Fans of Robin Hood rejoice for The New Adventures of Robin Hood has found its way to DVD. Okay, maybe fans of the character of Robin Hood shouldn’t rejoice, but…. Fans of The New Adventures of Robin Hood rejoice for the cheesy late 90’s television series that aired on TNT has found its way to DVD.
I love Robin Hood; I even have a place in my heart for Kevin Costner’s failed accent. At least that film was a little entertaining, plus it had a lush score by the late, great Michael Kamen, and of course that Bryan Adams song! While watching The New Adventures of Robin Hood, I found myself burying my head in a pillow screaming “why?” This show is just plain awful. Trying to ride the coattails of Hercules and Xena, this hokey take on Robin Hood, starring long haired, good looking Matthew Porretta as the title character and featuring Anna Galvin as the buxom and scantily clad Lady Marion, Richard Ashton as the dimwitted, Lenny like Little John, Martyn Ellis as the wise and all knowing Friar tuck. and Andrew Bickell as the pompous Prince John, is a hodgepodge of magic, big-breasted women really bad plots and really, really bad acting.
How they could screw up combining Vikings and Mongols and magic arrows and dragons with the legend of Robin Hood is beyond me. Wait, did I just write that? Of course they screwed it up because all of that nonsense isn’t supposed to be a part of the Robin Hood legend. The Robin Hood legend has enough intrigue and drama and action that you don’t need all of that mystical bullshit!
What I did get from this experience, if I couldn’t have the hours of my life wasted on The New Adventures of Robin Hood, is that I got to test the new Warner Shop website that sells films and television series that may have a cult following, and therefore would not have the mass appeal to garner a major DVD release/campaign, and manufactures the DVD’s to order. This is the future of owning films for you DVD collection. Instead of the studios spending millions to market a film that tanked at the box office, or in this case, is a train wreck of a television series, fans can go to the WBshop.com and order their own personal copy.
The DVD box indicates when you receive your order, the DVD’s “manufactured from the best-quality video master currently available and has not been remastered or restored specifically for this DVD and Digital Download release.” Thus, when you’re watching The New Adventures of Robin Hood and the colors run together or they get blurry, the blame is placed on the tapes they used to create the DVD’s, not the DVD’s themselves.
As for the packaging? I was a little disappointed. The artwork in the case and the DVD’s are in color, yes, but they look and feel like they were made on someone’s Epson printer rather than the high quality we’re all accustomed to. I suppose if I’m desperate for one of the many titles available at the Warner’s Archive website, I would be willing to live with this, but not at the full retail prices they’re asking. Let’s face it; if someone is really, really hankering for The New Adventures of Robin Hood and they slap down forty bucks plus the shipping and handling, shouldn’t the quality of the merchandise match what they would get in a retail store? I think so.
I realize that these made on demand DVD’s are a new service and some of the kinks need to be worked out; but come on, this is Warner Brothers we’re talking about, not some small distributor out of Cincinnati. While the studio may feel that they’re doing fans of obscure and long out of movies and TV shows a service (okay, they are, I readily admit that), if they’re not going to send these fans something of quality, then mark down the price because your just ripping them off.
As for Robin Hood, you’re still better off renting the old animated feature in which the characters were played by animals.