Fan Service: A ‘Merlin’ case study

12:30 pm EST, July 18, 2014

The term fan service has pretty much become synonymous with shirtless-scene/half-dressed/low necklines. But really, isn’t fan service all about giving fans what they want?

Okay, so most fans are happy with any of the above three methods! But every now and then show runners should mix it up a little. That way, it’s kept exciting for the fans, and the critics won’t pass the series over as just-another-show-for-the-fan girls/boys. It’s a win-win situation.

Let’s take the BBC series Merlin – which definitely was adept at utilising the traditional methods of fan service – as an example and see what other things the series could have utilised to service fans.

Ten other things that could have happened/increased on Merlin as fan service:

1. More ‘less is more’:

Yes, we’re talking those changing-behind-the-screen scenes (the legitimate ones where the camera didn’t take the audience on the other side of the screen), the shirts open down the front (again, the legitimate ones. Like Arthur and Lancelot while they’re running about dueling with broomsticks. Yeah your shirt fastening can totally come undone in that) and Merlin with his sleeves rolled up.

2. More Arthur and Gwen conversations:

When the Arthur/Gwen relationship was established in season 2 it was fantastic how it was the anti-fairy-tale love story…where some prince doesn’t fall in love at first sight. Or some damsel doesn’t get rescued by a prince and falls for him in the process. All of that culminated into the Epic Kiss. Which was nice and wonderful but where to go from there? More hearty conversations between the characters is the way to go! Also with regards to Gwen, often her awesome moments were underpinned by her low-cut dresses, contradicting her otherwise sensible-girl character…which means in this case non-conventional fan service was particularly apt!

3. More Merlin/Morgana tense moments:

Merlin can’t open up to any girl because he has magic. Then his crush Morgana has magic. But he can’t go near her because she’s destined to be evil…because she feels she can’t open up to anyone. About her magic. Merlin and Morgana truly had the grounds for an ‘it’s complicated’ relationship!

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4. The hot doctor/chemistry guy:

Sure, Merlin couldn’t show off with his magic, but what about his medical skills? We did see a glimpse of him as a doctor in a season 4 episode but more would have been great fan service. Plus, Gaius does have all those test tubes lying around, Merlin could have been swirling them around more often and truly taken on the hot-nerd persona!

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5. Arthur with a book:

That would’ve been impossible right? I mean he was the clueless, jock right? Nope. On several occasions, Arthur gives some very confident accounts of Camelot’s history. Now, the history was probably skewed to make the Pendragons look cool, but the point is, the kid listened to his tutors at some point. Yeah he plays with the quill a lot – which is a sure sign of a non-nerd (however, makes for great fan service), but clearly some sort of studious activities went in to give him the knowledge in the fields he needs.

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6. The lads playing football:

Considering football/soccer has its roots in medieval Europe. Okay, so maybe King Arthur and his knights wouldn’t exactly be playing ‘mob football,’ but all the lads could have still kicked some goals in the training yard. And with several football enthusiasts in the cast, this would have been fan service and actor-service.

7. Extracurricular activities:

Several behind-the-scenes material has revealed some of the other talents of the actors –such as Angel’s singing/teaching herself the guitar and Bradley’s artistic abilities. There could have been a ‘holiday episode’ (lasting only five minutes before the bad guys closed in, of course) where Gwen could have been playing the lute and singing a pretty song and Arthur could have been painting (but maybe not quite painting Gwen singing – that would prove to be too close to Peeta Mellark…) There was even a lute hanging around in the background every now and again on Merlin…

8. That Skipped Wedding:

We witnessed Uther’s nuptials to the Troll/Catrina. We saw Arthur and Elena’s almost-wedding. Whatever happened to The Official couple’s much anticipated wedding? (as far as I can see, Gwen’s crowning at the end of season 4 was just that – a coronation, not a wedding. Plus it was changed from its original version in Morgana’s dream. Possibly to pass it off as a wedding.)

9. What happened to those dogs?

We’ve heard at least two mentions of Arthur’s dogs. There could have been plenty of Prince Eric-esque scenes (refer to Disney’s The Little Mermaid) with the canines.

10. Properly-dressed is the new shirtless:

Remember season one where everyone was fully dressed? (okay, minus the two shirtless scenes in the very first and last episodes. And Lady Morgana’s dresses being a little too eye catching at times. But hey, she did have a bit of a rebel streak, so it kind of fit her character.) Did that stop the audience from swooning and/or fanclubbing over the show? No.

And I for one was quite a fan of Arthur’s jacket/coat collection!

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Some awesome celebrities turned out today to support the Women’s March on Washington movement, in order to send a strong message to the Trump administration that women’s rights are human rights!

Massive crowds all over the world today are taking part in the Women’s March to send a message about women’s rights. Here at Hypable we give a big shout out to all of those taking a stand today. To show that you’re not alone in this fight, here’s a look at some of the celebrities who were among the estimated four million marchers who showed up to support you in D.C. and all over the world.

