Merlin is a British fantasy-adventure television programme created by Julian Jones, Jake Michie, Julian Murphy, and Johnny Capps, starring Colin Morgan in the title role. It was broadcast on BBC One from 20 September 2008 to 24 December 2012 for a total of 65 episodes. The show is loosely based on the Arthurian legends of the young wizard Merlin and his relationship with King Arthur, but it differs from traditional versions. The show was influenced by the US drama series Smallville about the early years of Superman, and was produced by independent production company Shine Limited.
The show was picked up by the BBC in 2006 after unsuccessful attempts. The series premiered in 2008 to mixed reviews but good ratings which improved as the series went on, and proved popular on the BBC's digital catch-up service iPlayer. It was shown in the United States on NBC, though it later moved to the cable network Syfy. It is a mainstay in both Netflix US and UK.
Merlin is a reimagining of the legend in which the future King Arthur and Merlin are young contemporaries. Arthur's father Uther Pendragon has banned magic in Camelot, its use punishable by death, forcing Merlin to keep his magical powers secret from everyone in Camelot other than his mentor Gaius. Arthur grows from a young, self-absorbed boy to the mighty king in the legends, and Merlin develops into his colossal role in creating the powerful Camelot. In 2012, the show's producers announced that its fifth series would be its last, with a two-part finale on 24 December 2012.