Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Robin of Sherwood

Another entry that is not necessarily about writing, but it is about a story.

As a teenager, I watched this early 1980s British television program on PBS, late at night, after my parents had gone to bed, shaking their heads over my taste in viewing material.

Ah, well. I always did like the myths and legends, and Robin Hood was one of my favorites.

There were four two-hour episodes released on VHS here in the States, and I used to own them all, but they wore out. I'm glad the series is available on DVD (finally!), and though it may seem a little cheesy or simple to a modern audience, I have never tired of it.

The show could have descended into camp, and it came close on a couple occasions, but it stopped short of teetering over that line.

Being produced in the 80s, though, it fell prey to the "New Age" philosophy that was strong during that decade, so there are a few lines about balancing the forces of light and dark, and at least one reference to the belief that we can all become gods. Herne the Hunter is a recurring character. There are also episodes dealing with magic or sorcery, and though some characters worship pagan gods or Satan himself, darkness never prevails for long. As with all movies or television shows, viewer beware.

On the positive side, the storyline is interesting, the acting is good, several of the actors continued in excellent careers, the locations were fantastic, and the legend was pulled out of the mist and set in flesh on solid ground. And I was never bored.

At this time, I only own Season One, but look forward to owning the all-too-abruptly ended Season Two. As with many of the shows I like, this one was cancelled too soon for the fans, but at least it did get a chance to put some sort of closure to the story.

** Postscript (added January 11, 2008) **

I recently watched the special features, which are included on a separate DVD, and several times the creators of the show mentioned wanting to make this Robin new and fresh, and that's one of the reasons why the sword-and-sorcery element was added. (I was reminded of the Conan movies and other fantasy-related flicks--Dragonslayer, for instance--that were produced in the 80s.) They also wanted to include the pre-Christian religious element that would still be very much in practice at that time in parts of England, though actual rites were conjured from the creators' imaginations.

Hmm. Seems to me, they protest too much. They were definitely interested in New Age and occult matters, beyond using the elements in a purely historical sense.


Charlotte Rose said...

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Anonymous said...

I remember you treating me to Robin Of Sherwood Episodes--and you're right--that one about the cult and the possessed guys was too creepy and New Age. Still, like you say, a good adventure ride!