A 1980s retelling of the Robin Hood legend, with a large dose of Celtic mysticism. In this version, Robin is The Chosen One, the spiritual son of pagan forest-god Herne the Hunter. Notable for being the first version to get away from the green-tights-and-hat-with-a-feather image in favour of something a band of 12th century outlaws might actually wear, and for introducing the idea of a Saracen outlaw.Also notable for portraying King Richard as just as bad as Prince John, although that didn't catch on as much. Uniquenote Though the 2011 film takes a similar approach in that it has two different noblemen Robert of Locksleys. in that it had two different Robins — one a woodsman, the other a nobleman — allowing it to cover the two different versions of Robin found in the various (contradictory) tales. The original, played by Michael Praed, appeared in the first two series; Jason Connery played his replacement in the third and final series. There were plans for a fourth series but the production company ran out of money; there were several attempts up until 2010 to revive it, including plans for a movie and several attempts to pitch a new series to ITV, none of which came to anything (and the recent death of writer Richard Carpenter has likely put an end to such plans for good).Also known for putting Irish music group Clannad on the map (apart from their theme from Harry's Game).
Robin Of Sherwood provides examples of:
'80s Hair: Marion's hair is ginormous. Both Robins sport typical 80s-style mullets.
Ambiguously Gay: Definitely Philip Mark, the replacement Sheriff of Nottingham, who is described as a "posturing catamite", seems deliberately touchy-feely with the men that surround him, and at one point says to Guy: "you must show me this tunnel of yours", which results in a startled look from Guy, even though Philip is ostensibly refering to a secret passage in the castle.
Anti-Hero: Will Scarlet. It's strange to see any member of the Merry Men as a borderline sociopath.
"Which ear is your favorite!? Your RIGHT one... or your LEFT one?" with accompanying indications via dagger. This to a church abbot.
Arbitrary Scepticism: In the episode The Swords of Wayland, the outlaws scoff at the idea of demons terrorizing a village, even though they had come up against evil spells and Satanic rituals in the past.
Arc Words: "Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten."
Ascended Extra: The series did not plan on introducing a Saracen member of Robin's team. They introduced a Saracen slave who was scripted to die fighting Robin in defence of his master. The actor was such a great guy, however, that they rewrote the scene so that he disarmed Robin, held a blade to his throat, then grinned and let him go and became a mostly non-speaking extra. As the series progressed his story was fleshed out and he owned a couple of episodes by the end. Almost all versions of the story in film and TV since have featured a Middle Eastern Merry Man, including Azeem in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Djaq in the late-2000s BBC Robin Hood.
Attempted Rape: Prince John and Marion. It veers into Black Comedy Rape as Marion stalls for time by suggesting a game of "conquest", in which she gets to verbally and physically abuse him as he tries to seduce her.
Author Appeal: At the same time that Richard Carpenter deserves credit for giving Marion back her street-cred (she was quite the Badass in the old ballads, before Hollywood got hold of her and turned her into a Distressed Damsel) by making her a useful and skilled member of the outlaws, she also goes through an awful lot of bondage and brainwashing in his scripts.
Likewise, most evil villains usually had a sultry concubine in tow.
The Dung Ages: Nearly every peasant character is filthy, with Robin of Loxley a notable exception. The nobility isn't that much better off; Sir Guy of Gisburne is shocked when he learns that Prince John takes two baths a week (the Sheriff, on the other hand, takes a few baths on screen - and on one occasion shares the tub with Gisburne).
Enemy Mine: The Sheriff temporarily teams up with Robin in The Sheriff of Nottingham.
Evil Uncle: Edgar to Robert of Huntingdon, and the Sheriff to Martin.
Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The show was a rather eclectic mix of characters that ascribed to Christianity, mysticism, paganism, Satanism, atheism or Judaism, all of which had elements of their differing belief-systems manifest in the show: golems, spirits, demons, witches, sorcerers and pagan gods.
Ironically, also a Historical Hero Upgrade, as Prince John is still played as nasty but arguably has more dignity and intelligence than he had in real life.
In double irony, Richard was a pompous warrior, who couldn't speak a word of English, despised England itself (but appreciated the income from its taxes) and was the reason for John having to tax the place dry, in order to pay for his wars and his ransom when he got captured on return from Crusade. John was an awful warrior, but an excellent administrator, and it was probably largely due to his skill with money that England didn't go bankrupt thanks to his brother. Alas for history, romantic thugs were, and are, far more popular than competent administrators.
The Sheriff ropes in Robin and the outlaws to rescue his kidnapped nephew Martin (who he's only interested in due to his lands and fortune) only to find that a few days with the outlaws is enough to destroy Martin's adulation of his Evil Uncle and decide that he's never going to see him again.
Inadequate Inheritor: Isadora is considered this by her father on account of her being a girl. Though he calls in Robin to be his Spiritual Successor as the guardian of Caerleon, Robin declines and points out Isadora as a much better option.