Emma Watson and Bonnie Wright

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Some awesome celebrities turned out today to support the Women’s March on Washington movement, in order to send a strong message to the Trump administration that women’s rights are human rights!

Massive crowds all over the world today are taking part in the Women’s March to send a message about women’s rights. Here at Hypable we give a big shout out to all of those taking a stand today. To show that you’re not alone in this fight, here’s a look at some of the celebrities who were among the estimated four million marchers who showed up to support you in D.C. and all over the world.

Emma Watson and Bonnie Wright

Kristen Stewart

Charlize Theron

Madonna

Nick Offerman

Sir Ian McKellen

Candice King, Julie Plec and Kayla Ewell

Mindy Kaling

A photo posted by Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) on

Darren Criss and Nick Lang

Melissa Benoist

💪#womensmarchonwashington

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Misha Collins

#womansmarch Jacksonville, FL. Fight on!

A photo posted by Misha Collins (@misha) on

Aja Naomi King and Alfred Enoch

Resistance. Respect. #womensmarch 👊🏾

A photo posted by Aja King (@ajanaomi_king) on

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Joss Whedon

Edgar Wright

Miley Cyrus

Ariana Grande

today filled my heart with so much hope !! got to meet many beautiful, passionate people and march alongside my loved ones. the sun came out for us. we are so much stronger and louder than hatred, ignorance, sexism, racism, agism, homophobia, transphobia, body shaming, slut shaming, prejudice, discrimination of all kinds, patriarchal conditioning and the backwards expectations of what a woman should be! I'm so proud of / inspired by everyone who marched today and thankful that there are so many people on this planet currently celebrating how brilliant and magical women truly are! let's keep our voices loud, passionate & peaceful! let's continue being strong for each other and to build each other up! let us stay connected to our divinity. 🌸♡🌌

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John Legend

#WomensMarch

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Chrissy Teigen and America Ferrara

Dame Helen Mirren

Gillian Anderson

Bryan Fuller

Neil Gaiman

Kerry Washington with Natalie Portman

… and with Laverne Cox

Ben Barnes

Amy Schumer and Uzo Aduba

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Gina Rodriguez

Carlos Valdes, Arthur Darvill, Danielle Panabaker, Caity Lotz and Keiynan Lonsdale

Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal

Kevin McHale

Chris Colfer

Scarlett Johansson

Blake Lively

Yoko Ono and Whoopi Goldberg

Jessica Chastain

Alicia Keys and Janelle Monae

Katy Perry

Zendaya

That's right…

A photo posted by Zendaya (@zendaya) on

Troye Sivan

Willow Smith

Mark Ruffalo

Yip. Well said. Borrowed sign from @dorisfullgrabe design by @dirtybandits #womensmarch Nyc

A photo posted by Mark Ruffalo (@markruffalo) on

Paul Bettany

Eddie Izzard

Stephen Colbert

Did you turn out to support the Women’s March?

Even though we’re halfway through Lucifer season 2, God has only ever been mentioned by name, so we haven’t seen what he looks like — yet.

God has been a major player in Lucifer since the pilot episode, but we’ve never seen his face. Despite what a huge influence he’s had on all of Lucifer’s existence, the show has understandably continued to keep him a mystery (though we did wonder when we’d be seeing him).

But now, according to EW, Timothy Omundson (Psych, Galavant) has been cast in the role of God Johnson.

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Even though we’re halfway through Lucifer season 2, God has only ever been mentioned by name, so we haven’t seen what he looks like — yet.

God has been a major player in Lucifer since the pilot episode, but we’ve never seen his face. Despite what a huge influence he’s had on all of Lucifer’s existence, the show has understandably continued to keep him a mystery (though we did wonder when we’d be seeing him).

But now, according to EW, Timothy Omundson (Psych, Galavant) has been cast in the role of God Johnson.

They don’t specifically say Omundson will be playing the God, but EW reports he is “a patient in a psychiatric hospital, who is charming, enigmatic, and oh yeah, he thinks he’s the one and only God Almighty.”

Lucifer will certainly take issue with someone impersonating any divine being, let alone his father.

However, EW also says, “As Lucifer (Tom Ellis) tries to prove him a phony, he comes to find that ‘God Johnson’ seems to know things that only Lucifer’s true Father would know. Could he really be the Big Guy Upstairs?”

The trick will be to figure out if God Johnson is the real deal or if someone else is feeding him information to lure Lucifer out. At this point, it could be just about anybody — Charlotte, Amenadiel, the man in the hat, or a player we’ve yet to meet.

Omundson has been signed on for only one episode, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll never see him again.

Are you excited Timothy Omundson has been added to ‘Lucifer‘?

At a time when the divide between the generations has arguably never been greater, The 100 encapsulates the struggle of millennials more than any other current show.

This article was submitted by Hypable reader Stephanie Farnsworth.

The media churns out article after article about the laziness of millennials, and then complains about how we work too hard. Millennials are branded “snowflakes” even as we struggle to pay rent and bear the consequences of the economic fall-out that we didn’t cause.

