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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Swords > Arrows > Myths > Robin Hood: Season One (2006/BBC Television series)

Robin Hood: Season One (2006/BBC Television series)


Picture: B-†††† Sound: B-†††† Extras: B†††† Film: B



On the heels of the DVD release of the 1983 BBC series Robin of Sherwood (which I have reviewed elsewhere on this site) comes Robin Hood: Season One, a new version of the classic tale that originally aired in 2006.Having recently watched both series itís difficult not to draw comparisons. Robin of Sherwood drew heavily on Celtic mythology, giving it a deeper resonance, and while this was incredibly well done you couldnít help but think it took itself a little too seriously.


Robin Hood: Season One is a little more light-hearted. Robin is a rogue, in the best sense of the word.Heís arrogant, and funny, and sexy, and though he does believe strongly in helping the downtrodden, itís obvious that a lot of what he does is a game to him. Itís more of a romp.


Except when itís not.It seems, at times, as if the producers of the show arenít sure what tone they want to take.Some of the humor is over the top, resorting to anachronistic puns and nearly camp performances.One episode is entitled ďWho shot the Sheriff?Ē and sure enough, by the end of the episode one of the characters remarks, ďyou didnít shoot the sheriff. You shot the deputy.ĒItís funny, and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Keith Allen), is consistently outrageous.Yet in the very same episode we several people killed by a sniper, including a twelve year old boy.It isnít played for laughs and the anguish of the boyís mother is taken very seriously.The juxtaposition of the two extremes can be jarring.


The expected cast of Merry Men is present, with the conspicuous absence of Friar Tuck.Other than Robinís squire Much, played here as not real bright but brave and faithful, they are a little thin on character development. Little John is older and stoic and bashes people with his stick.Will Scarlett is young and stoic and a gifted woodworker.Maid Marion is a modern, strong-willed woman with a secret that adds to the mythology.


The show is also overtly political.Played against the backdrop of the Crusades there are many obvious references to our current Middle East imbroglio.In the first episode Robin comments that he doesnít understand why he spent five years fighting in the Holy Land when there was so much evil at home.The addition of a new character, a Persian woman named Djaq (pronounced Jack), allows foe even more commentary.


This may be a nod to Morgan Freemanís character in the Kevin Reynolds/Kevin Costner Robin Hood ≠- Price of Thieves, and seems to be becoming a thoroughly modern reinterpretation of the story.The beauty of any myth that survives is its ability to continue to speak to an audience, whether a thousand years ago or now, the holy war that comes from the clash of Western culture with that of the Middle East is a worthy topic for exploration.And on a more personal level, as long as the common man feels abused by and oppressed by a government that cares nothing for them, there will be a need for stories of those who resist that system.Apparently, we still need Robin Hood.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image was shot in digital High Definition and has some toned-down colors, but is not bad, consistent and only slightly hazy here and there in this DVD tradedown.Still, it looks good for this kind of shoot.The Dolby Digital 5.1 is lively throughout and a bit better than the 2.0 Dolby with its Pro Logic surrounds.Wonder if the BBC will make this one of their first dramatic series in HD-DVD and Blu-ray?


Extras include episode-length audio commentary by actors Gordon Kennedy and Lucy Griffiths, executive producers and co-creators Fozz Allan and Dominic Minghella & composer Andy Price on Sheriff Got Your Tongue?, actors Gordon Kennedy, Lucy Griffiths, and Richard Armitage, and executive producers and co-creators Fozz Allan & Dominic Minghella on Parent Hood, actors Richard Armitage, Jonas Armstrong, Sam Troughton, and Anjali Jay & composer Andy Price on Tattoo? What Tattoo? and actors Jonas Armstrong, Sam Troughton, and Anjali Jay, executive producer and co-creator Fozz Allan & composer Andy Price on A Clue: No?.We also get featurettes Hood Academy, Dressing Hood, Designing the Hood, a making of featurette and character profiles.



-†† Wayne Wise



Wayne Wise is torn between his love of the Robin Hood myth, which represents resistance to the abuses of big government, and his love of the King Arthur myth, which represents a truly just ruling body.If we had the latter we wouldnít need the former.





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