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Robin Hood



Remake of the legend almost hits the bullseye.
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What parents need to know

Positive messages

The name "Robin Hood" is synonymous with defying corrupt authority figures, and this version of the legend drives that message home harder than most. The title character is sometimes a bit preachy, but his message -- that government exists to serve its citizens rather than exploit them -- is one that should be heard.


Plenty of sword fights and great examples of precision archery, but little graphic violence. Robin makes a point of avoiding bloodshed whenever possible, but his nemesis, the Sheriff of Nottingham, isn't above torturing innocent villagers (though none of it appears onscreen, the show makes it quite clear what's happening). Gallows victims' feet are shown dangling and twitching.


No sex scenes, and only modest flirting. It's tough to find time for love when one of the main characters lives in the woods.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters often drink wine, but they rarely get drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this British adventure drama includes lots of implied violence and torture. Although little of it is actually shown on screen, the characters make their intentions pretty clear, and the camera stays focused on the action until the very last second. (For example, when a bad guy threatens to cut out a villager's tongue if he refuses to divulge some valuable information, the last shot in the sequence features a soldier poised to jam scissors into the victim's mouth.) The nasty Sheriff of Nottingham also makes frequent use of the gallows in his main courtyard -- viewers can see victims' feet twitching and dangling. While Robin Hood's personal reluctance to harm anyone makes him admirable, the casual violence of the Middle Ages can be rather disconcerting.

What's the story?

In this modern update of the ROBIN HOOD legend, Robin (Jonas Armstrong) quickly runs afoul of the Sheriff (Keith Allen) when several hungry Locksley villagers are sentenced to death for stealing food. Robin must decide whether to support the Sheriff's cruel reign or fight back. For Robin, the choice is a simple one, but it brands the young noble an outlaw. Along with his dedicated manservant Much (Sam Troughton) and a few trusted allies, he takes refuge in the wild Sherwood Forest to plan a rebellion. Robin's years at war in the Crusades have had a profound influence on him -- he has become an amazing marksman with the bow and a fearsome swordsman, but he's also developed strong feelings about violence and oppression and would rather give up his land and his title than let the Sheriff oppress the villagers.

Is it any good?


One of the show's faults is that it sometimes seems a little short on action and a bit too preachy. There are many scenes in which Robin explains his theories of social justice and agrarian economics, occasionally with a few more details than necessary. And many of the other characters debate whether the long-absent king would approve of Robin's actions because he's trying to take care of the peasants or condemn the bandit for undermining the fundamental notions of law and order.

Meanwhile, despite his combat skills, Robin is reluctant to hurt anyone, even the Sheriff. As a result, many of the fights in Robin Hood seem oddly one-sided, pitting a man who won't kill against nameless, flunky soldiers whom any viewer can tell are destined to lose their battle. Pairing a brutish despot who endorses torture and wanton killing with a somewhat pacifistic hero who makes light of the entire conflict gives the show an odd tone. Though entertaining, the series seems uncertain about whether it's trying to be a serious action-adventure show or a lighthearted spoof of one.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about law and order. The show's central theme is Robin Hood's decision to become an outlaw rather than support the Sheriff of Nottingham's routine exploitation of the struggling peasants. Is Robin's basic rob-from-the-rich-give-to-the-poor strategy just? When is it OK to take the law into your own hands? Is crime ever defensible? What's the best response to a corrupt government? Also, how does this version of the Robin Hood tale compare to others you've seen? Do you think it's more or less accurate? Why?

TV details

Premiere date:March 3, 2007
Cast:Jonas Armstrong, Keith Allen, Lucy Griffiths
Network:BBC America
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Adult Written bylrhouse April 9, 2008

Great Fun

This is a terrific show. It doesn't take it self too seriously. The fight scenes are cartoonish(I mean that in a good way) The characters are likeable except for the two bad guys who are wonderfully bad. Right beats might everytime. The actors are all good and play the roles with energy and charm.
Adult Written byCorinneColbert April 9, 2008

A modern Robin Hood

This version of Robin Hood has echoes of today's political climate. War veteran Robin returns home from the Middle East to find that civil liberties have been suspended in the name of peace. I Tivo episodes to watch with my 7- and 9-year-old sons -- not only because it's on past their bedtime, but also so I can skip through commercials for racy shows and natural male enhancement products. This also lets me talk with them about what they're seeing. The situations can be a bit much for elementary-age kids to watch on their own. The Sheriff is the most intriguing character -- all jolly cruelty. Gisborne sometimes seems conflicted; he wants to be a good man for Marian, but he also wants power and thus goes along with the Sheriff. Marian feels constricted by social expectations. And the relationship between Much and Robin offers opportunities to talk about the nature of friendship and leadership. All in all, this is a good series for kids who like adventure and derring-do. I'd just recommend watching it with them and zapping the commercials.
Teen, 16 years old Written byJL April 30, 2009

One of the Best!

Robin Hood is currently one of the best shows. It is clean-no *iffy* content between men and women, no foul language, and not overly violent. A fun storyline, and interesting characters. It is horribly corny, but so much fun. Mind, I have only seen the second season, I can't vouch for the first one :) But what i've seen is wonderful. I'm impressed with how clean it is-and it's a British show! That is the only problem, I won't watch the show live, have to record it because the British TV commercials are horribly offensive. But Robin Hood is one of the best shows on TV.