This three-hour miniseries adapts Marion Zimmer Bradley's feminist recasting of the Arthurian mythos into a big-budget cable television event. In ancient England, Christianity is spreading and the Saxons are invading. It's up to Viviane (Anjelica Huston) -- Lady of the Lake and high priestess of the kingdom's ancient pagan religion -- to make sure that the next king will honor both the old and new faiths and thereby banish the barbarian hordes. Viviane manipulates her sister Igraine (Caroline Goodall) into marrying King Uther Pendragon (Mark Lewis Jones) and bearing a son, Arthur (Edward Atterton) -- much to the consternation of Viviane's other sister, the power-hungry Morgause (Joan Allen). Arthur grows up happily with his older half-sister, Morgaine (Julianna Margulies), until Merlin (Michael Byrne) spirits him off for training and Viviane brings Morgaine to the mystical island of Avalon to develop her magical connection to the Goddess. Years later, the siblings reunite in a masked mating ritual, unaware that their union is incestuous -- or that their son, Mordred (Hans Matheson), will fall into Morgause's clutches and destroy the delicate balance that Viviane has sought to maintain. As Arthur gathers the knights of the round table and ushers in a golden age with Queen Gwenhwyfar (Samantha Mathis) at his side, the seeds of his destruction, and Avalon's, have already been planted -- by Arthur himself. Filmed on-location in Prague, The Mists of Avalon premiered on the TNT cable network July 15 and 16, 2001. Director Uli Edel, best known for his feature adaptation of Last Exit to Brooklyn, had previously helmed Purgatory for TNT. The titular mists -- developed by Edel and executive producer Mark Wolper -- utilized custom fluid dynamic software designed specifically for the project. Celtic musician Loreena McKennitt added her theme music to composer Lee Holdridge's score.
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