Hanging in There Entry: Robin Hood (BBC) Seasons 1 & 2

4 Mar

Slowly, things are improving.

Lately I have been dealing with both getting over a breakup and a death in the family. It’s a lot of normal to be trying to reestablish, all at once, so I am just trying to get through the days lately.

One thing that has cheered me up is the BBC’s Robin Hood. It began in 2006 and only ran for 3 seasons, ending when the principles decided to leave the show. It’s a delightful show though, about friendship and loyalty and love and all those noble qualities that Robin Hood is known for.

Heroism! Derring-do! Costumes!

Heroism! Derring-do! Costumes!

Hood himself is played by the charismatic Jonas Armstrong, who portrays Robin of Locksley as daring, charming, and even cheeky at times. I’ll say it: I grew up associating Robin Hood with a singing fox, and later with Kevin Costner (I don’t hate Prince of Thieves) and still later with Men in Tights (STILL a classic!). So a brash, cheeky young Robin was a nice addition to the stable of actors who have played the character.

As with all the other canon, Robin and his servant/companion Much (who is an Englishman, I have no idea if he’s canon or not because I’ve never read the Child ballads) are recently returned home from King Richard’s war in the Holy Land. The pair of former soldiers have a strong bond as friends,  and soon find that the old Sheriff of Nottingham has been deposed and a new one installed.

The latter is played with snide, sneering glee by Keith Allen, who I had to look up on Wikipedia but apparently is Theon Greyjoy’s father. He used to do standup comedy at punk shows. How cool is that?

The rest of the gang are here as well: Little John, Alan a Dale, Will Scarlett, and Maid Marian. The latter is a nice departure and far from a damsel in distress: she knows how to fight and is fairly headstrong in the bargain. In fact they could have made her theme music someone shouting ‘DAMMIT MARIAN!’ every time she did something irritating. I didn’t hate the character – far from it! – but just as when you see a smart person you care about make a terrible choice, I was frustrated. Lucy Griffiths was eminently likeable and radiantly beautiful – I saw she was on the pilot for Constantine (which I still haven’t reviewed!) but was replaced by Zed. I think she’s great and she’ll go far, once she finds the right vehicle.

The comedy and lighthearted fare of the show is fun; it’s a family show, I think it ran in the Doctor Who spot, or just after it, and there are far, far worse ways to introduce children to the stories of Robin Hood and his outlaws.

But the show keeps me coming back for this man:



Richard Armitage has inspired a HUUUUGE following who call themselves “Armitage’s Army.” I’m not much of a joiner, so instead I’ll tip my hat to the approximately 8 billion fansites and pages of fanfiction they have produced. Well done, ladies and gentlemen! Allow me to congratulate you on your EXQUISITE taste!

I wrote about him before in my review for North and South, and believe me he’s just getting better. 

Gisborne as a character is interesting – he starts out a drawling villain but over the course of the show became such a fan favorite that the writers were struggling to keep him a villain. I haven’t seen the 3rd season yet but I understand that he does sort of team up with the good guys, which he did now and then in the previous seasons. I love tv series for that reason, the character evolution it allows. Somebody can start out a bit player and  a few seasons in steal the show, as happened with Donna Meagle and others on Parks and Rec (I haven’t seen the final season yet! Say nothing!)

The other reason Gisborne fascinates me (besides the obvious) is that I have a thing for his character trope: the damaged ones, the broken ones who imagine that the love of another person is all they need to fix themselves. It is a form of delusion, because in order to be a better person you must first admit that you have no power over someone else and that if you truly loved them, you would let them go and that YOU are responsible for your own happiness. But it’s also the sign of a deeply romantic and sensitive soul – someone who believes so fervently in the power of love that it blinds them to the consequences of their own actions. Of course no other examples of this character type are coming to mind at the moment, but trust me, it used to be a thing I had. For many years I thought I had outgrown it – and then along came Gisborne. When he begs Marian to make a home with him, to stay with him so that his life is bearable, I was totally ready to give him the keys to my house and run down to Uhaul for some boxes to help him move in. I cannot be trusted to make life decisions any larger than ‘yes I would like bacon on my cheeseburger’ right now.

The show is a fun distraction with some distinctive and moving performances. Heavily anachronistic, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but does insert lots of little pop culture jokes and references. There is some violence though it’s largely bloodless, and a few characters die. That said, I would say it’s a great family show. The costumes and sets are fun and creative, and some of the jokes really have made me laugh out loud. I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something new and fun to get into, but if you’re looking for historical accuracy or accurate arrow physics then you might want to give it a miss.

But when it comes to archery be prepared to suspend some serious disbelief.







And just so you can see how serious I am (although I couldn’t stop giggling while watching this):



5 Responses to “Hanging in There Entry: Robin Hood (BBC) Seasons 1 & 2”

  1. patricksponaugle March 4, 2015 at 2:05 am #

    My daughter LOVES Richard Armitage after seeing the Hobbit movies. I’ll tell her about this series. Thanks for sharing the info.

    (I’m sorry about the stuff that you mentioned going on. Hope you are doing okay…)

    • jennnanigans March 4, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

      Awesome! I don’t know her or her tastes but I hope she likes it. It’s a lot of fun, and Marian is a nice role model for young girls, although her stubbornness can be annoying. But hey, that’s what agency is, doing things other people don’t agree with!

      Thank you, that means a lot! 🙂

  2. Steven March 6, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

    Things changed too much for this show in the third season; it lost a lot of what I liked about it in the first two. I know that shows need to evolve to stay fresh, but when it becomes almost an entirely different show, the whole suffers.

    • jennnanigans March 6, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

      I’m working my way through the 3rd season now, and you’re right, there’s definitely a very different tone to it – it isn’t quite as fun.
      Although Toby Stephens as Prince John is HILAAAAARIOUS in some scenes!


  1. An Idiot (Almost) Abroad | Mudder of Dragons - July 16, 2015

    […] in the midst of my Richard Armitage situation earlier in the year, I read an interview where he talked about how much he loved the city and how […]

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