Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hell hath no fury...

Like Sir Guy scorned, or at least that's what I'm expecting in Season Two after watching the final episodes of Robin Hood.
Oh, baby, man's gonna be smoldering! I can't wait!

My other thoughts about the series:

I confess I was kinda concerned about Robin Hood. I'd never heard of Jonas Armstrong and thought he was too young. I liked what I read about the backstory they were giving Robin, though, and have to say, I was really pleasantly surprised by both the actor and the depth of character the writers have given Robin. He's a bit of a lad, but there's a really serious side, too. Well cast and well done!

All the "merry men" are excellent. I'm even buying the Saracen woman pretending to be a boy, and believe me, that is a tough sell for me. I've never written a romance where the heroine spends a long time pretending to be a boy. Yes, I know there have been women who passed as men -- in the Civil War, for instance -- but I still have a problem believing that any romance hero worth his salt would be fooled, or that any romance heroine with half a brain would believe she could pull it off for any length of time. A day, maybe. Possibly two. But more than that? You've lost me.

Gordon Kennedy, who plays Little John, gets special mention for his hilarious comments on the DVD. If I could spend a day on the set, besides hanging out with Richard Armitage just to hear his voice (because I wouldn't want to freak him out by staring at his intense eyes), I'd love to spend a few hours with Mr. Kennedy, former gym teacher. Oh, to have been in that class! The irony is, Little John is a very quiet fellow.

Speaking of Richard Armitage, it only took to the last episode, but we finally got a kiss. Bit of a disappointing kiss, as in too short, but I can understand why there wasn't a long, passionate kiss, what with aiming for a family audience, especially if it wasn't crystal clear that Marian was willing.

Marian's good (actress and character), and Marian's father (dead in the "real" Robin Hood stories) makes an interesting addition.

I was worried we'd get the cartwheels-instead-of-just-running action, and we did, but by the time that happened, I was sold on the show, so I just rolled my eyes and grinned. Same with some of the costumes.

But there are some things that are more difficult for me to overlook.

As already mentioned in previous posts, I really do not like the sheriff's character and what they're doing with him. According to the commentary, he's supposed to be ambitious and Machiavellian. Maybe, if Machiavelli wrote THE CLOWN PRINCE instead of THE PRINCE. Because really, the way the sheriff is presented, attired in sandals and very modern pajamas much of the time, practically frothing out the mouth, is just too over the top for me. I can appreciate they want something quite different from the brooding Sir Guy, but I still think the sheriff is completely unrealistic. So if the rejected and publicly humiliated Sir Guy decides there's no point trying to be redeemed and goes really evil and kills the sheriff? That'd work for me.

Also, in this age of the DVD when you can watch episodes close together, you can be left wondering whatever happened to a particular plot point presented in one episode, only to disappear entirely from the show, as if the characters got amnesia from all the blows to the head.

For instance, in one episode, both Will and Alan express an interest in Djaq. However, in the final episodes, they decide to leave the rest of the band and head elsewhere with nary a mention of Djaq. Similarly, Much has a thing with a young woman named Eve when he's made lord of Bonchurch, yet later, when he thinks about returning there, he never even mentions her name. I didn't think Much got that much action that he'd forget Eve.

These points aside, the pluses outweigh the minuses, and we really enjoyed the series. I only wish I didn't have to wait for the DVDs!

Tomorrow: What The Editor Saw -- Revisions, Part 1

(This picture is courtesy of the Armitage Army website. There was a shout-out to them on the DVD. Cool!)


Anonymous said...

With different writers and directors flip-flopping each episode, I'm not surprised that so many "threads" were lost! It was a weakness in the series to me.

Just a thought: did you find Marian and Robin a bit too brat-like at times?

I know I did. I thought a good spanking (and I'm not a fan of spanking) might not go amiss.

The sheriff . . . well, everyone on the AA forum knows how I feel about that role, so let's just say you put the mildest of my complaints on your blog!

If there's not some major Guy fury in series 2, it will be almost unbearable to me! Gisborne is not one to forego his revenge!


Margaret Moore said...

I thought the different writers and directors might explain that, too. But they really should be aware of what I'd call major character developments, like the Djaq/Will/Alan triangle and Much and Eve.

As for Robin and Marian being bratty, I'd have to agree they could be immature sometimes.

For instance, I had trouble with the way Marian talked to her father sometimes -- as if he should be expected to just let her do her own thing all the time. There was one scene in particular where I thought she was way too harsh and unsympathetic to his concerns.

But I tell myself they're just young. :-)

Re Guy's outrage: I think that no matter what words the writers put in RA's mouth, we'll be seeing both rage and (more deeply buried) hurt in those eyes of his. That public rejection ain't going to go down easy, and I'm sure RA won't disappoint.

And I gotta tell ya, we whooped with delight when the Armitage Army was mentioned, and although RA didn't say anything, we envisioned him modestly blushing. :-)

Anonymous said...

We were all very pleased with the mention of the Armitage Army and Guyliner (we have had ads for Guyliner that some of our clever ladies made up since last September!) Yes, we are sure he was blushing very becomingly at those mentions!

Episode 13 left too many relationships dangling, IMO. Instead of wrapping the series, or giving the viewers any sense of pleasant closure for Will/Djag/Alan and Much/Eve, you got a brief bit of Marian/Robin getting together to escape her marriage to GoG.

I was just disappointed in the writing for letting so many things lapse on the relationships, and am hoping for better in Series 2.

