Saturday, 18 April 2009

Robin Hood and His Adventures in the Great War

I just caught an episode of the BBC's Robin Hood for the first time. One thing confuses me. The creators have gone for a self-consciously anachronistic style: everyone speaks Modern English, everything's surprisingly clean, Robin has a black buddy (who is apparently able to judge whether people are lying by monitoring their pulse rate), the Sheriff of Nottingham is Keith Allen etc etc etc. Obviously, it would be churlish to complain about these things; my problem is this: why didn't they go further?

Like, why not have Robin keep fans up-to-date with his exploits by Twittering them? The episodes are recorded prior to broadcast (erm, naturally), but there's no reason they couldn't film him writing his updates (on his Blackberry--actually an excellent tool for a medieval guerrilla, in my estimation) and have an intern post them at the appropriate time. They could even introduce an interactive element, by filming alternate endings and having Robin ask the audience how he should proceed.

Then again, why limit the anachronisms to present-day phenomena? Robin could have a computerised bow; that would explain his supernatural archery skills, making the show, if anything, more realistic. Plus, it could make sassy remarks in a dry, digitised monotone; like KITT from Knight Rider, only a tool of murder. Or perhaps he could be a time traveller from World War One, fighting Middle Ages injustice with the aid of a service revolver and a canister of mustard gas. Each episode could end with him reading a poem about the horrors of (class?) war.

I'm all for post-modern mash-ups, but the BBC's half-hearted efforts in this field leave me cold. The irreverent treatment of historical accuracy in both Robin Hood and Merlin could be interesting and meaningful (don't ask me how, I'm not a 'creative'), but instead it's just a novelty with which to dress up a couple of mediocre adventure-soaps. Thoroughly hack-tastic.

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