Forced Viewing... Robin Hood

Category: By Rev/Views

A rather peculiar thing happened last Saturday. I got home from a long day of work, spent dealing with a rash of genuine POS members of the public, RSI in my wrists and a blinding headache caused by a lack of sleep. Additionally due to flooding on the train lines I'd been delayed a further half an hour longer than usual in getting home.

I arrive back, put everything away and turn on the telly box, looking forward to watching some episode of Top Gear I've already seen five or more times before over on Dave. Pretty much the perfect television for winding down in front of, which is what Dave is all about for me and that's why it's my favourite British terrestrial television station - even if they do keep showing the same episodes of QI over and over (enough with the A series please Dave, I want something a smidgen more recent!)

But after turning on my box and TV I have a sudden and terrible realisation. For the first time in pretty much my life the channel remote has gone missing. For some of you this might be a pretty common occurrence, but for me it's a rare thing indeed, I keep all five of my remotes together, in order of height and colour. Yeah, a little OCD, I know. But the unthinkable happened and I was stuck with the TV on BBC 1 - left there from the previous night where I decided to watch The One Show because Adrian Chiles is quite likable and Christine Bleakley is a strange collection of physical and personality traits - which when taken separately are quite annoying, but when put together become simultaneously lovely and attractive.

This time though The One Show was not on, no - it was seven o'clock on a Saturday and this meant one thing. Robin Hood was on. As soon as I realised this I pretty much let out a cry of despair at the ceiling and began frantically hunting for my remote, pleading with anything which might be willing to me help out - my previous experiences with Robin Hood have always resulted in my switching the TV off.

After searching for five minutes unsuccessfully I sat down in my chair and considered my options. I could either switch the TV off and read a book - but I really wasn't in the mood to read, change the TV channel to the DVD setting and watch something from my collection, but glancing at it didn't reveal anything which grabbed me at the moment. I could turn on the 360 and either play Left 4 Dead or Castle Crashers, but I wanted an activity which would allow me to nurse my headache without forcing too much activity. So no luck there.

But, while sitting there I began to realise I was there was another option, so surrendered to the fates which caused my remote to be mislaid and actually watch an episode of Robin Hood again. So I began to pay attention - it seemed that the trendy, escaped from our time Robin Hood (Jonas Armstrong ) was sat by a fire with the more realistic (and frankly better) Guy of Gisborne (Richard Armitage) and they were being talked at by some mysterious hooded figure with a wheezy voice. He told them a story and I got to watch an episode with virtually none of the characters from the show in it. This turned out to be a genius move as the actors they had in for this 'one off' were much, much better than 90% of the current cast.

Now this story was rather predictable and pedestrian, and included more than it's fair share of retch inducing moments - combined with a pretty cruddy performance from the boy playing 'Young Robin'; but on the whole it was quite watchable. I found myself paying attention and understanding why there are people who watch and enjoy this mind-numbing tripe - it just doesn't try and offend in any way what so ever. No surprises, no need to philosophise or understand character motives, just sit back forget about any sort of realism or a remote jot of period accuracy (I can't call it historical accuracy because it's hardly history) and enjoy!

I also found myself thinking how much better this was without the normal cast doing the acting and wistfully remembering Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Robin Hood: Men in Tights and the Errol Flynn's The Adventures of Robin Hood with a forlorn remembrance of how much better each of those was than this (aye, even Costner's Robin is better than this one.) But I did continue to watch even though I had the option to switch off the TV and go paint a wall. I stuck with it until the episode finished and at times enjoyed the events.

And even though my only gains from the experience were the following...

a) If your cast is as rubbish as a lot of the Robin Hood one is (from previous viewing experiences), don't highlight it by giving the viewer a great episode episode which is well written and acted - without including your main cast for most of it. Then again, if this is some plan to boil Robin Hood down to Guy & Robin then I'm all for it.

b) Richard Armitage as Guy is just about the best thing in the show and as such I'd be very happy and content if he killed Robin and everyone who knows what he looks like then take over the job. I'd watch the "Guy of Gisborne" show on a weekly basis.

c) A Knight's Tale is more realistic and historically accurate.

d) I absolutely hate, HATE that CGI archery target board transition with a passion.

e) I forgot just how much I enjoyed the scene where Guy slew Marian at the end of the last season. That was a well written moment, even if it was a tad misogynistic... Then again, what do you expect to happen if you taunt a heartbroken and violent man carrying a sword? Bravo Guy and bravo the writers for that one.

...the experience was a lot less painful than I expected it to be. At times it was actually fun.

Frankly I wouldn't go out of my way to watch Robin Hood again any time soon, but as the experience was not as awful as I remembered earlier episodes being it did give me with an idea. So each week I'm going to find a show I normally wouldn't watch and give it a go, then I'll write about the experience here on either a Friday or a Saturday. Maybe I'll find some new gems, get a new perspective on something old or just revise my opinions (which believe it or not I have actually done where RH is concerned, as I now class it as light entertainment instead of "must avoid").

As for the remote? It turned out to be hiding behind my Rock Band guitar.


1 comment so far.

  1. Evelyn 13 June 2009 at 02:17
    I've wanted a Guy of Gisborne show for ages.

Something to say?