Robin of Sherwood: Set One
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Long before Harry there was Robin, a magical, mystical youth fighting against evil with his own innate goodness and inherited powers. And of all the interpretations of the Robin Hood legend, this acclaimed 1980s British TV series endures in the hearts of fans for its lavishly produced mix of gripping action adventure, fantasy, and authentic historical drama. Set 1, which includes all 13 episodes in Series 1 & 2, stars Michael Praed (Dynasty) as Robin of Loxley, with Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast) as Will Scarlet, and Nickolas Grace (Brideshead Revisited) as the Sheriff of Nottingham. As seen on Showtime and PBS as Robin Hood.
When Robin of Sherwood debuted in 1984, it revolutionized the legend of Robin Hood with a young, scruffy Robin (Michael Praed, later to appear on Dynasty) and his ragged, rough-and-tumble band of thieves. Fusing the derring-do of the traditional story with a more Arthurian magic element (ranging from druidic visions to outright black magic), Robin of Sherwood was an immediate sensation. Unfortunately, not all revolutions age well, and some viewers may have trouble getting past Robin's flowing 1980s hairstyle or the Clannad soundtrack, which seems to have been played on the cheapest, tinniest synthesizer available. More open-minded audiences will enjoy the show's virtues: Gritty, realistic medieval sets and costumes; an amusing blend of feudal politics and occult danger (episodes featured everything from possession to love spells to devil-worshiping nuns); a scenery-chewing performance from Nickolas Grace (Brideshead Revisited) as the Sheriff of Nottingham (the bad guys always have the most fun); and the surly presence of a young Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast) as Will Scarlet. All the classic characters are there, including a dewy Lady Marion, towering Little John, plump Friar Tuck, and more. Though sometimes cheesy, Robin of Sherwood never slid into camp, and fans appreciate its earnest interpretation. Set 1 includes the 13 episodes of the first two series, along with a bonus disk of retrospective interviews with the cast and creators, outtakes, and other appealing features. --Bret FetzerSee all Editorial Reviews
- All 13 episodes in series 1 & 2
- Commentaries for episodes 1 & 2
- Two retrospective documentaries
- Behind-the-scenes documentary: The Electric Theatre Show, with bonus footage
- Textless title sequences
- U.S. title sequences
- French title sequences
- Cast filmographies
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The series originally ran for 4 seasons on British TV ... seasons one and two comprise "Part 1" (5 disks) of Acorn Media's DVD collection, and star Michael Praed as Robin of Loxley. Seasons three and four comprise "Part 2" (5 disks) of Acorn's DVD collection, and starred Jason Connery as Robert of Huntington. After wrapping at the end of season 4, the series went into syndication, and was re-aired here in the States in the late 1980's on Showtime ... I was one of the fortunate few who not only knew about the series back then, but also owned a VCR, so I was able to tape it - although the image quality of the masters used by Showtime was depressingly mediocre.
The series went on to develop a small but very loyal cult following. The soulful Celtic-themed music by Clannad (back when they were relatively unknown), the presence of old magic and myths comes to life (Herne the Hunter, Crom Cruac, witchcraft, etc.), and excellent performances by Ray Winstone (Will Scarlet -arguably the best actor on the series), Nickolas Grace (Sheriff of Nottingham), and Michael Praed (Robin of Loxley) all combined to make for a very enjoyable and nostalgic series. It just worked.
Now, here we are 20 years later, and at long last, this little known cult series has been re-released on high-quality DVDs (hooray !), so that it can be seen and enjoyed anew - not just by it's original fans, but by a new generation of viewers as well.
Well, quality is very good indeed, keeping in mind the original series was aired in the mid eighties. The edition is clean, and it's made a pleasure to watch all these episodes again. English subtitles are pretty lame in some cases, and since my wife is not fully bilingual I've had to play the role of translator. Image and sound quality are good, as I said, as well as the additional materials which include very interesting interviews and funny outtakes.
Television and movies have sure come a long way since the days of Robin of Sherwood, and special effects could probably seem pathetically primitive to someone expecting the full power of digital magic seen on today's shows and movies; back then, this was good enough to make me expect each weekly episode.
I've probably watched every possible movie and TV show about Robin Hood, as well as read almost every book or fragment about this legend, and I must say there's none that can compare to this!