A real scoundrel stole his way on to TV last weekend with the debut of “Robin Hood,” a BBC production that’s been imported here on BBC America.<IMG hspace=10 src="/images/32905-30753/robinhood.jpg” width=300 align=right vspace=10>
For most, BBC America is an after-thought. On Comcast, it’s high up on the digital channel list. On Dish Network, it’s stuck in the mid-100s.
Still though, the network pushed “Robin Hood,” originally produced in 2006, just enough to pique my interest.
The pilot episode, “Will You Tolerate This?”, was right on target by mixing familiar Robin Hood elements with new ideas to fuel the series with drama, humor, a bit of over-the-top action and modern filming and storytelling techniques.
Additional showings of the pilot episode are tonight at 1 a.m. and Thursday at 9 p.m.
Jonas Armstrong plays our man Robin with enough charisma and guile that you’d expect him to be able to assemble an outlaw army to take down the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham and slimy Guy of Gisborne. Surely the cowardly Prince John will make an appearance somewhere along the way. (OK, I’ve used up my allotment of adjectives for today.)
This series has a lot to offer Robin Hood fans, if there is such a thing. For those who loved Kevin Costner’s “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” the last high-profile Robin Hood project, you’re bound to enjoy the campy interplay between the characters. For those who hated “Prince of Thieves,” you’re bound to be relieved that all the actors actually seem British, something Kevin Costner is decidedly not good at pretending to be.
For those who long for Errol Flynn’s rendition of the character in “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” then you’re sure to enjoy this version’s mocking tone and high adventure.
But most of all, try watching “Robin Hood” for a little bit of relief. Relief from the onslaught of television series about lawyers, doctors, cops or desperate housewives.
Even if it’s using an age-old story, it’s something different. And boy, do we need something different on TV.