Saturday, October 11, 2008

"The New Adventures of Robin Hood" (1997)

"The New Adventures of Robin Hood", is frequently referred to as the "Xena" version of the legend. In truth, it was never up to the standards of "Xena, Warrior Princess", but it does employ a similar mindset in its most basic production values: An emphasis on action (heavily overdubbed with martial arts style sound effects), and "camp", tongue in cheek humour.
Matthew Porretta, having already lost his soul by playing Will Scarlett O'Hara in 1993's "Robin Hood men in Tights" (a film which these blogs will always decline to review), took the lead role as Robin Hood for seasons 1 and 2. To his credit, Porretta does have a strong on screen charisma, and one wonders what he might have made of the role in a much more serious, higher budget production. He was replaced in seasons 3 and 4 by John Bradley, who acquitted himself well (though less successfully) in a more rugged interpretation of the role.
Anna Galvin (season 1) and Barbara Griffin as Marion FitzWalter (seasons 2 - 4), were required to do little more than strut their whip cracking stuff in red leather miniskirts, resembling gum chewing cheer leaders rather more than maidens of Sherwood Forest. And mention should be made of Hakim Alston as Kemal, who carried on the contemporary tradition of including a black (or Saracen) outlaw amongst the "merry men". The rest of the regular cast are entirely forgettable, but Robin of Sherwood fans will want to see the late great Robert Addie (not looking too well), in an episode called "the Devil's Bride".
"The New Adventures of Robin Hood" makes no attempt at character development, schedules more noisy swordfights per episode than commercial breaks, and frequently uses costumes which resemble left overs from the Mad Max movie villains. The lack of any sense of continuity throughout the series makes meaningful review impossible. But you know what? The shear ridiculous nature of it all does make it a sort of guilty pleasure. Good fun. If this approach to Robin Hood is to your liking you might also enjoy the cult favourite "Beyond Sherwood Forest".

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Blogger robin hood said...

The New Adventures of Robin Hood.

Basic cast list:

Robin Hood - Matthew Porretta (seasons 1-2)
Robin Hood - John Bradley (seasons 3-4)
Lady Marion Fitzwalter - Anna Galvin (season 1)
Lady Marion Fitzwalter - Barbara Griffin (seasons 2-4)
Little John - Richard Ashton
Friar Tuck - Martyn Ellis
Kemal - Hakim Alston

5:45 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Personally, I loved this show.
I must admit, I lost interest when they changed the lead actor.
Sure hope we someday see it on DVD.
Really like your blog.
Very informative. I had confused Bernadette O'Farrell and Patricia Driscoll. Evidently I'm not alone. I've often seen Photographs of Driscoll labeled Bernadette O'Farrell.
Some time back, I picked up a set of slides from the 1997- show and am just itching to get them transferred to the computer. Should make some excellent wallpapers!
Please keep blogging!

9:07 PM  
Blogger robin hood said...

Hi Mark

and thanks for the supportive words.

I do indeed intend to keep blogging. Next up will be a review of "Wolfshead", the last of the Hammer Robin Hood films, and a very interesting item. But "real life" tends to take me away from the blogs quite a bit recently.

I agree that the "New Adventures" is long overdue a good DVD release. It's the kind of show that functions better the more episodes you can see of it.

As I say in the review, I would have liked to see Matthew Porretta in a bigger budget version. He certainly has the charisma.

10:20 PM  
Blogger L.A. Jones said...

Where can you watch episodes from season three and season 4? Is it posted anywhere online?

1:10 AM  
Blogger robin hood said...

Not that I know of. I think a boxed set (multi-region) is overdue. this series retains a strong following.

9:35 AM  

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