I absolutely LOVE this show. I saw it when it first aired. I owned it on VHS, then on DVD - and now I am the proud owner of the blu-ray version!
So let's cut to the chase: is there a difference between the blu ray and the DVD? In resolution quality for the episodes themselves - you bet your boots there is!! For the special features/ extras? Not so much (except maybe the newer interviews the quality is higher). But - this is NOT 4K quality - or even full HD quality...but then it is not advertised as such. It was filmed in the 80s on FILM - not video tape like so may shows were back then - and this is where the quality comes from. It is a product of its time though - soft filters and the like - hence a slightly softer image than you might expect for blu ray. But this is as clear an image as we are ever gonna get - and I feel that it is actually even clearer than it was when it first aired! If you are a fan, then even if you have the DVD boxset, this is still worth owning - provided you have a decent enough display to watch it on.
Downsides? Well, I haven't gone through all of it yet, but I have heard that the episode order has been a bit mixed up. But then again, so was the order on the DVD set, so this is not a deal breaker for me. The only thing that I DO wish was different was the layout of the inlay: all the episodes and special features are listed on the inside of the inlay. I would have preferred it if there was a booklet included instead - might've been a bit easier to read and a nicer to look at. However, having said this, doing it this way ensures that you are NOT gonna lose it - unlike a loose booklet (potentially!)! And it probably keeps the price down too...But the packaging feels solid enough, it does the job - and despite containing 3 entire series, doesn't feel bulky: it won't take up a huge amount of space on your shelf.
As for the show itself - well, I've always been a fan. I managed to fulfill a life long dream and become an extra in the Ridley Scott version of Robin Hood back in 2009 - which incidentally, I feel is the SECOND best version committed to screen (not that I'm biased, or anything!) - but it still made me come back to THIS version and realise how superior it is, despite its age. OK, so the acting may not be up to scratch in a lot of places - but they make up for it in enthusiam, and by the fact that you can see that they had the BEST time making this - it shows on screen, and that means a lot. Also, the vast majority of storylines are great too and will keep you coming back to them. Sure, there are a couple of clunkers - that's inevitable - but even they are strangely watchable...(although those ones probably won't be watched more than once or twice!)
I love that this was the first prodcution of the RH legend to not only introduce a Saracen into the storyline (much copied by other subsequent versions), but also the paganism, the occult, and Christianity - the religion and supernatural elements are subjects that have been skipped over in EVERY other version, but back in the day, would've been FAR more important to the people of the time than it is now: it would've been a daily concern, part of their everyday lives - and not just a passing thing. It's this elements - among a few others - that make it stand head and shoulders above the rest.
I also love that there is not one studio set in the entire production: it was filmed entirely on location, which definitely adds to the overall look and feel of it - it makes it more realistic. Also, the costumes are top notch - they didn't go overboard in the design, like so may other RH productions, which were either too much like pantomime, or too much like Hollywood ("Hey, we have millions of dollars to make this - let's make the sets and costumes LOOK like we have money to burn...!"). In Robin of Sherwood, the peasants LOOK like peasants - and the rich look like they have more money than everyone else (without being over the top) - and the soldiers look like soldiers that have been funded by the King - but without him having to dig TOO deep into his pockets....tha balance between the different classes is damn near perfect! Not seen it this good before or since!
Add to that the superb soundtrack from Clannad that somehow captures that Ye Olde Worlde medieval feel - as well as the feel of ancient church rituals where needed - but also still feels like it's a product of the 80s, yet still manages to work beautifully with the visuals! It cements all the other aspects beautifully.
It was ahead of its time - and although it's now very much a product of its time, it still remains timeless - if that's possible!! It has as much an effect on me now as it did back then, and that's no bad thing.
If you are a fan, this is a no-brainer must-own. If you have never seen it before, get it on blu-ray - for just under £40 for the entire series, it just doesn't get better than this! (And if it ever goes cheaper than that, you'd be seriously mad NOT to pick up a copy of this!)
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