Thursday, October 04, 2007

Honking Box Preview: Robin Hood

Ah, the first week of October. While this time of year is generally all kinds of rubbish (a tacky amalgam of Halloween and Christmas merchandise flooding the shops; daylight shrivelling to sweet FA; terminally sucky weather), there's always the launch of the Autumn schedules to look forward to. Ugly Betty! Vivienne Vyle! And, for some, Strictly Come Dancing. Not us though, oh no.

And still, we manage to find a negative in amongst the array of shiny new aceness. Let's all don our potato-sack puffa jackets, lace up our pig-bladder Pro-Keds, fire up Ye Olde iPods, and fight for equal rights amongst each gender, race and sexual orientation, as of course was commonplace in the Middle Ages. Robin Hood is back on BBC One to further rape historical accuracy and the reputation of BBC drama.

A year ago, based on the pilot episode alone, we gave Robin Hood a not-unjustified dose of The Slaegin. We stuck with the series in the unlikely hope it might pick itself up from the sewage-standard first impression it created, but the show did little to sort itself out. Now, on the eve of Series Two, is there any opportunity whatsoever that it'll be anything resembling watchable?

For one, Jonas Armstrong is a year older, which will make the series feel less like a gaudy US-produced Robin: The Puberty Tales rewrite. And yet, 12 months is still a short time in which to expect someone to have learned how to fill a role for which they were criminally miscast. In addition, Harry Lloyd's outstanding appearance in Doctor Who only serves to highlight how much better a Robin he'd have made, so we're crossing everything that this series is heavy on the Will Scarlett, and majorly Robin-lite. Probably about as likely as Alesha Dixon performing an interpretive foxtrot on Strictly to a muzak version of Caught Out There as a means of giving Harvey the finger via the medium of dance, but we can hope nonetheless.

And we can't forget the ladies - Djaq, the most uncomfortable shoehorning of political correctness into a TV show since Sesame Street introduced Kami the AIDS muppet; and of course Maid Marian, a woman with a jaw so masculine she makes David Coulthard's right-angled fizzgog resemble that of Grimace. It seems the BBC aren't too bothered about pulling in the male audience… certainly, the 'action' scenes aren't going to turn any heads.

Perhaps we're being too pessimistic. I mean, let's face it, this is The Sloppy Dog after all - hardly a 'glass half full' organisation now, are we? Robin Hood has evidently been recommissioned (and given an incredibly high-profile slot) for a reason, and perhaps this season, that reason might actually come to light. Although it's safe to say that if that fucking incessant God-awful location-establishing caption with the arrow sound effect is still hanging around, it'll be our moral duty to actively despise this show with a fiery vengeance for all eternity.

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