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Robin of Sherwood: Jason Connery - [Network] - [ITV] - [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
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A benchmark of quality television drama in the 1980s and arguably the definitive interpretation of the Robin Hood legend, this BAFTA-winning series is presented here for the first time in High Definition.
Jason Connery stars as Robin Hood in Richard Carpenter's influential and highly acclaimed re-working of the classic myth. Combining equal parts high drama, historical accuracy and atmospheric mysticism, Carpenter's reboot pitched a band of not-so-Merry Men against a decidedly brutal and waspish Sheriff of Nottingham. With a haunting theme from Clannad, strong scripts and outstanding performances from Ray Winstone, Clive Mantle, Judi Trott and Nickolas Grace, to name a few, Robin of Sherwood was, and remains, a worldwide hit.
With new HD transfers taken from the original film elements, the third and final series is presented here at a quality level never previously seen.
Stills gallery (disc one) over 400 images presented in HD for the first time
Dolby Surround track (mixed by the production's original sound engineers)
Music-only tracks on selected episodes
Commentaries featuring Jason Connery, Mark Ryan, Clive Mantle, Nickolas Grace, Anthony Horowitz, Sid Roberson and Esta Charkham on Herne's Son parts one and two, The Inheritance, The Sheriff of Nottingham, Cromm Cruac, Adam Bell and The Time of the Wolf parts one and two
Nothing's Forgotten: The Making of Robin of Sherwood (remastered) a documentary covering the production of the Jason Connery years
Robin Hood 1-2-3 Screen Swordplay Presentation
It's Showtime promotional short
Series three outtakes
US opening titles
Esta Charkham's Photographic Retrospective
Promotional Stills Gallery
The Hooded Man: Clannad and Robin of Sherwood
TV-am location report
PDF copies of six series three scripts
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In addition, the subtitles here are not just a reduction of what's said on screen - they're a rewrite! Often actually longer than the words spoken, the subtitles are disrespectful of the lines written by Kip Carpenter.
There is a steller cast, all fabulous actors, including a young Ray Winstone. My favourite actor s Nikolas Grace, who plays the evil sheriff to over the top perfection.
The stories reflect realistic medieval like, but intertwinned with pagan folklore and mythology.
All episodes are well scripted, with atmospheric lighting.
The hauntingly beautiful music by Clannad is also spot on. Still as good now as when it was first shown 30 years ago.
At the end of series 2, Robin of Loxley is dead, but the "merry men" are saved by a mysterious hooded man, revealed in this series to be Robert of Huntingdon, sent by Herne the Hunter to take the mantle of Robin Hood and become the outlaws new leader; it also introduces our new leading man Jason Connery (son of Sean). Both in terms of the script and the actual production, we have a period of remembering what we've lost, whilst seeing what the new guy can do and beginning to accept that the difference will be the making of the outlaws adventures, not its undoing.
Given a fresh viewing, as a fan of the broad legend, I loved the fact that the writing is sophosticated and reflects viewers feelings through the characters on screen. We've been through a loss, and of course, when coming back to this situation, the feelings are still raw. Carpenters genius is that he doesn't try to forget any of what has gone before, but he allows us a good 3 episoded to wallow in that grief, to feel the mourning process of the characters we love and ultimately, heal with them as we take a new Robin to our hearts, and then we're off!
To reflect on the casting of Connery for just a moment - he is very different to his predecessor, and it's a good thing, because too much of the same would have led to an imitation of Praed, rather that setting up something that couldn't be taken for anything other than as performance on its own terms. Also, for U.S. audiences who got the show through the Showtime channel, the name would be a benifit in a time when the re-casting of roles was still a relatively new thing - this was the mid 80's remember.
Given the length of this series - 13 episodes, Carpenter shares writing duties with new scribe Anthony Horowitz (I wonder what became of him!) and we have a set of episodes that give us more of what we have come to expect and cherish with some new twists that take us into pure fantasy, I'm thinking of Crom Cruac and Time of the Wolf. With hindsight I wonder if keeping the sorcerer Gulnar was such a great idea? Brilliant though Richard O'Brien is, and he really is fabulous to watch, the character does belong in a pure fantasy setting, but this is a minor grumble and purely a personal view.
Overall we still have great production standards, a cast back who are different (changed by the new dynamic and the loss of their friend) but the same, as they fight along side a new leader. The only thing I would say is that Connerys performance wobbles a bit for me...I accept that he is fresh from acting school and has a daunting task stepping into lead man status in a highly succesful show, and for the most part, he does a good job, but some of the moments with Marion just wobble a bit and for me; I find I see the actor, not the character...
Technically, the Blu-ray process has just lifted the fog on the visuals and the soundtrack, meaning we get lovely visuals and the chance to really hear the dialogue delivered wonderfully by the regulars and the extremely strong guest cast, not to mention the superb music soundtrack by Clannad.
All in all, if you loved the show, and it's right up there in terms of being one of the best re-tellings of the legend, this is a very welcome addition to the Praed series - the only shame is the unresolved ending of the series (brought about by circumstances beyond the producers control) but in a funny sort of way, it lends itself to the legend and keeps us hungry for more!
The picture quality on DVD is noticably better than on Freeview. The only criticism is that all three series do not have subtitles for the hard of hearing - something my elderly mother always needs.
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I was fortunate enough to have seen this show during its original run on television and I have bought the videos, the DVD's and I...Read more
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