Random rant about various Robin Hood adaptations

This is my slightly longer than anticipated comment on ‘Rise and Rise Again’ – 100 YEARS OF ROBIN HOOD: Part Two. Today the Google Alert summary on Richard Armitage actually yielded 100% articles about the actor, as opposed to the former US secretary of state … and a US murder victim. I’m surprised – and delighted. As the comment turned out to be surprisingly long, well, I can post it here too. Because I can. *cough*

Leaving 2006 aside for a mo, I LOVE the Disney film. I know it almost by heart in Swedish (which, imho, has better voice acting than the original – shock horror). Prince of Thieves is fun in a “yeah Kevin Costner is soooo from Nottingham … not” and the best part is Alan Rickman’s sheriff.

Men in Tights is brilliant (“I am a Robin Hood who DOES have an English accent!”), and features Matthew Porretta as Will Scarlett – the actor who went on to play Robin in that godawful New Adventures series. He left after 20-odd episodes, I believe, which meant that ALL the impetus to watching that show disappeared. The acting for the most part was sub-standard, the scenography and costumes ridiculous, the script atrocious. The ONLY thing that made it watchable was Robin being super-gorgeous, and when he was replaced, well, bye-bye.

Beyond Sherwood Forest was a joke! A painfully bad joke. The Ridley Scott movie I haven’t seen, but hoping to do so now that it’s coming out on DVD.

Robin and his Hoodies

And so, 2006. Thought series one was pretty bad, so didn’t follow series two, just caught the odd episode here or there. Followed series three from the start, because Toby Stephens was set to be in it as Prince John (to my delight, his character much resembled the Disney counterpart!) – and fell in love with Gisborne from episode one! Previously, I had already noted the baddies were a lot more interesting than the goodies, but this just confirmed it.

The Robin character was too obnoxious to really enjoy (and I really WANTED to like him – but the way he treated Much just made him look like a schoolground bully) and on a subsequent re-watch of the whole thing, the only character that there seems to be some sort of depth to is Gisborne. Credit to the actor for making the character come alive, rather than just work with what was on the sheet, which (judging by the rest of the show) wasn’t a lot. That being said, I’ve no qualms whatsoever with Jonas Armstrong, I think he did a really good job. I just didn’t like the character he was playing. And when you, as an audience, is made to root for the bad guy simply because the hero is an arrogant, arrow-toting numbscull (and, which s3 confirmed, had been since he was a child), it just doesn’t work.

Robin lost the love of his life, end of s2, but in s3, he was busy hitting on Kate and the only one that seemed to grieve for Marian, and even REMEMBER her past episode one, was Gisborne. Who killed her! HOW does that work?! It doesn’t and I’m actually glad the show got cancelled. A Robin Hood without Robin Hood (and the Sheriff – Keith Allen was magnificent, bless) just isn’t Robin Hood. S3 was actually a lot stronger than the previous two, so while killing off Marian didn’t make ANY sense from a legend point of view, it made a lot of sense from a dramatic one, as it made the show a lot more interesting. “They killed off Marian – what else are they going to do?” So I have to admit I’ve got a love/hate thing going on with this show. Hate it because it could’ve been a lot better and they could’ve made Robin likable, like he normally is, in any other version ever. Love it because Sheriff Vasey was hilarious and Gisborne was really intriguing as a character.

Gisborne and Vasey
“Gisborne, did she just manage to write a rather long post and not once bring up how much she fancies the breeches off you?”
“First time for everything, sir, even for her.”
“No mention of Nottingham either. We shall have to have A Word.”

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