Robin of Sherwood: Set 1

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The feudal system is not kind to common men and women, not only is their land owned by the lords of the area, but they are treated as slaves or worse. Robin of Loxley (Michael Praed) knows that pain all too well, as he was thrown out of his village of a child, thanks to the vicious actions of a lord. Now Robin dwells in the haunted forest of Sherwood, where he and a small band of friends draw up plans to battle the local tyrants. He and his band became a team when they all broke out of prison together, forging a bond in common hatred of the ruling system. Now the Sheriff of Notthingham (Nickolas Grace) and his minions want to bring the group to justice, but that is no simple task. As the Sheriff and his brother Prince John devise new schemes to rob the common folk, Robin and his men will be there to thwart their efforts. But can Robin and his band outwit the authorities forever, or will they all end up back behind bars again?

The legend of Robin Hood has been told numerous times in film and television adaptations, but few are as realistic and enjoyable as Robin of Sherwood. This series was shot in the forests of England with immense attention to detail, so this is not the over the top Robin Hood we’re used to. This more historically accurate version doesn’t eschew the spectacle however, there is still action and adventure in ample doses. Robin of Sherwood is just more restrained, keeping to a more accurate take and putting in reasonable levels of myth and mirth. The show had a low budget, but the locations and costumes look good, the one downside is that the cast is limited in number. I found a lot to like with this version of Robin Hood and while it has drawbacks, I enjoyed all thirteen episodes in this collection. I think anyone who has an interest in the legend of Robin Hood will appreciate this series, so Robin of Sherwood is more than worth a look.

Video: How does it look?

The episodes are presented in full frame, as intended. The nature of the material precludes a pristine transfer, but I do think this image looks better than expected. The image shows some grain and softness, but still looks quite good. I’ve read that the show looked this way when broadcast, so I don’t think we can complain too much. The softness impacts the color and contrast of course, so hues aren’t as bold and black levels aren’t as stark. I wouldn’t call the visual flaws extreme, even in the case of the grain, but you’ll notice them, no doubt. In the end, the show looks good and while some problems do surface, I think we can be understanding, given the show’s low budget roots.

Audio: How does it sound?

I don’t have a lot to say in this department, the audio is thin, but acceptable. Robin of Sherwood was produced with a low budget, so of course the audio design wasn’t dynamic. The show is over two decades old and for a low budget show of this vintage, I think the soundtrack is acceptable. The original music is intact and sounds good, while the various sound effects are loud and clear also. No problems with dialogue to report, as vocals are clear throughout.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Acorn Media has given fans a real treat, as this five disc collection has a nice assortment of supplements. You can watch not one, but two retrospective featurettes, each well worth a look. These are candid looks back at the show, with great interviews and a good deal of insight that fans should appreciate. A select number of episodes offer audio comments from creator Richard Carpenter, who is joined at different times by director Ian Sharp and producer Paul Knight. Again extras that fans will not want to miss, as each session has a lot of memories and production details, well done. You can also check out the U.S., French, and textless credit sequences, or watch the Electric Theatre Show piece, which features some bonus footage. This release also includes a blooper reel, as well as filmographies of prominent cast members.

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