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) knew 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 that Robin has fallen, the hope he and his men brought seems to be faded, but there is someone to assume the mantle. A young man named Robert of Huntingdon (Jason Connery) has tried to rebuild the group, bringing back Friar Tuck, Little John, and the rest of Robin’s band of merry men. He is also guided by a forest spirit named Herne, so he feels like his path has to be the just one. His goals remain the same as Robin’s, to battle the Sheriff of Nottingham and his brother Prince John, to end their cruel plans. But can Robert live up to the legend of Robin Hood before him, or will his attempt to recreate history end the same as it did for Robin himself?
I loved the first set of Robin of Sherwood, so of course, I looked forward to this second set. But in this second set, we have a huge change involved, as Michael Praed left the series. So instead of the Robin Hood we loved in the first set, we now have Jason Connery as Robert of Huntingdon. I was a little let down, since I didn’t know that in advance, but I hoped that the storytelling would remain the same and the show wouldn’t suffer too much. I don’t think Connery is bad at all, his two seasons as lead are still quite good, but the change in tone is significant. Praed played the role with a darker edge, so Connery’s lighter take is a stark contrast, but as I said, he is still viable in the role. These final two seasons follow the same line as the first two, a realistic (though tinged with mystic elements) approach to the legend. I enjoyed all four seasons and while I prefer the first two, these last two seasons still provide ample entertainment.
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?
The first Robin of Sherwood set was stacked with extras and for this second set, that is still the case. A total of nine episodes offer audio comments from various crew members, all of which prove to be worthwhile. The memories are sharp and reveal solid insight into the show’s production, including the changes made for these final two seasons. You can also 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. This release also includes the U.S. credit sequence, some outtakes, a look at the show’s musical score, behind the scenes footage, and filmographies of prominent cast members.