… I can’t believe he [Richard Armitage] is here – an actor of his talent, sitting on my sofa, talking to me about playing this part. I feel so lucky. -Dominic Minghella, co-creator of series (brother of famed director, Anthony)
Even when I was a kid/teen, I rarely watched TV shows geared for those groups, unless my little sister was around watching them. They just seemed too unrealistic to me, and the acting often bordered on camp (with a few exceptions). However, there are some shows that crossover from the youth audience to a wider/grown-up one, such as BBC’s reboot of the Robin Hood myth (2006-2009). It’s available on Netflix.
The star of this series is Irish-born Jonas Armstrong (b. 1981), a 2003 graduate of RADA. My opinion: He sometimes didn’t hold my attention. He doesn’t have the presence (X factor) needed for a series leading man. Also, I didn’t see much going on between him and Lucy Griffiths (Marian), aside from friend chemistry. I’m sure a lot of teen girls liked him in the show, though.
The show has a very high production value and was shot on location outside Budapest, Hungary. The forests are very beautiful!
Gisborne could have been simply a one-dimensional pantomime villain who is unbelievably evil. But he works on-screen as a believable and complex character. The key is probably the fact that Richard Armitage believed in him. -Excerpted from RichardArmitageOnline.com
Some people consider this show campy and cheesy, though it’s nowhere close to the unabashed goofiness of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (which I watched for a while, I must admit). I feel that the likeability of Kevin Sorbo and the obvious tongue-in-cheek look at the Greek myths were the main reason people tuned into that show (1995-1999). Australian actor Michael Hurst added humor, in contrast to the straight-shooting American- Sorbo. Oh and don’t forget how Sorbo looked in those costumes- LOL!
In my humble opinion, this show is mainly worth watching for it’s villains, Sheriff Vesey (portrayed by Keith Allen), his frenemy/sidekick Sir Guy of Gisborne (portrayed by Richard Armitage), and the cool action sequences.
Also, one of Robin’s Merry Men is actually a young Saracen (Arab/Muslim) woman, played by a petite/cute British-Indian actress, Anjali Jay (b. 1975). She sports a pixie haircut, chooses a male name (Djaq), and clothes herself as a teen boy. (It’s rare to see desi actors, much less ones in regular, prominent TV roles. Well, maybe it’s not so rare in England…)
Saracen was a term for Muslims widely used in Europe during the later medieval era. The term’s meaning evolved during its history. In the early centuries AD in Greek and Latin it referred to a people who lived in desert areas in and near the Roman province of Arabia, and who were specifically distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Early Medieval era, the term began to be used to describe Arab tribes as well. By the 12th century, Saracen had become synonymous with Muslim in Medieval Latin literature. This expansion of the meaning had begun centuries earlier among the Byzantine Greeks, as evidenced in Byzantine Greek documents from the 8th century.
I especially liked Jay’s scenes with one of her love interests, the up-and-coming Brit, Harry Lloyd (Will Scarlett). I first noticed Lloyd (b. 1983) on Doctor Who (he featured prominently in two episodes in 2007: The Family of Blood and Human Nature.) Game of Thrones fans will know him as the deliciously evil Viserys Targaryen. He is a multi-faceted actor who definitely has a bright future ahead!
His love for Marian is something which is beginning to unravel him and he’s becoming more human through her. It’s actually surprising him. -RA
Unfortunately, I can’t rave about the (limited) acting of Griffiths (b. 1986), who has a musical background. She was only 20 years old, and an unknown, when cast for the role of Marian. I think her wholesome beauty suits the role, though some of Marian’s dresses are too modern (bordering on the risque).