Synopsis: Based on the New York Times bestselling book, Cursed is a re-imagination of the Arthurian legend, told through the eyes... [More]

Cursed is now streaming on Netflix

Tag Cloud

The Academy TNT Paramount Network disaster romance Tumblr Tomatazos festivals adventure 21st Century Fox Lifetime Christmas movies comic Drama joker Ghostbusters ABC Family hollywood romantic comedy transformers Baby Yoda IFC ABC miniseries BAFTA Sony Pictures Syfy green book Ovation documentaries singing competition halloween sag awards Superheroe SXSW Photos 2017 AMC cancelled TV series HBO Go Disney ghosts spanish 4/20 Quiz Song of Ice and Fire kids Amazon Studios Sundance GLAAD Video Games Pop TV First Reviews dragons ITV Discovery Channel BET Awards Women's History Month social media Hallmark satire GIFs Anna Paquin National Geographic hispanic spinoff asian-american Red Carpet Lifetime Television Academy Thanksgiving period drama doctor who Endgame independent TIFF thriller children's TV free movies biography mockumentary 99% theme song San Diego Comic-Con Fantasy game show Apple TV+ 2020 BET universal monsters Pop Film Festival Trophy Talk GoT dramedy TCA Awards Walt Disney Pictures LGBTQ Animation DirecTV Brie Larson parents Apple 72 Emmy Awards stoner OWN Turner Rom-Com renewed TV shows Classic Film VICE quibi stop motion CNN 45 natural history crime historical drama The Walking Dead unscripted toy story cats Horror jamie lee curtis political drama talk show composers indie movie Certified Fresh series Rock Trailer Food Network El Rey Comedy dark 2019 all-time crime drama TV renewals Schedule New York Comic Con First Look Emmys nature blockbuster discovery Disney Channel Amazon Prime reviews chucky The Arrangement Reality fast and furious Amazon 24 frames harry potter Disney Plus boxing SundanceTV medical drama Grammys Hallmark Christmas movies HBO Max james bond anthology Year in Review Film crossover Mudbound 71st Emmy Awards Action best Mary poppins Rocketman obituary versus christmas movies streaming Showtime sitcom 2018 game of thrones TCA MCU Trivia slashers Adult Swim Academy Awards Toys Sneak Peek twilight comic books WGN zero dark thirty superhero worst RT History Fox Searchlight Writers Guild of America classics cooking Infographic Winners teaser Rocky Binge Guide Paramount 20th Century Fox Country Awards Tour comedies screenings Mary Poppins Returns boxoffice latino video on demand Pixar comics TBS DC Comics Fall TV The CW Captain marvel CW Seed name the review sequels french news cancelled Stephen King films nfl PaleyFest blaxploitation FX Travel Channel American Society of Cinematographers Election Cosplay Comic Book Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Television Critics Association Turner Classic Movies Western Alien Sci-Fi emmy awards Musical Spike a nightmare on elm street anime remakes Christmas Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Marathons award winner President Pirates APB Emmy Nominations Awards Elton John Super Bowl Mindy Kaling Netflix Christmas movies Mystery Sundance Now breaking bad Winter TV Acorn TV FOX Mary Tyler Moore mission: impossible Cannes ESPN Lucasfilm Spring TV Family CMT canceled TV shows Columbia Pictures politics rotten spider-man Bravo Music what to watch mutant Opinion Epix Best and Worst docudrama Star Wars DC Universe science fiction dc golden globes spy thriller FX on Hulu south america Marvel ratings X-Men A&E Crackle Disney+ Disney Plus Polls and Games BBC SDCC PlayStation australia Black Mirror dogs CBS All Access Box Office OneApp foreign Set visit E! Kids & Family technology Avengers cops NYCC Character Guide crime thriller adaptation based on movie Universal Apple TV Plus Nickelodeon criterion diversity Marvel Television Tubi Tarantino Esquire Disney streaming service CBS Peacock cancelled TV shows comiccon spain YouTube Red cars Shondaland stand-up comedy Netflix black VH1 hist Funimation zombie halloween tv ID USA Network Creative Arts Emmys Reality Competition BBC One Crunchyroll Nat Geo laika spanish language Black History Month Superheroes video witnail documentary elevated horror police drama BBC America casting YA supernatural A24 football critics Biopics Marvel Studios Vudu FXX worst movies facebook Logo Martial Arts serial killer batman YouTube Sundance TV Watching Series DGA Arrowverse rt archives television animated Masterpiece concert movies Extras Oscars japanese nbcuniversal cartoon sports Britbox Hulu Pet Sematary rotten movies we love 2015 Hear Us Out travel The Witch E3 VOD TruTV cinemax revenge Holidays Starz zombies true crime History Premiere Dates MTV canceled Podcast Nominations Freeform USA Fox News deadpool TV Land HBO WarnerMedia dceu werewolf TCM TV psycho Comedy Central child's play Valentine's Day TLC MSNBC robots TCA Winter 2020 PBS cancelled television space Chernobyl The Purge Star Trek Warner Bros. Amazon Prime Video sequel strong female leads tv talk war indiana jones archives festival franchise YouTube Premium Interview richard e. Grant Musicals IFC Films DC streaming service aliens fresh Shudder screen actors guild die hard LGBT scary movies psychological thriller Dark Horse Comics Cartoon Network toronto Calendar Holiday finale Comics on TV scorecard book venice reboot See It Skip It Ellie Kemper cults Summer Lionsgate justice league binge vampires TCA 2017 directors italian Heroines NBC Spectrum Originals 2016 007 Countdown RT21 Teen Pride Month