on 16 February 2005
As great as the first series was, I consider series two to be the true highlight of the entire Robin of Sherwood saga. All the faces are back from the first series, even Guy of Gisburne who had a rather an unpleasant finish in the last episode of series one. Although the director of the previous series, Ian Sharp, didn't figure, the magical, mystical nature of the first instalment is still present here in abundance. What makes this series stand out is the truly fantastic level of storytelling, as the plot to each episode is top notch. 'The Prophecy' has the evil Prince John arriving in Nottingham with a mysterious prisoner who Robin must rescue. 'The Children of Israel' surrounds a family of jews who are persecuted by the sheriff, and Robin decides to help them. Then we have 'Lord of the Trees', which sees Gisburne hire a vicious band of mercenary soldiers to try to hunt Robin down. Then we have 'The Enchantment', which sees the return of the Baron de Belleme from the first two episodes of series one. The Baron commands his servant to try and bewitch Robin. Then we come to the true masterpiece of the entire series, the two-part episode 'The Swords of Wayland', which surrounds an evil coven of devil
worshippers who try and bring Lucifer into the world. I remember this episode scared the hell out of me when I was little, and even now it maintains a high level of horror, as well as adventure and excitement. Finally, we have 'The Greatest Enemy', the ending of which you will not believe... But on the whole you've got seven episodes of superb quality, intense excitement, and blazing action. Highly entertaining. Watch out for superb guest appearances from Philip Davis as Prince John and John Nettles (yes! Bergerac himself) as Peter De Leon.
on 6 July 2002
I loved Robin of Sherwood when it was on the television way back in the mid-eighties. I thought my appreciation may have dimmed with the years but although the film quality shows it's age, all the series are still a total joy to behold.
It must be said that some of the acting is decidedly pantomimic (the Sheriff, Marion, even the fabled Robin himself on occasion) but some of it is very fine indeed. The relationship between the Merry Men is fantastic - they bicker, they playfight but you know they would fight to the death to protect each other. Isn't this camaraderie the very thing that holds the legend of Robin Hood together?
This series was the first to add any mystical interpretation to the legend and it works. There is little overt magic and sorcery but it is ever-present and only enhances the look and feel of the series.
The final episode featuring Michael Praed as Robin is one of the most moving pieces of television I have ever seen. His exit was handled extremely sensitively - the young hero cut down in his prime by the cruel and vicious Sheriff.
The DVD extras include a 'Making of' documentary which is well worth a look. All the actors are there (it'll shock you how some of them have aged!) except Jason Connery but maybe they are saving him for a documentary when Series Three comes to DVD. They all talk fondly of the time they spent together in the greenwood and the fact that they still meet up makes you feel they still are the Merry Men! May Herne protect them!
But, as our hero says, 'Nothing is forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten.' Television to savour over and over again, this is the best dramatisation of the Robin Hood legend ever to be filmed. Not only that, but nearly 20 years on, it's unlikely to be bettered.
on 11 August 2003
Mike Praed was, in all honesty, deeply fab in this role, even if his activities post-Robin have been patchy at times. The rest of the merries (Clive Mantle, Ray Winstone, Jusi Trott et al) are brilliantly cast and turn out a fab performance. The 2 part story with all the davil worshipping stuff is great and the last episode (where Robin old Loxley gets it in the back, front, side...well, everywhere really) is one of the best hours of tv ever. The price of the box set is worth this episode alone!
Also, there is more of a mystic pagan element to this series than you could shake a stick at. If this presses buttons for you, then this is a good reason to get your groats out!
Music...brill (by Clannad), visuals and acting fab, locations (Ester Charkahm, take a bow)...everything brill. One of tv's successes.
on 27 May 2002
Part 2 of Richard Carpenter's definitive treatment of Robin Hood. Nothing since has rivalled this version of the Robin Hood legend - it effectively takes authenticity (unlike Kevin Costner's Robin, this one does not wear Hair Mousse) in terms of the environment and the motivations of the characters, and mixes it with adventure and romance in a way that seems realistic. The spiritual aspects of the Robin Hood legend are also ever-present (particularly in the form of the two-parter 'Swords Of Weyland' and in the form of 'Herne The Hunter') and yet they never distract the viewer or demand more suspension of belief than is appropriate. This box set is worth buying for the last story alone : If you've seen it you won't need me to tell you. Buy it.
on 19 July 2002
Second outing for this hit HTV series that saw further development of the key characters.
Michael Praed's Robin emerges as a noble, yet utterly human hero, capable of swashbuckling deeds yet ultimately vulnerable to human vices such as loss of temper and faith, as depicted in the 'Children Of Israel' episode. He finally succumbs to man's greatest enemy in the finale, but exits with a bang rather than a whimper, probably doing lots for his ongoing fan following.
Judi Trott's Marion is now fully acknowledged as one of the boys (or should that be men?), but shows a tender side when she meets her father, once presumed dead in the Crusades. This aspect also comes through when Robin is savagely done in by the Sheriff in the season's finale, which is an all time great in television, being emotional, but not overly so, yet paving the way for a smooth transition into the third series, where a new Robin takes over.
The merry men are also seen to bicker amongst themselves, but are always rallying round to a common cause when the occasion warrants. It may sound cliched, but the continuing good chemistry among the players never leads to this feeling when the episodes are watched.
The Sheriff and Sir Guy emerge as villians, but we also get to see another side to them - Sir Guy actually feeling love for a Jewess ('Children Of Israel') and the Sheriff getting the shivers when the once dead Simon De Belleme is brought back to life ('The Prophecy').
