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Monday, November 04, 2013

Robin Hood Week: A Review of BBC's Robin Hood

BBCs Robin Hood

I put off writing this review for several weeks (even months), because I knew I couldn't do justice to it.  I finished watching BBC's amazing adaption of the story of Robin Hood on my birthday in September (worst decision I ever made.  Petie warned me against doing it because she knew what it would do to my emotions - and on my birthday, no less - but I blithely ignored her).  The whole show is really too amazing to put into words, but as a few people have asked for this review, I decided to give it a try.  If you haven't watched the whole show yet, proceed with caution, because I'm warning you right now - here be spoilers.  Just go watch it.

Since I like to do reviews in a very Systematic & Orderly Manner, I'll be sort of doing mini-reviews on each season, with opinions on the characters, plotlines, and random stuff thrown in 'cause I like it. on to the actual review...

But when a young lady is to be a heroine: Series Review; Robin Hood (BBC TV) Series 1
Season 1
Season 1 was, obviously, the start of the whole thing.  The first episode had me hooked.  I sort of knew how the show started off, but I still loved it.  Surprisingly, the series was rather emotional (at least for me), right off from the first episode.  The first few episodes actually felt sort of weird for me because the gang wasn't established then, and everything was 'off'.  But then, by about the fourth episode, everything got evened out with Robin as the established leader of the gang and most of the principle characters taking their places as well (places they would keep for at least the rest of the season).

(From left to right) Much, Robin Hood, and Will Scarlet from the BBC Robin Hood.
From left to right: Much (just look at his expression), Robin, and Will
Most of the main characters were introduced right away - Robin (except for that completely ridiculous scene with that peasant girl, I loved him right from episode 1), Much (oh my goodness...he is so hilarious), Little John (him I liked...a lot), Will Scarlet (eeep!  Will is my favorite character from any version of Robin Hood, but he's even more epic in this adaption), Allan a Dale (I didn't really like him at first, but by the time the episode with his brother rolled around, I really liked him), and Djaq (well, she wasn't introduced right away, but I just thought I'd stick her in here anyway - I actually didn't really like her that much in season 1.  She was a lot better in Season 2).  Oh, and let's not forget the bad guys - the sheriff (I had a love/hate relationship with that guy.  Mostly hate, but he was realllly funny in every single episode) and Guy (I'll wait a couple of days to give my complete opinion of Guy, but I actually liked him quite a bit).

Favorite episodes?  Episode 1 is a big favorite because, hey, it started off the whole thing.  I also really liked episode 4 (the baby is so cute and Will is pretty much a perfect dad), episodes 7 (I really liked Allan in this one.  This was also a great episode for emotional AWD on Robin's part; first with Allan's brother being hanged and then Marian agreeing to marry Guy) and 8 (it's epic on so many levels which I don't have time to explain here) and episode 13 (because Robin and Marian finally resolve their differences and the whole episode is such a satisfying ending to season 1).

Season 2
Season 2.  Ze best season, in pretty much everyone's opinion (despite the finale - I known of at least one person who refused to watch season 3 after the emotional devastation that is season 2, episode 13), including mine.  The characters became more complex and likable/unlikable, depending on many things.  I actually didn't really hate Allan that much, despite the common consensus among the gang and fangirls alike that he's the lowest of the low, betraying Robin in that way.  But, it all gets worked out in the end, and I did understand his situation (although, as Marian says, everything is a choice and he took the easy way out).

As for the rest of the characters, Marian was at her best, in my opinion (although I found it extremely annoying how she continually put guilt trips on both Robin and Guy) and seeing her and Robin's relationship blossom was so cute and amazing and just *insert appropriate adjective here*  Although it probably isn't the best thing to say, I was actually a little bit glad when her dad died, because she could finally stop hesitating between him and Robin and join the gang...although only a few episodes later, she was back in the castle :P  Which led to her being dragged off to the Holy Lands, and ended in her more than tragic demise.  But that's another story...

Djaq was completely different in season 2 and I really, really liked her.  She and Will were so cute together.  Especially after episode five.  I also really liked Little John - my favorite scene of his being when he was comforting Marian after her father's death.  That scene was so sweet.  There were a couple of new characters introduced, but my favorite was Carter.  Which is putting it lightly.  He should've joined the gang and taken the place of Will Stutely (who, unfortunately never made an appearance throughout the whole show).  Or, he could have come back in episode 11, with the message from the king (I did like LeGrand, though - it was really sad when he died).  But instead he went back to the Holy Land, saved Robin and the gang once from death, and then was stabbed by the sheriff.  But I digress...

My favorite episodes would be Get Carter! (duh), Lardner's Ring (I loved Guy in this one), Walkabout (this episode was amazing because everyone had to work together when Prince John's men were coming, and Allan and Will became friends again, and it was Guy's best episode, in my opinion), Treasure of a Nation (I loved the little scene at the end 'cause Guy and Allan and Marian are all so chummy and it's really sweet) and the two part finale.  Mostly episode 12, but I did like episode 13, despite its incredibly sad ending (another understatement).

