It is not an easy task to breathe new life into a tale as old as that of Robin Hood. Having made his first appearance in the late thirteenth century, the last seven hundred plus years have given us a pretty good idea of what to expect when we hear the name. In fact, I would be willing to bet that the moment you read the name “Robin Hood” you automatically conjured up a vision of a man with a pointy beard, a green uniform, a silly looking hat, and a ubiquitous bow and arrow. Perhaps you saw Errol Flynn or a cartoon fox in your mind. Even worse, you might have envisioned Kevin Costner with a terrible accent. However, the BBC has done its very best to enliven the rather staid ideal of Robin Hood with this series, recently seen on this side of the Atlantic on BBC America and releasing on DVD June 5.
If one were to judge a book (or in this case, a DVD set) by its cover, you could easily infer that this version of Robin Hood is the sort of overly important looking historical drama found on PBS. However, this show is pure fun and a bit campy at times. There is no silly looking hat on this Robin and there are certainly no green tights to be found. Instead, Jonas Armstrong’s Robin appears to be a medieval emo trendsetter who sports artfully shaggy hair and a hoodie. Fans of British television shows will recognize a majority of the cast including comedian Keith Allen (father of musical sensation Lily Allen) vamping it up and chewing the scenery as the Sheriff of Nottingham and Richard Armitage as a wonderfully slimy and loathsome Guy of Gisborne.
The Robin Hood – Season One box set consists of four discs which include all thirteen forty-five minute long episodes from the first season. Additionally, the set includes a fifth disc of bonus features. These features include: audio commentary from cast members on several episodes, a mini-documentary taking you behind the scenes of the series, and a pair of short features about the design of the set and the design of the costumes.
Fans of the story of Robin Hood are certain to like this DVD set. Having watched the series during its initial U.S. run on BBC America, I found the episodes to move along at a quick pace and thought that they were a pure joy to watch. It’s cheeky fun and an action-packed update on the classic tale that will likely hook you in and have you anxious for the second series, which is currently in production.