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C. Thomas Howell,
Chris William Martin
Robin of Loxley is chosen by the mystical Herne the Hunter to become his 'son' and champion the oppressed. Gathering a band of comrades around him he fights a guerilla campaign against their Norman dictators, particularly the Sheriff of Nottingham and his deputy, Guy de Gisburne. Later he is succeeded by Robert of Huntingdon, renegade nobleman. This retelling of the legend introduces a strong fantasy element, with black magic and the old religion. Written by
Gareth Preston <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Unfortunately, only four episodes of this series are commercially available, and it is not often re-run on television. Although the few available episodes can often be found in the children's or family sections of video stores, they deserves much more respect than this; this show is one of those rare incidences of really good television.
The show mixes magic and paganism into the familiar Sherwood tale, and music by Clannad adds to the mystical atmosphere. But the characters are anything but the swashbuckling cardboard heroes that the Robin Hood stereotype embodies, and we have come to expect.
Michael Praed (in my mind, the perfect Robin Hood), plays a fallible, conflicted Robin, who is nonetheless idealistic and strong. All of the Merry Men are fleshed out as full characters, with their own motivations and ideas, and Marion (Judi Trott) is represented particularly well. She avoids many female stereotypes: she is beautiful but not plastic, a fighter but still definitely feminine. The Sheriff of Nottingham (Nicholas Grace) and Guy of Gisburne (Robert Addie) are present as the classic villains, but they both go far beyond the usual limited parameters of these roles.
The characters are all comfortable and unselfconscious, as though they don't realize that they are legends. To me, this is their most appealing trait of all.
The creators of the show also deserve kudos for their brave move in replacing Michael Praed when he opted out after two seasons: instead of recasting another actor in the same role, a different Robin Hood was introduced -- a man of noble background (played by Jason Connery-- yes, the son of *that* Connery)as opposed to the peasant upbringing of Michael's Robin. The show thereby manages to address both accounts of Robin Hood's origin. (Many people prefer Jason's Robin. I personally still gravitate toward Michael. It is an ongoing debate among fans.)
Even after all this time, the show still has a devoted cult following, who gather for yearly conventions with the stars. Their devotion is understandable; "Robin of Sherwood" is the best representation of the Robin Hood legend that has ever been created for the screen.
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