'Robin of Sherwood - Set 2'
(Jason Connery, et al / 5-Disc DVD / NR / (1985) 2007 / Acorn Media)
Overview: Conclusion to the acclaimed, definitive retelling of the Robin Hood legend with breakthrough roles for Jason Connery and Ray Winstone (Indiana Jones 4, The Departed, Sexy Beast); 5-volume DVD box set includes the final 13 episodes with more than nine hours of special features.
DVD Verdict: As great as the first series was, I consider series two to be the true highlight of the entire 'Robin of Sherwood' saga. All the faces are back from the first series, even Guy of Gisburne who had a rather an unpleasant finish in the last episode of series one. Although the director of the previous series, Ian Sharp, didn't figure, the magical, mystical nature of the first instalment is still present here in abundance. What makes this series stand out is the truly fantastic level of storytelling, as the plot to each episode is top notch. 'The Prophecy' has the evil Prince John arriving in Nottingham with a mysterious prisoner who Robin must rescue.
'The Children of Israel' surrounds a family of jews who are persecuted by the sheriff, and Robin decides to help them. Then we have 'Lord of the Trees', which sees Gisburne hire a vicious band of mercenary soldiers to try to hunt Robin down. Then we have 'The Enchantment', which sees the return of the Baron de Belleme from the first two episodes of series one. The Baron commands his servant to try and bewitch Robin.
Then we come to the true masterpiece of the entire series, the two-part episode 'The Swords of Wayland', which surrounds an evil coven of devil
worshippers who try and bring Lucifer into the world. I remember this episode scared the hell out of me when I was little, and even now it maintains a high level of horror, as well as adventure and excitement. Finally, we have 'The Greatest Enemy', the ending of which you will not believe.
The extras are a worthwhile addition, in particular the Making-of Documentary and a small number of hilarious outtakes. The scene where Nicholas Grace turns his collar over to reveal a tin star is priceless and it shows how well the team gelled together. In short, if you were slightly disappointed by the season one DVDs because it wasn't quite as good as you remembered, this may well restore your faith in your memory -- and in the critical faculties of your younger self.
But on the whole you've got 13 episodes of superb quality, intense excitement, and blazing action. Highly entertaining. Watch out for superb guest appearances from Philip Davis as Prince John and John Nettles (yes! Bergerac himself) as Peter De Leon. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Nine Commentary Tracks
Two Retrospective Documentaries
Clannad: Scoring Robin of Sherwood
U.S. Credit Sequence