'Camelot' (10PM ET Friday, Starz) a new retelling of the ancient Arthurian myths, makes some smart choices.
In a terrific performance, Jamie Campbell Bower makes Arthur seem both naive and impetuous, and Joseph Fiennes' Merlin doesn't go in for magical solutions; he's more a political operative consciously building a myth around the untested Arthur as ancient Britain threatens to descend into tribal anarchy. There's even a clever take on sword-in-the-stone tale.
Yet there are some tonal clashes within this handsome series, and there's an unfortunate stop-start quality to 'Camelot's' momentum. The first couple of episodes of the Starz drama have a relatively brisk pace, but the third one has elements of mawkish soapiness that slow down the action considerably.