Some will feel that this season went too much towards the black magic/pagan side of things, but this was the way of life back then, so the treatment emerges to reinforce the living conditions of the period. Robin & Co are as scruffy as ever, the villages gritty and even the castles come across as bleak, dank and damp places.
If there is any fault that may be laid at this season, it could be related to there being many different directors, unlike the first, where Ian Sharp held everything together to give the series a more consistent feel and outlook.
Still, all seven episodes emerge as highly watchable, even though I believe that by compressing them into two DVDs, the sequence is jumbled up - I seem to recall the season starting off with the two part 'Swords Of Weyland' episode rather than
this preceeding the finale, 'The Greatest Enemy'.
The bonus materials in this compilation are still good, even if there seemed to be more in the season one set. The rounding off of 'The Making Of' and the outtakes alone are compelling reasons to own this box set.
Robin of Sherwood
This has got to be by far the best television interpretation of the Robin Hood story since the origin Richard Greene series of the 1950's and 1960s which are classics and stand on their own without comparison.
I am and have been since a boy an avid collector of anything 'Robin Hood' and so I purchased the VHS complete set when they were released and they were one of the first that I upgraded to DVD. I have watched these episodes several times but this was the first time I have revisited them from beginning to end for several years over several consecutive nights.
There were three seasons, composed of 26 one-hour long episodes transmitted from 1984 until 1986. The show was shot almost entirely on location, mostly in the northeast and southwest of England in and around Bristol and its surrounding counties. Primary locations were the Blaise Castle Estate in North Bristol and Vassals Park to the south.
Robin of Sherwood is one of the best treatments of the core Robin Hood legend since The Adventures of Robin Hood, featuring a realistic period setting and costumes and introducing the character of a Saracen outlaw and was given a slightly mythical feel by the occasional mystical episode and the appearance of a Herne the hunter character who may or may not be real but gives Robin guidance and encouragement.
Michael Praed played Robin of Loxley in the first two seasons but the character was killed off at the end of season two and replaced with another 'Man in the Hood' played by Jason Connery. The outlaw band featured Ray Winstone, Clive Mantle, Mark Ryan and Phil Rose,with Judy Trott as Maid Marion. The Sheriff of Nottingham was excellently presented by Nickolas Grace and Guy of Gisburne by Robert Addie.
The third season end with a cliff hanger episode which was sadly never to be resolved as Goldcrest the shows financial backers ran out of capital and the fourth season was cancelled; HTV could not afford to finance it alone, and so Robin of Sherwood came to an unexpected and abrupt end.
Never-the-less this is probably the best 'Robin Hood' (with the exception of the movie Robin and Marion) made since the early 1980s and has stood the test of time both in the quality of production and the filming.
on 2 November 2003
After being slightly disappointed -- if satisfied from a purely nostalgic point of view -- by the first series, I was delighted that the second series lived up to my memory and exceeded my expectation.
The team came together. The writing was tighter than in series 1, the stories generally more complex, and the plot holes easier to forgive. A darker, more mystical tone that series 1 only touched on pervades several episodes, and the last three -- the two episodes of the Swords of Weyland, and the season finale -- are all but perfect. The last episode in particular, which I remember being completely emotionally wrenching 20 years ago, did not disappoint in any way.
The extras are a worthwhile addition, in particular the "making of" documentary and a small number of hilarious out-takes. The scene where Nicholas Grace turns his collar over to reveal a tin star is priceless :-) and it shows how well the team gelled together.
In short, if you were slightly disappointed by the season one DVDs because it wasn't quite as good as you remembered, this may well restore your faith in your memory -- and in the critical faculties of your younger self.
on 14 August 2002
Robin of Sherwood has to be the best adaptation of the Robin Hood tales, and you can clearly see how it has influenced sunsequent productions. The cinematography is always carefully set to create the right mood, a lot of use of filters, and the soundtrack is suberb, Clannad at their best. The characters are brilliantly cast and surprising the whole series has aged rather well and does not have anything that makes it obviously eighties.
This series is definately the best, who can beat Michael Praed as Robin! The two episodes that stand out above the rest are, of course, The Swords of Wayland. Definately worth buying if you were ever a fan of Robin hood. It has several special features that compliment the DVD well and the outakes are really quite funny. Watch and be transported back to a time when the badies were really bad and good triumphs over evil in the end.
on 8 December 2012
You can't get much better than the two Michael Praed series of this classic show, each episode is well written, well thought out and the storylines keep you interested from start to finish. I would agree with one of the previous reviewers that this series is probably the cream of the crop, my favourite is the Swords of Wayland where Robin and the outlaws travel to Uffcome and come up against the most holy lady of Ravenscar, Morgwyn played by the wonderful Rula Lenska. In this episode the devil worshipping order led by Lenska are trying to bring Lucifer himself back to existence using the power contained within the seven swords of Wayland of which of course Albion, Robins sword is one. The final episode the Greatest Enemy is also a real classic and ends with a stand of with the Sheriff and most of his soldiers against Robin, Marion and Much.. I wont spoil the ending, just buy it and be entertained - Fabulous!
on 11 February 2003
I was only 9 or 10 when Robin of Sherwood first came out and always remembered it as an excellent series but upon buying this DVD I didn't realise it was so good! It is so refreshing to watch a series which basically just gets down to telling a good story: before the age of computer special effects and overbearing political correctness. Richard Carpenter captures the authenticity of the brutal early medieval age superbly well. It is worth buying simply because of the excellent performances of Nickolas Grace (Sheriff of Nottingham), and his despotic steward Guy of Gisburne played by Robert Addie, alone!