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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Swords > Arrows > Myths > British TV > Robin Of Sherwood – The Complete Collection (Acorn DVD Box/1983) + The Adventures of Robin Hood – The Complete First Season (Mill Creek DVD/1955)

Robin of Sherwood – The Complete Collection (Acorn DVD Box/1983) + The Adventures of Robin Hood – The Complete First Season (Mill Creek DVD/1955)


Picture: C+/C     Sound: C+/C     Extras: A/D     Episodes: B/B-



The folklore and legend of Robin Hood AKA Robin of Sherwood stretches back through the ages of time and film alike with many variations, some good, and some not-so-good.  Most are familiar with the better incarnations like 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn.  Others appreciate the hit Disney feature from 1973 or even the comedic Mel Brooks Robin Hood: Men in Tights, which was a dig at the problematic Kevin Costner feature Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which at best only trivialized the legend of Robin Hood.  There of course have been dozens of others to play the lead role in some way or another, whether it be TV or film, but with a recent resurgence due to the BBC 2006 TV-series simply called “Robin Hood” there are more attempts for people to follow other productions.  One of those happens to be the 1984 series Robin of Sherwood, which up to this point has been tricky to find, hard to find in it’s completeness and offered in separate DVD volumes (insert link here). 


What is great about this set obviously first and foremost is that all of the episodes are here in a superb 10-disc set that runs a total of about 22 hours.  Our other critic mentioned many great things about the two volume sets that were already reviewed of the show and I would image that the technical aspects are relatively the same here as well with the full-frame 1.33 X 1 image looking fairly dated, but still watchable.  I understand that some scenes were shot in 16mm, but what is highly evident is the production of this show had intelligent minds framing things and demonstrates a high sense of production value that you don’t get very often these days, which is one of the reasons that people want this series!  Not only that, but this is one of the more authentic looking and feeling series that gives depth to the story and does not just focus on Robin himself.


Richard Greene is more in the classic tradition speaking loud, clearly and in an almost stage-like theatrical manner not unlike Errol Flynn, which works well across the 39 half-hour episodes here.  The show ran for four seasons and was one of the first solid British TV live-action genre productions, plus an early success for soon-to-be juggernaut ITC.  Terrence Fisher and Ralph Smart were among the early directors, with Smart, among the early writers and the shows hold up pretty well.


The cast were rich and strong with character actors and a regular cast that included Bernadette O’Farrell as the first maid Marion of the series, Archie Duncan as Little John, Alexander Gauge as Friar Tuck, Alan Wheatley as The Sheriff of Nottingham and Paul Eddington as Will Scarlett.  Donald Pleasance, Patrick Troughton and Leo McKern head the guest cast.


The older 1.33 X 1 black and white image for the 1955 show does not vary as much, though the prints show their age overall, these are also well-shot shows and fans will be pleasantly surprised.


The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is a mixed bag on both as well and also shows their respective age, while it sounds more like mono it’s never distracting, but you will need to crank it up a bit if you are not used to non-surround mixes.  There is more background noise on the 1955 shows, while the newer show has some compression.  The 1955 show has a theme song by Edwin Astley.


The commentary tracks (14 in total) are likely to be the same ones that were on the individual sets and are available for some of the episodes, but not all of them, but are really great to listen to as they are both informative and intelligent, which only add value to the series.  As if those commentary tracks are good enough there are also some behind-the-scenes segments, a making-of, 4 retrospective documentaries, bonus footage, and outtakes.  All of this is really great stuff that you hardly ever find on TV series from the 80’s.  Back then (before DVD and with limited people owning Laserdisc) it wasn’t common to produce or keep ‘extra’ stuff because it was never really deemed valuable as there was no outlet for it.  However, keeping that stuff really paid off and the retrospective documentaries really add a great deal to this set and demonstrate why this series was and is valuable today, which I can only echo what our fellow reviewed has stated about this series.  The 1955 set has no extras.


It’s refreshing to see a TV-series that takes the time to do something right and really put effort into making something as authentic as possible, but the depth of the show is really exciting and we seldom get shows like this today.  Even the newer “Robin Hood” on the BBC complicates the storyline a bit, although it’s equally as exciting, but goes for a more action oriented side and attempts to connect with modern audiences by being ‘cool’. 


All in all this set is a great one to have and will make those who have hunted for years glad to see it finally available with a nice price tag compared to the eBay’ers who may have spent a fortune to put together this set back in the days of VHS.



For more, see this coverage on Robin by our Robin Hood scholar Wayne Wise:


Robin Of Sherwood – Set One



Robin Of Sherwood – Set Two



Robin Hood – Season One (2006)




-   Nate Goss & Nicholas Sheffo


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