Robin Hood, episode 1
Robin Hood (BBC, 2006) is one of my favourite TV shows. I love historical stuff, ergo I love Robin Hood. Possibly better than Merlin, which is saying something considering my King Arthur obsession, though I think I would have to watch both shows back-to-back at the same time to make a proper decision.
Robin, Earl of Huntingdon (Jonas Armstrong) and Much (Sam Troughton) have returned from the Holy Land after five years of war and are looking for no more than a hot bath and a properly cooked meal when they have to save a guy (Allan A Dale, Joe Armstrong) from getting his hand chopped off for stealing. Robin demonstrates archery and sword skills to die for. Seriously. I would love be able to shoot with a bow and arrow and fence. Tamora Pierce's Alanna: The First Adventure was my favourite book when I was about ten and I so wanted to be Alanna to become the first female knight in over a century. I was clearly a strange child.
Anyway, the pair return to their village of Locksley to find that there's a new Sheriff of Nottingham hell-bent on taxing the people supposedly to send money to fund the war, but it's obviously for his own avaricious purposes. In his absence, Sir Guy of Gisborne has been managing Robin's lands for him and has instilled such fear in the villagers that some treat Robin as if he were a pariah. Of course, Robin won't tolerate it and makes his dissent well known. We've already met Allan who will become part of his merry men and we see Will Scarlett too who looks unbelievably young. I really really love Will. There's an awesome scene where we see Robin dismissing Guy and everyone bowing down as Robin reveals that he's the Earl of Huntingdon.
Later, we see Robin going to seek out the old Sheriff of Nottingham whose daughter is Marian. I'm a huge Marian fan and seeing her with her bow and arrow pointed right at Robin is another reason why I love Robin Hood - Marian is no weakling and knows how to defend herself. I know a lot of people watch Robin Hood for Guy, but I must admit that I don't see the attraction. Sure, all the black leather is sort-of hot, but his hair always looks horrible and he's the bad guy. Marian is clearly meant to be with Robin.
So some villagers of Locksley are sentenced to death by hanging for a variety of crimes and all the nobles seem to obey the Sheriff whether they like it or not. Marian and her father are definitely in the not-liking-it camp and they plead with Robin to let his people die rather than turn the Sheriff and Guy against him. Robin is torn but being the good guy that he is, stands up for them against the Sheriff and performs mad skills with a borrowed bow that looks pretty impossible. Saying that, what he does just moments later with a sword is just ridiculous. Awesome, but ridiculous.
So they all manage to escape with the Sheriff sending his men after them and they set up camp in the forest for the night, only to have a band of men ambush them to tell them they have invaded their territory, which is where we get our first glimpse of Little John.