Robin Hood: Season 2

Robin Hood: Season 2
You know how television is supposed to be better these days, full of adult themes, vivid characters and challenging complexity? The makers of the new Robin Hood didn’t get that particular memo. For them, it’s 1983 every day of the week, with the exception that the cheaply enjoyable camp of bad old TV has been replaced with insufferable goody-two-shoes piety. Robin Hood (Jonas Armstrong) is just so boyishly handsome that you want to punch him in the nose. Marian (Lucy Griffiths) is one of those "feisty” love interests that live in the wishful thoughts of men, while the rest of the merry men are barely differentiated beyond their fealty to/manufactured mistrust of the big man. But the brunt of one’s contempt is reserved for the Sheriff of Nottingham (Keith Allan), whose dastardly plots are so ludicrous and so easily dismantled by Robin and the gang that he seems less credible than Cobra Commander. With its total lack of seriousness and rampant anachronisms (apparently, they had latex makeup in medieval England), it resembles nothing so much as Xena: Warrior Princess, but the perpetrators don’t seem to know it. Where Xena got by on knowing, campy winks, we’re apparently supposed to take this as straight-up action with the wind flowing in its hair. Not quite — without a shred of gravitas or credibility, it’s just insufferable and manages the mean feat of making that cloying Clannad-themed series from the ’80s look like a model of atmosphere and craft. Extras include select episode commentaries and a slew of featurettes on the "making of” series two, goodbye to Lucy Griffiths and the death of series regular Edward (Michael Elwyn). (BBC/Warner)