I felt the juxtaposition of Marian and Robin being both pc and compassionate do-gooders with their behind doors snickering at Gisborne was bratty, as well as Marian's very odd relationship with her father. Robin was by parts bolding daring and risking his men and position all while championing that he had some master plan to rid Nottingham and its surrounds of the Sheriff in a superior, self-righteous manner.

But that would just be MHO. Waiting for series 2 now . . .


Margaret Moore said...

Yes, Marian's relationship with her dad definitely detracted from the story for me at times (more below).

I thought Marian called Robin on his self-righteousness once or twice, and that his actions seemed motivated by glory-seeking as much as a genuine desire to do good. However, I thought she came across as self-righteous, too, especially when dealing with her father and her criticism of Robin. They were both essentially trying to do the same thing -- help the peasants -- and she so obviously thought her way was the best and *only* way.

As for "The Night Watchman" persona: I could have bought "The Night Watch," perhaps, but "watchman" seems way too modern to me. Also, The Night Watchman wasn't actually watching. The Night Courier would have been more apropos, although that sounds like ye olde FedEx. :-)

Anonymous said...


Yes, Ye Olde FedEx! Very good!

Also, the near death poisoning and 'revival'? Really could have managed without that bit of overdone and badly played melodrama.

One theme that was relatively consistent was Much's humour, a saving grace for this series, I feel.

Also, with the exception of one episode, why have Gordon Kennedy in the series at all? He really is under-utilized in every way, and has dialogue that is straight out of the screenwriter no-no-no-no-don't-ever-do-that book!

The last bit I'll say (must move on in life) is that Gisborne's gorgeous smouldering was truly his only saving grace. Show me any man that tortures the populace, betrays an old friend for gain, abandons his lover, leaves his child to die in the forest, aligns his camp with a corrupt and greedy leader, menaces young girls into marriage, slaps his elders, and hopes to gain land and title through the downfall of another man, and I am so out of there!


Margaret Moore said...

Ah yes, the leaving of the baby in the woods. I REALLY did not like that storyline. It seemed very much out of character for Guy. He's been shown to have a conscience and not be as over-the-top eeeevil as the sheriff, so why have him do something like this? I can buy that he wouldn't want to have his bastard around, what with wooing Marian and all, but I would rather he be shocked when he heard that the baby had just been abandoned in the woods. I could much more easily see the sheriff ordering that, gleefully killing his second-in-command's child just because he can.

But that attempted murder never gets another mention, either -- and yep, I'd say that's a problem.

heidi said...

While writing a screenplay and writing a novel are two different things, the plot arch and character development should (in my eyes) be the same.

I remember how TV shows went in the 1980's. (Frex: Star Trek TNG or Miami Vice) You were given a cast of characters, and then the episodes were self-contained stories where Things Happened, but at the end of the story, the characters were pretty much unchanged. (While this sort of structure is great for spec writers, I think it does more harm than good for the series itself.)

Then the scope of drama began to change. Shows like Babylon 5 began to pioneer the uberplot idea, or a continual plot thread in evening drama. Sure, things happened in episodes, but the characters changed and evolved because of it.

Now, soap operas have been doing this for years; it's one of the reasons they are so addictive. Now prime time drama shows started doing this as well. I think it's a good recipe for success in a show.

There's bits of both in Robin Hood. You've got the uberplot of Guy wooing Marian, then you get these little standalone episodes like Parent Hood.

It's lovely to see the characters change and grow and what happens in earlier episodes affects what happens later.

But the standalone plots that have these Big Things happen, then one never hears of the consequenses, detracts from. You would think that Robin learning that Guy has a bastard would be of some social consequence when it came to Marian. But the characters' developments and relations don't reflect that, and I think it weakens the structure of the show.

The episode of Parent Hood should never have happened.

Well, it could have happened, had the child not been Guy's. That aspect was a little too much. I *might* forgive them if the consequenses of that come back to haunt Guy.

One thing I do like about this incarnation of Robin Hood is that there is a rival for Marian's affections. In earlier tellings, Marian is something to be won by Robin Hood, with no doubts at all by the audience that she will be his. Therefore, she becomes an object. Granted, a spirited, fiery object, but still an object, a pretty trinket to drape over Robin's arm.

In this RH, there is the old flame (Robin) and the new crush (Guy). Guy's wooing of Marian is not so much a "he wants everything Robin had", but he is entranced by her in her own rights and Robin doesn't even figure into his thoughts.

In Season 2, I seriously hope we get a scene where Guy rides into Sherwood forest, comes across the Merry Men and says, "I've come for Lady Gisborne..."

Sorry for being so long-winded.

Margaret Moore said...

No apologies required! I think you make excellent points, especially about Marian, although I think they aren't showing enough of M's attraction to Sir Guy. I can't remember -- do we ever witness Marion seeing Guy being disgusted by the sheriff's actions?

And I agree that the Guy-abandoning-infant plot was a mistake, especially since the producers themselves say in the comments they want a love triangle. Abandoning a child to die in the woods, especially when it's not like nobles weren't having lots of bastards, so it wasn't exactly a hugely shameful thing at that time -- John used his illegitimate daughter for political purposes, for example -- is too far over the line.

Ah, I could talk about Robin Hood for hours.... Good excuse to watch 'em all again, too. :-)

Eli said...

The whole baby abandoning thing was just left. Robin is bound to have told Marian about Guy abandoning the baby, and keeping in character with Marian I am sure she would have been appalled, yet she never challenged him on it. The shout out to The Armitage Army was great, and the mention of Guyliner too