Sunday, October 15, 2006

This week’s My Name is Earl featured cats and my two favorite Cyndi Lauper songs. And, of course, it was hilarious. Three reasons for me to keep watching and loving the show.

After two episodes, I’m enjoying the BBC’s new Robin Hood TV series. It’s not perfect (I could do without the flying arrow “thwip” sound effect every time they fly in a location caption), but it’s a lot of fun. I can’t remember my first exposure to Robin Hood—probably the Errol Flynn movie—but he’s one of those classic heroes whose stories I always find myself drawn to. (Others on that list would be Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, the Shadow, Batman, and Blackhawk. And that’s probably it.) So I was probably preconditioned to like this show coming out the gate.

The reaction I’ve seem so far—which is very little—seems to be mixed. One review mostly enjoyed it, but while I agree with some of their criticisms—they also dislike the thwips—I think some of the comments display a certain naïveté and ignorance of the demands of popular television. Complaining that the version of Robin Hood seen on BBC1 on Saturdays at 7:00 pm (I think) features actors who are cleaner and more handsome than 12th century outlaws would actually be—because there are so many dirty, ugly leads on television these days—just seems like nitpicking. Similarly, reaction on writer Paul Cornell’s blog seems divided. One poster—rather tactlessly, considering that Cornell, in addition to being one of the nicest humans on the planet, is also one of the writers on Robin Hood--described the series as “one of the worst things I’ve seen on TV In a long time.” Which, you know, entitled to his opinion and all that, but how nice that he has managed to miss so many other shows. Particularly the last Robin Hood series that I can recall, starring Matthew Poretta, and made during the height of the Xena-fueled syndicated fantasy/adventure series boom. This is why superlatives are a bad thing.

Me, I’m getting a kick out of the action, the humor, and the topical references to (metaphorically) the Iraq war. Those references do border on the heavy-handed, but if it’s a choice between something that tries to make a point about something important and something that doesn’t, I fall on the side of the one that tries. (And when it succeeds like in The Girl in the Café, it’s a beautiful thing.

So, I’m not as fanatical about Robin Hood as I am, say, Doctor Who or Spooks or Lost, I am definitely hooked, and plan on sticking with it through all 13 episodes.

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