Philip Winchester stars as Robinson Crusoe in this exciting series based on the classic Daniel Defoe tale. Set in the 17th century, CRUSOE follows the famous castaway as he navigates the wilds of an uncharted island using his wits and a handful of ingenious gadgets wrought from primitive materials. This captivating set includes every episode of the entire series which was canceled after its first season, featuring Sam Neill THE TUDORS as Crusoe s friend Jeremiah Blackthorn, and newcomer Tongai Arnold Chirisa as the castaway s native ally, Friday.
Though its network run was short-lived, the 2009 TV series Crusoe
, based on the enduring and frequently adapted novel Robinson Crusoe
by Daniel Defoe, provides an impressive level of derring-do over the course of its 13 episodes, all of which are included in this DVD set. Philip Winchester plays Defoe’s famous castaway, imbued here with not only the resourcefulness of the character in the novel, but also a MacGyver
-like knack for building all manner of contraptions to protect his island home. He’s aided, of course, by Friday (Tongai Arnold Chirisa), who is as much the faithful companion of past adaptations as sort of Robin/Kato-esque sidekick in numerous fights against cannibals, mutineers, the Spanish Guard (led by Joaquim de Almeida), and some very Disney-esque pirates. The excitement is not limited to Crusoe’s island: back in England, wife Susannah (Anna Walton of Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
) must contend with the villainous Jeremiah Blackthorn (Sam Neill), who has designs on the Crusoe family fortune. As period action goes, Crusoe delivers. The battles with various island foes aim for--and largely achieve--Indiana Jones-level thrills, albeit on a more limited scale. Where the series bogs down is with Susannah’s sudsy travails and the fleshing out of the source material, which invents an aspiring female doctor (Mia Maestro) who disguises herself as a man and winds up aiding Crusoe and Friday. Those issues, combined with the traditional difficulty faced by weekly period shows on television, most likely contributed to Crusoe
’s demise (which was posthumously referred to by the network as a miniseries in order to explain its brief run), but those who don’t mind the abbreviated length may appreciate the show’s positive attributes. In an offbeat touch, the extras on the three-disc set are limited to a paperback copy of the Defoe novel. --Paul Gaita