1 August 2003 | DarthBill
Jason Connery VS. Michael Praed
My dad taped a bunch of these off TV when they were imported here to the States and he recently re-purchased them off the net in two gift packs dividing the two seasons and two Robin Hoods as "The Praed Collection" and "The Connery Collection". Since I grew up watching this by many fires on misty and snow bound nights, it is probably my favorite telling of the Robin Hood story.
What I liked best about this show growing up and still like best (although I do have more appreciation for Judi Trott) was the mysticism of the show. All the other tellings told of Robin Hood's rise to heroism and then his ultimate triumph and then that was it and while it was certainly fun, this series seemed to have more meat to its bones because of its introducing all those mythical elements. The music was also pretty cool, haunting and beautiful.
After watching this and "Excalibur" one misty day, I noticed that some of the myths here were similar to Arthurian legend. Herne is to both Robin Hoods (Praed, Connery) what Merlin was to King Arthur. And the two Robins are later given a magic sword, Albion (which later became the name of our family dog).
The show ran for about 4 seasons I think, the first two featured Michael Praed as Robin of Loxley, and the last two featured his successor, Robert of Huntington, played by Jason Connery (Sean's son; Sean also played Robin Hood in case you didn't know, in "Robin & Marion" opposite Audrey Hepburn's Maid Marion). But both Michael and Jason's characters become known as Robin Hood and/or the Hooded Man. I was surprised to read in the archives of reviews that many people prefer Jason over Michael, since people often get more attached to the first guy (maybe it's name recognition). I think they're both capable actors and they both brought something different to the show, but while Michael and Jason's Robin Hoods were both likable characters, I think I like Michael better as he had that dark, brooding intensity about him. This is not to say that Jason, while more of a pretty boy, did not have his moments (the best part of Jason's reign was watching him struggle to prove he was a worthy successor). What I find ironic is that Jason's character, Robert/Robin 2, has the noble man who rejects his heritage origin that is often attributed to Michael's character, Robin of Loxley.
The rest of the cast was great too. Judi Trott was a beautiful and believable Marion who had to stand up to have a place for herself in Sherwood. Ray Winstone was an intense and dangerous Will Scarlet. Clive Mantle was a lovable Little John, as was Phil Rose as Friar Tuck, Peter L. Williams as Much, and Mark Ryan as the strong silent type, Nasir. Nikolas Grace was a great Sheriff, Robert Addie an over the top Gisbon.
A great show with great stories and a great cast. To this day I wish they could have gotten Michael Praed or Jason Connery to reprise the Robin Hood role for "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves". I'll take them over Kevin Costner any day.