Robin Hood: Robin of Sherwood, Season 1
August 1, 2022 11:23 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Robin of Loxley and his followers fight for themselves--and the local peasants--in this 1984 BBC series.

In addition to the usual tropes and a full cast of Merry Men, sorcery, prophecy and paganism feature prominently. Robin is depicted as "Herne's son," suggesting a defense of the old folk practices against a hierarchical church as well as the usual rapacious nobles.

A last minute decision was made to include Nasir (Mark Ryan), a transplanted Saracen, in the permanent cast rather than kill him off. This seems to the first instance of the now ubiquitous practice of including a distant foreigner among the Merry Men.

Features music by Clannad and some extremely 1980s fight choreography. Jonathan Rhys-Davies shows up in the series finale. Available on Pluto TV or for purchase on Amazon.

Season 1 episode list:

Robin and the Sorceror
The Witch of Elsdon
Seven Poor Knights for Acre
Alan a Dale
The King's Fool
posted by mark k (8 comments total)
After rewatching the first season for the first time in many years, I think it holds up pretty well, and might have a claim to be the best Robin Hood adaptation that doesn't include Errol Flynn. (Although I guess people of good faith could disagree about where the Disney one with the animated fox fits in the canon.)

The return of Richard the Lionhearted in the season finale starts off straight out of Ivanhoe and a dozen other adaptations: The conquering king, who embodies all the martial and political virtues, will recognize the good character of the outlaws and return justice to the land. It's subverted so nicely that it's not just the final betrayal that proves Will Scarlett was right and Robin was wrong; they should have been keeping their distance from him no matter what.
posted by mark k at 11:36 AM on August 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

I liked this. The Herne stuff was trippy.
posted by kyrademon at 2:28 PM on August 1, 2022

The simple themes by Clannad drew me in to this show; very evocative vocals.

It was refreshing to see the tensions in the group explored so much; every few episodes it looked like one person or another could leave and they might break up for good. The precariousness made me root for them that much more.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:53 PM on August 1, 2022

Man, this was, after Star Trek, my first real fandom. I wrote multiple stories for this show before I even knew fanfiction was a thing. I was shocked when I got online to discover that not only had other people written stories about these characters, but that they had sex!

Anyway, I have always had a fondness for Ray Winstone as a result of this show: he's really the best thing about it, as if he's in an entirely different show, with a ton more intensity and talent than the rest of the cast shows.

Some things you couldn't get away with now: Nasir was played by a Welshman, for instance. And the pacing doesn't meet contemporary standards.

But I loved the way the production leaned so hard into the pagan aspect, and pivoted after Michael Praed left to examine the other folkloric origin for Robin Hood.

So much fun: thanks for posting!
posted by suelac at 10:02 PM on August 1, 2022

I love this show so much, especially the mystical aspect with Herne. I guess it rings the same bells as Princess Mononoke. The thing I noticed most on a recent rewatch is how repetitive the music is. Even as I type this, I can hear the fight music in my head. Still a wonderful soundtrack and not something you'd notice as much if you were watching it episodically as it would have been.
posted by kokaku at 2:08 AM on August 2, 2022

I have always had a fondness for Ray Winstone as a result of this show: he's really the best thing about it, as if he's in an entirely different show, with a ton more intensity and talent than the rest of the cast shows.

I didn't really think about that until you said it. But with the rewatch? Yeah. I think most of the cast and writers approach it like "We're in a show that's a metaphor for the rise of the nation-state, the increasing domination of the modern world, and the decline of the old folkways." And Winstone is more like "Fuck Thatcherite Britain."

the production leaned so hard into the pagan aspect

I was trying to figure out how old I was when I would have seen it first. Seventeen, maybe? Because as I recall the pagan stuff actually seemed a bit edgy to me. People are complaining about devil worshippers in heavy metal or D&D, and on PBS they're airing a show where the heroes worship a horned god right out in the open.
posted by mark k at 3:43 PM on August 2, 2022

I was singing the theme tune to myself earlier this evening.

Lovely hair.
posted by biffa at 4:36 PM on August 2, 2022

Oh man, I loved this show when I caught it on PBS reruns in the early 90s, maybe?

Another great thing was that they clearly only had, like, 5 horses that they used in filming, so I loved tracking how the horse that, say, Gisborne was riding in one episode would be the horse used by the random traveling nobleman/Knight from Acre/farmer in another scene.
posted by TwoStride at 4:12 AM on August 5, 2022 [2 favorites]

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