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At a time when the divide between the generations has arguably never been greater, The 100 encapsulates the struggle of millennials more than any other current show.

This article was submitted by Hypable reader Stephanie Farnsworth.

The media churns out article after article about the laziness of millennials, and then complains about how we work too hard. Millennials are branded “snowflakes” even as we struggle to pay rent and bear the consequences of the economic fall-out that we didn’t cause.

The CW drama The 100, which is entering its fourth season in February, rather bluntly captures that sense of young people paying the price of previous generations; at the beginning of the series, a council of adult politicians literally sent teenagers to a radiation-soaked earth to try to save their own society.

The 100 season 1 Jaha

The pilot episode revealed the extent of the power imbalance between the generations that reflects our society today: Chancellor Jaha presented the project of ‘the hundred’ as a way for young delinquents to fulfil their duty and gain redemption, even if it cost them their lives. They were even expected to be grateful, because they’d been judged as criminals and would have been executed anyway, even for relatively petty crimes.

And as The 100 season 4 approaches, the adults’ attitudes towards the kids haven’t changed that much from the show’s premiere.

Related: Previewing The 100 season 4: What to expect when you’re expecting an apocalypse

Generational conflict and tension has remained at the heart of the show throughout the series. The generational focus has not been diluted even as the world has expanded to reveal far more of the culture of the Grounders; in fact, this has only given rise to more conflict as the older members of Skaikru have struggled to accept not only the Grounders’ belief system, but the young age of their Commanders.

As the figurehead for all of the delinquents, lead character Clarke has been undermined and derided at every turn. In season 2, her own mother scoffed at the idea that Clarke and Lexa could lead their people to safety, mocking the Grounder Commander’s age and commenting, “They’re being led by a child.” It was up to Kane to point out that Skaikru were, too, because none of the adults had managed to think of a solution, and it was up to Clarke to save them.

Both Abby and Kane’s attitudes play into the infantilising of the millennial generation. Neither Clarke nor Lexa were children. They were young adults, and they were working towards making a better society where all of their people could survive while the adults were focused on internal power plays. Jaha was ready to leave the young adults in Mount Weather to die, but that’s no surprise; he’d made that decision before.

Abby couldn’t bear losing power to her own daughter, to the extent that it culminated in a scene where she assaulted Raven. The young mechanic was cool and composed in her response, pointing out that Clarke stopped being a child when Abby signed off on her daughter being sent to Earth to die.

Raven’s positioning was clear: Although not condemned by any crimes (even if she had committed the crime that Finn was convicted of), she chose to align herself with the hundred and was the one who chose to come to Earth simply to help. The younger generation, in short, pulled together, and when the older generation landed they brought down their old rules and oppression.

The consequences were overwhelming for the younger characters. They were tasked with saving everyone at the expense of any peace to their own souls. Clarke demonstrated this more than any other character and she ended up fleeing her people, unable to carry the burden of expectation they all had for her. It’s something she wrestled with throughout season 3, and with Earth facing a nuclear apocalypse again, Clarke will have to make peace — not with herself, but with how everyone else sees her if she is to survive.

The 100 season 4 Bellamy

Bellamy, too, will have to find his own identity. Last season, he effectively turned his back on the hundred to win the praise of Pike, and Bellamy upheld and supported his bigotry.

His part in slaughtering the Ark survivors’ 300 Grounder allies will not be easily forgotten. Bellamy wanted to be the hero. He wanted to protect people (specifically the women in his life) who never asked for that, and he wanted to be a part of the establishment.

If The 100 presents a metaphor for the real-life relationship between millennials and Gen X, Bellamy is the one wearing the rose-tinted glasses that younger people are supposed to wear when viewing an establishment that has been willing to regularly criticise later generations.

He had longed to be part of the Guard since he was a boy, and he saw a way to fulfil that old dream and become part of an order that had caused his entire family so much suffering. Bellamy was never quite the hundred: He was older, and his sole concern initially had been protecting his sister. It was easier for him to flit between the different groups within Skaikru than it was for any of the rest of the hundred.

After the events of last season, however, Bellamy now knows the pain he’s caused by his choices. And in season 4, he will have to choose exactly who to put his faith in: Clarke or the old order?

But maybe, in light of the external threat that now threatens humanity’s survival, the two generations will finally be able to pull together. There have been many hints that Clarke and Jaha will find some common ground this season due to the pressures they are facing, and Jaha knows well the cost of leading. Through Clarke, we will see whether lessons can be learned from the mistakes of the generation before.

Octavia once accused Clarke of being just like the council by deciding who was worthy of life. Clarke now must show whether she will follow that path or whether she can be better. The millennial dream of whether we can learn from the repression and conservatism of the past will be on trial in The 100 season 4, as we see just how Clarke plans to lead her friends into this new battle.

The 100‘ season 4 premieres February 1 at 9/8c on The CW