Friday, June 08, 2007

Robin Hood - First Reactions

We finally got to see Robin Hood! The first two episodes anyway -- and I loved them! I didn't have great expectations (beyond Richard Armitage, who didn't disappoint) and was most pleasantly surprised.

I had a few quibbles, of course. The costumes were interesting in an often inaccurate historical way and the fight scenes could be eye-roll-inducing. Anytime anybody shoots two arrows from the same bow and they both hit the target? Oh, please. Heck, anytime anybody draws two arrows at the same time gets an eye roll from me. I shall pass over some of the other stunts. At least nobody did a cartwheel instead of just running.

And there was one of my main pet peeves. At one point, Robin said, "Hold them at the gate for five minutes."

Um, they don't have watches there, Robin. Or any way to tell time. And in fact, "five minutes" wouldn't mean much to the average medieval person. They had no access to time pieces and certainly nothing that could be accurate to within minutes, so unless they were near a church with a bell to toll the liturgical hours, they wouldn't have any idea exactly what time of day it was, let alone when five minutes had gone by.

That's something I really strive to avoid in my medievals. People will say "later" or maybe "at the noon", but I don't think I've ever had anybody refer to minutes, or a time like "nine o'clock."

In terms of character, they were generally much better than I'd anticipated. Robin was more serious, Much was a hoot in a good way (I love a funny secondary character) but he also had some depth (obviously troubled by what he witnessed in the Holy Land), and Marian wasn't swooningly delighted to see Robin again (and wasn't toothpick thin, either -- yeah!).

And then there were the villains. I knew Richard Armitage would be good as Sir Guy, and I really liked how they developed his character. He's not just evil -- he had some qualms about the sheriff's orders, and when Robin and Much showed up after being away for five years, he turned over Robin's estate to him, even though he had many more men. The sheriff jeered at him for that, but it shows that Guy's not all bad. And then he told Marian how he was scorned and disrespected for not having any land -- good way to get my sympathy.

Unfortunately, we also had the sheriff. Whether it's the director or the actor or the writing, I don't know, but this is one character who's way, way over the top, into cartoon territory. He's apparently just evil for the heck of it -- or nuts, which to me is the weakest form of villain there is. Guy has a motive for his bad acts, a motive we can understand and appreciate; the sheriff apparently has none. I hope that changes as the show progresses because when I'm expecting the sheriff to start doing moves a la The Three Stooges? That's not good.

All in all, though, two thumbs up from me!


Christine said...

Sounds great Margaret. I'm going to have to find a copy so I can check this out.

Margaret Moore said...

It's on BBC Canada, too -- Monday nights at 8. But you've missed the first ones. And I see they're filming a second season.

So here's what I wanna see -- some other woman puts the moves on Sir Guy and he thinks it's love, so he sorta forgets Marian, only it turns out New Woman is just exploiting him for her own gain. And then poor Sir Guy (because he was really falling in love with her) and Marian feels a little sorry for him, so Robin gets all jealous... Oh, somebody stop me...!!!