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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Swords > Arrows > Myths > Robin Hood: Season One (Blu-ray) + Robin Hood: Season Two (DVD/BBC Home Video)

Robin Hood: Season One (Blu-ray) + Robin Hood: Season Two (DVD/BBC Home Video)

 

Picture: B+/B-     Sound: B/B-    Extras: B     Episodes: B-

 

 

Forget everything you know about stuffy British television, Robin Hood is here to steal the small screen.  For a series that only premiered less than two years ago Robin Hood manages shoot past many of its competitors with is use of detailed and adventurous storylines.  Jonas Armstrong plays the captivating and charismatic Robin Hood in this new BBC adventure series that has captured the minds of many as it takes a classic tale to the next level.  Robin Hood is a mesh of action, adventure, drama, and light hearted comedy all tied together with a fine use of intelligent plots and dialogue.  Unlike many Robin Hood films and television series of the past, the series manages to nicely balance the conglomeration of elements without coming off as overly stuffy or serious.

 

The character of Robin Hood in this new BBC series is not your typical hero.  Robin is gritty and rough around the edges, but at the heart of the character there remains the classic ‘rob from the rich, give to the poor’ mentality.  The series has the arrogant Robin and his cohorts written a bit sexier and stylish than many viewers may remember from the storybooks, but the intensity and passion that is behind each episode makes the untypical character atmosphere seem all too right.  The Sheriff of Nottingham is played by the extremely talented Keith Allen, who plays the sarcastic and malicious role to an extreme.  The Sheriff’s corrupt rule is what drove Robin Hood to be the man he has become, in the absence of King Richard (due to the crusades) the land of England has fallen into a very poor state.  The greed of some has destroyed the lives of many and Robin Hood (though he may not know it) is starting to set things right.

 

Robin Hood: Season One established the characters and villains very well as Robin’s men were continually put through a series of hardships and trials that would bring them closer together as their deeper sides were put on full display for the audience.  But for as much as Robin Hood and his villainous counterparts are focused on and developed, it seems as though Robin’s band of merry men is presented as an underdeveloped stereotype torn right from the pages of history.  The character development is not bad, it is just not enough; sacrificing emotion and back-story for adventure and action.

 

Robin Hood: Season Two, however, manages to make up for Season One’s shortcomings and heighten all the aspects that already made the series great.  In Season Two the series took a slightly more violent turn, changing from Robin’s brand of trickery to allowing the characters to flat out kill.  This is not to say the series is a ‘gore-fest’ by any means, but instead the series has a more liberal use of violence that gives it serious and powerful edge.  The ‘live by the arrow, die by the arrow’ dramatic and adventurous violence is a welcome component to an already captivating series.   For as much as Season Two kicked up the violence, action factor the series also managed to more finely tune the deepness of the series.  The characters are now more focused with deep rooted emotions that swell and seem to burst all at once.

 

Whether it is in battle or over the death of a loved one, Robin Hood: Season Two portrays each character’s strengths, while making their character flaws fully apparent as well.  The men don’t blindly follow Robin to the end of the earth as children’s books have always portrayed.  The men are heated, angry, rough, and exist on a much deeper level that has yet to be revealed.  Maid Marian is also a more central character this season as she dirties her gloves in the many dealings of her number forest dweller, Robin Hood.  The are traders and thieves among the…ummm…traders and thieves, but these traders look to bring down Robin Hood and his men.  The series is griping from beginning to end and in no way will disappoint.  The plethora of twists and turns go right up until the final episode of the season and will leave viewers anxiously waiting for Season 3.

 

The technical features of the DVD release of Robin Hood: Season Two are on par with that of the Season One release.  The picture is presented in 1.78 X 1 Widescreen that is enhanced for 16 X 9 televisions.  The picture quality is a slight upgrade from the Season One DVD with cleaner, brighter colors and a crisper image; there are some detail issues that should be improved, but they are minor.  The sound is once again presented in a less than stellar Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround that is nice as it embodies the series well, but lacks the ‘pop’ that this action heavy series should contain.  The surrounds are never fully used, but there overall the sound is crisp.

 

The extras of Season Two are less than that of those found on Season One, but are still hold some value.  The extras include two featurettes that go into detail on two of this seasons characters Marian and the other featurette on Edward.  There is also a brief audio commentary and more importantly a ‘Beneath the Hood: Making of Robin Hood: Season 2’ featurette.  The featurettes are nicer than the commentaries, giving solid detail into the creative process of who the writers think the characters should be and in what direction the series is going.  Overall, a nice set of special features.

 

The technical features on the Blu-ray edition of Robin Hood: Season One are far superior to those of last June’s DVD release.  The picture has been upgraded to a High Definition 1080i/VC-1 still in its 1.77 X 1 Widescreen presentation.  On the Blu-ray the colors are vibrant, the image is extremely crisp, and there are no light/dark issues to be seen.  Where as the dark scenes are not perfect having a certain degree of noise, it is still an impressive picture presentation overall.  The sound quality on this set, however, is a sad disappointment.  The sound is only presented in a slightly crisper Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround that is comparable to the DVD release with its short comings.  No true upgrade for the sound here, sadly.

 

The extras are the same as the DVD release and are presented in standard definition.  To read more about the first season and it’s DVD’s technical features and extras please refer to the link below:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/5702/Robin+Hood:+Season+One+(2006/BBC

 

 

All in all, this is a good series that will only get better with time.

 

 

-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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