Robin of Locksley returns to England from the Crusades to find the home he had left behind has taken a drastic turn for the worse under the tyrannical Sheriff of Nottingham. He is forced to take up an outlaw life, fighting for justice for the common man. Marian, fending off the advances of Guy of Gisborne, is his mole in the houses of power.
Of course, you probably knew all of this, didn’t you? What’s new to this version of the Robin Hood’s adventures is a rather contemporary aware…ess of the Middle East – so one of Robin’s team is Djaq, a Saracen woman, and our hero quotes from the Koran. Less interesting, and rather more painful, is the other contemporary influence: The Matrix. There’s a would-be martial arts influence to the swordfighting, and the stunts are frequently shot in slow motion and from multiple angles. Excitement is not pumped up. Suspension of disbelief is destroyed. All of the annoying comic relief doesn’t help either. It would if it were funny, but it isn’t. The production is handsome enough, but sets one’s teeth to grating just a bit too often.
5.1 and 2.0 options are available here, which is relatively infrequent when it comes to television releases, and is certainly welcome. The results are quite happy, with clear, undistorted dialogue, and a pretty solid set of environmental effects, making the frequent forest sequences, for instance, feel very much alive with birdsong and the like.
The colours are very vibrant and lush, befitting the sprightly tone the series generally seems to be aiming for. The image is extremely sharp. There is a tiny bit of digital grain, but it is of the sort I associate with NTSC versions of European television programs. In general, this is an excellent transfer.
There’s a cast-and-crew commentary track for one episode per disc. They’re jovial enough, but perhaps a bit too much like a party to which one has not been invited. Promo-style profiles are scattered about on the discs, with three of them being clustered on Disc 5, which also has the other extra: a half-hour making-of featurette, and solid pieces on costume and production design. Promotional though all of these things are, they are also quite informative.
A relatively ambitious series is undermined by rather unfortunate juvenility.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- Making of Featurette
- Dressing Hood Featurette
- Designing the Hood Featurette
- Character Profiles