Because I usually love adaptions of Robin Hood, I tried the newest one with Jonas Armstrong (who?) and Richard Armitage and detested it. I’ve only seen season 1, but I will not be continuing. I know that sometimes television shows usually need a little traction and are usually a lot better after the first season, but I usually only give shows 3-4 episodes to impress me so this good bye is long overdue.
First of all, Armstrong as Robin is so immature and I don’t really empathize with him at all. I’m an Errol Flynn type of gal, so if The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938 was turned into a TV season, you bet your bottom dollar that I would be glued to the screen every week. It seems like the only one who can act is Richard Armitage. The Sheriff of Nottingham is a cooky, menacing fool who likes to paint his toenails black, which is an interesting change from the bumbling fool he’s sometimes portrayed as.
Also, I could not stand Lucy Griffiths as Marian. To me, even though Sir Guy of Gisbourne was a manipulative weirdo, she should have picked him instead of Robin because it became extremely apparent that Armstrong has no acting chops what-so-ever. Marian manipulates Guy, but she doesn’t have to be so blatant about it. Her portrayal is so self-righteous and holier than thou, you’d think she was auditioning to be the next Mother Superior at a convent down the road.
Griffiths should have studied Olivia de Haviland’s Maid Marian because she should be played as a kind soul, not as one who tries to prove she’s better than Robin Hood. She is brave and holds her own, but should never be so rude that the audience can’t stand her.
I’m actually surprised Gisbourne doesn’t realize she doesn’t love him just because her performance was so lackluster. I don’t feel sorry for her at all for not wanting to be in a loveless marriage. Her spirit and spunk seems forced, not natural or acted well at all.
Other bones to pick include Robin’s ex manservant Much (who is basically the poor man’s version of Alan Tudyk’s Wat in A Knight’s Tale), Will (who was a part of the creepy alien family in the Doctor Who episode The Family of Blood/Human Nature) and Djaq, a Seracen woman who joined the men.
Now don’t get me wrong concerning Djaq: I think it’s fantastic that the show tried to tackle a bridge between the war with the Saracens and England AND that they decided to do so by including a woman who was pretending to be a man. But, Djaq’s willingness to just up and leave her fellow captives seemed strange to me. Especially because she went from being extremely distrusting to willing to spend the rest of her life with these men in the span of an episode.
The score is awful–too blaring, over the top and in your face. There are no nuances so it gets annoying after a while. I don’t really care about the ban of merry men, invading Nottingham is getting old, and the modern take on the clothes is really getting under my skin because it’s way too modern at time. The costume designer apparently did not do research and try to find a happy medium.
I will say that the Sheriff does have some truly menacing scenes and he’s very interesting at times. At first I was annoyed with the acting, but I like the way he’s a plain, sarcastic fool who just doesn’t care and he has hilarious interactions with Guy (Women are lepers, Gisbourne, Lepers.)
I also appreciate that the show focuses on the war and the effects of the war. In some adaptions, only the after effect of the war is shown in England and the consequences of King Richard’s absence are shown. What isn’t usually shown is PTSD, relationships with Seracens and Muslims, and an unfair political system directly based on the war. Robin also seemed very tolerant of other religions, even quoting the Koran.
Overall, I’m glad that I didn’t continue because I also just heard that many major cast members are leaving and that the show seemed to go downhill. It seemed like it was a low budget production in the first place and that it never really seemed to get an identity of its own. Do not click this unless you want to see major spoilers.
Hopefully, the next adaption of Robin Hood that someone decides to make will be something that I can appreciate. Maybe I should watch Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood…