Robin Hood: a name as synonymous with action and adventure as James Bond, Batman, and Betty White. A legend in his own time and sometimes in his own mind, the basic story of Robin Hood is about a man who steals from the rich to give to the poor. Almost everyone has seen the character of Robin Hood in some incarnation or another, whether as a whimsical chap, an animated fox, or a dude who likes to bring the action.
This means that there are many different ways to enjoy your Robin Hood, and the varied portrayals of him by actors like Errol Flynn, Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Russell Crowe, and Cary Elwes provide a wide spectrum to choose from. Is he a thief? Is he a saint? And does he always wear tights? Always questions worth pondering.
Before his debut on the screen, Robin Hood was the subject of ballads beginning as early as the 15th century. Since then the swashbuckling hero, with his penchant for sword-fighting and archery has been reinvented, reincarnated, deconstructed, and satirized in books, in film, and on TV. And the man has no signs of leaving the cultural landscape of the 21st century thanks to the recent film, Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe.
In 1997, Warner Bros. produced a TV series about the legendary man, The New Adventures of Robin Hood. It’s a low-budget series that reminded me a lot of Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and that’s just fine with me. This is not a show that should be taken seriously by any stretch of the imagination. This Robin Hood is more Men in Tights than Prince of Thieves.
Stepping into the role of Robin Hood is actor Matthew Poretta who played Will Scarlett O’Hara in 1993’s Robin Hood: Men in Tights. He does a decent job given the material and the atmosphere of the series. This isn’t a show for people looking for depth and meaning, it’s escapism in its purest form.
Look for plenty of women in low-cut tops, wild action sequences, campy special effects, and a host of silly situation, dialogue, and other moments of eye-rolling pleasure. You’re sure to get a few good laughs from this version of Robin Hood. I know I did.
And that to me is the point of this series. Never once did I feel like I was supposed to not notice the cheesy effects or lackluster acting. It almost presents itself in a way that makes you notice these things. In that respect, it has a lot in common with the Batman series starring Adam West. It, too, was a zany camp-fest full of over-the-top everything. With The New Adventures of Robin Hood you can expect the same.
If you liked the old Batman series, Xena, Hercules, or even Walker, Texas Ranger, check out The New Adventures of Robin Hood: The Complete First Season on DVD. It’s totally worth it. Now, can we make a version with Betty White as Maid Marion?
What is your favorite version of Robin Hood? Leave a comment and let us know!
The New Adventures of Robin Hood: The Complete First Season is ONLY available through the Warner Bros. Archive. Click here to order your copy today!