Season 3
The first episode in Season 3 was terrible.  Robin's shouting at Little John and Much and Allan that he doesn't need them anymore, that Robin Hood died with Marian in the Holy Land, etc, etc.  And then he goes to kill Guy and Guy has this horrible long hair which makes him seem like a totally different person...and it was just really, really weird.  I almost gave up on Season 3 right there.  But I'm so glad I didn't.  Sure, with Will, Djaq and Marian gone, there was a huge void in the show/the gang, but it wasn't all that bad.  For one, Allan was finally back in the gang, and the introduction of Tuck (who I was waiting and waiting for through the first two seasons) and Kate, made everything a little better.

Brother Tuck from BBC Robin Hood. Not my favorite, but still...
See what I mean?
There were several new characters in Season 3 - they were all staggered throughout the show and only Robin appears consistently in all 13 episodes.  Interesting, huh?  Tuck was one of my favorite characters and he has some great quotes/moments.  I didn't mind Kate, although I really, really wish she hadn't been written as Robin's love interest.  She can't hold a candle to Marian (or Djaq, for that matter), so I don't think the screenwriter's should have tried.  Still, she added a great dynamic to the team and some of her and Allan's moments together were hilarious.  Another character that only appeared in a couple of episodes is Archer - Robin, Guy and Isabella's half brother (the relationships get rather complicated after a while).  I didn't like him as much as my sister did, but he was a great guy and if they had continued the show after season 3, he would've made an interesting leader for the gang.

Isabella was a witch (figuratively, that is).  At first I felt a little sorry for her because of how Guy/her husband treated her, but after only a short time, that all stopped (it didn't help that I knew she killed Robin in the last episode).  She was truly evil, and I don't blame Guy one bit for wanting his own sister dead (not to mention that the way he teamed up with Robin was pretty epic).  She was so bad, that I actually missed the old sheriff and my siblings actually cheered a little when he came back in the finale.  And Guy was different, but in a good way.  He finally broke away from the sheriff, and he totally changed after episode nine.  I really liked him after that.

My favorite episodes from season 3 are Sins of the Father (I really liked how Kate and Allan worked together in this episode and Rufus' son was one of my favorite minor characters, for some reason), Do You Love Me? (this episode was comedic gold, not only because of Prince John, but because Guy and the sheriff trying to kill each other is funny, in a sort of morbid way), Bad Blood (I loved this little glimpse into Guy's background...even though Robin was a total brat when he was younger) and the last episode (it was super how everyone had to work together to defend the castle, and this episode was one of the most complex in the whole show.  Plus Archer had an Awesome Hero Moment when he rode out to help Robin in the beginning).

Guy, Archer, and Robin. Brothers in arms. <3

The ending of the show was devastating.  I had this huge ache inside me for pretty much all of the last two episode, because I knew what was going to happen, but it just got worse and worse until the final couple of scenes.  I was crying so hard...I'm not sure I can explain it.  Let's just say I cried harder than I've ever cried for anything.  Even the Les Mis movie (which is saying a lot).  And then since my mom hadn't watched the finale with us the first time, we had to watch it again.  I didn't cry as much the second time, but was tough.  The whole show brought a new meaning to the phrase "Sad is happy for deep people".

But despite the heartache, I'm so glad I watched Robin Hood.  It increased my love for the legend a hundred times more, and gave me a whole horde of new characters to love and fangirl about.  It had gorgeous music that's perfect for writing to, amazing plot twists, and lots of great quotes that I now use on a regular basis.  It has everything.  I probably won't be watching the whole thing from start to finish any time soon because I don't have that much time on my hands (and I'm really the only one in my family who's obsessed with it, so I can't really get my siblings to watch it all with me), but I will watch my favorite episodes over again.  I won't be able to help myself...

We are Robin Hood! Will's pose made me laugh so hard....


Caroline L. said...

*sniff* I just watched season 3 last month... and reading your comments about the finale almost brought me to tears. Again. GAH! That was so tough.

I loved this show. Pretty much everything about it. So epic. I started watching it because of Richard Armitage, but ended up loving everybody (Guy was always my favorite though ;]).

I did take about a year's break between finishing season 2 and starting season 3--I was so traumatized. And I had heard that season 3 wasn't nearly as good, but I think it was almost as. I just really, really wish that Kate had been Allan's girlfriend instead of Robin's. Would have been much better. And they should have brought Much's Eve back! Because those two were adorable!

Miss Jane Bennet said...

Anyways. Looooved this review- I've only seen up to episode 7, as you know, but I love it. As you also know. ;) You summed Robin- and the adaptation- up perfectly. :)

Vellvin said...

I love this show!!! Season One is my favourite and I am a complete Allan defender when it comes to Season Two. :)
Yeah I got annoyed with Marian about that as well, and yeah it was great when her Father died so she could go with Robin!

I've only seen Season Three once all the way though, as I did not like how most of the good characters had disappeared and Robin was acting like a bit of a jerk. I loved it how Guy (finally) found the girl of his dreams, and then she died. :( And it was great to see Robin, Guy and Archer working together.
I did not like Kate or Isabella, in fact I didn't really like any of the new characters they had in Season Three except Prince John. :)

Great review! We are Robin Hood! :D

Jennifer said...

How to put this? I have such a love/hate feeling for this programme. I really enjoyed it, BUT I hate some of the things they did - killing off Marian, ending the show just as Guy and Robin seemed to be working things out (they could have been a great team), killing off Robin Hood (really, people?). Anyway, good review on such a difficult topic.

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