Ironic Name: The elderly protector of Caerleon and the Round Table is a man called Lord Agrivaine, said to be the latest in a long line of Agrivaines dating back to the time of Camelot. Anyone who knows their Arthurian mythology will know that the original Agrivaine would have been the last person willing to guard the Round Table.
Left Hanging: In The Enchantment, one of Baron de Belleme's concubines is successful in resurrecting his dead body, but the Baron is last seen in his castle, planning his next scheme... and that's the last we ever see or hear of him.
Also the finale of the entire series, in which Marion opts to reject Robin's marriage proposal and become a nun. Richard Carpenter was relying on a fourth series in order to resolve this issue, but he never got the chance.
In a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, our final shot of the Sheriff and Gisborne is them merrily taking Robin's dead body back to Nottingham in a cart, unaware that the corpse is actually just a golem that is already crumbling away. Prince John's inevitable reaction to this is tantalizingly left up to the imagination.
Moral Guardians: Richard Carpenter got into trouble with this lot in his use of Herne, who was misinterpreted as a Satanic figure.
Mary Whitehouse and her organisation also complained bitterly about Carpenter conducting Satanic masses in a real abbey (Swords of Wayland). When, at an archery meet, this was mentioned to him, Carpenter wryly concluded: "These people don't know how TV is made. They just don't realise that just because we walk through the front door of a location, it doesn't mean in the next scene we're in its actual crypt and not a studio set."
Naked People Are Funny: After Will and Much think they've been infected by leprosy they tear their clothes off and jump in the river. The other outlaws find it amusing until they learn what happened.
Neutral Female: Used positively. Marion wasn't much use in a fist-fight (though good with a longbow) and knew that the best way of helping was simply to stay out of the way.
Deconstructed with Queen Isabella. During an assassination attempt she flees in terror, and watches as Robin and her attacker fight, actively following them through the church just so she can watch them go at it. Finally Robin has the assassin unarmed and at his mercy, at which point Isabella shoots him in the back with a crossbow.
Sarak's woman, shown in the Flash Back during which Nasir and Sarak fight.
Red Shirt: Every so often an episode would open with a brand-new outlaw established among the core group. Their job was to die before the 45 minutes were up.
Remember the New Guy: In one of the final episodes we are introduced to the Sheriff's nephew Martin. Though we've never seen him before, he's apparently been living in Castle Nottingham for the past two years.
Rightful King Returns: Deconstructed mercilessly when King Richard comes back from the Crusades - and all Richard Carpenter had to do was accurately depict the historical events surrounding his return.
Shown Their Work: This troper was deeply impressed that the writers not only knew the name of the late 12th c. Earl of Huntingdon but that he was a member of the Scottish royal family. BTW David of Huntingdon's eldest son WAS named Robert, though he is supposed to have died young - or been disinherited?
According to the DVD Commentary, one left-handed extra whose scene required her to write in a ledger was asked to write with her right hand considering the stigma against left-handed people in those days.
They also demonstrate a surprisingly-accurate view of England in the middle ages (save for the obviously fantastic bits), up to and including the incorporation of historical ephemera (like the fact that King Richard once forced his noblemen to bid on their titles at an auction in Nottingham). Most of their take upon the Robin Hood legend is also well-rooted in oft-times obscure earlier versions.
The actor who played Friar Tuck also expressed his admiration for the attention to detail, noting that one particular director would refuse to film a forest scene if the location included any species of tree that wasn't around in the Middle Ages.
When The Knights Templar showed up, one of them spoke only German (although he clearly understood his leader's French). He addressed the leader not with any of the ordinary German words for leader or commander, but as "Komtur" — a word that refers only to a commander in a knightly order such as the Templars.
Most writers who failed to do their research would have had Marion riding sidesaddle, as the 1938 film does; it's "common knowledge" that 'proper' women didn't ride astride until less than a century ago. In fact, a sidesaddle that allows a woman to control her own horse at a gallop (as seen in the film) wasn't invented until the time of Queen Victoria. Marion riding astride is not only historically accurate, but impressively researched.
Too Happy to Live: A non-fatal variation, though it's played straight in almost every other respect: Robin and Marion confess their love and prepare to marry, the outlaws and the villagers steal back the grain that was taken from them by the Sheriff, everyone is getting ready for the celebrations that night... and then on returning to Wickham they discover that all the women and children have been taken, the rescued grain has been burnt and the wedding has to be postponed and eventually cancelled when Marion is lead to believe that Robin has died.
Trust Password: In a sense. The new Robin is trying to muster the group again, but Will Scarlet says gloomily that they've lost the fire that they had with the old.
Robert of Huntingdon: No, Scarlet. Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten. (Scarlet looks thoroughly spooked) Scarlet: What did you say? Robert: You heard me. Scarlet: No ... it wasn't you I heard.
The Voiceless: Nasir in the first season, on account of the stuntman playing him having no acting experience whatsoever, but being added as a regular at the last minute. They gave him some acting classes between seasons, and his lines gradually accumulate.
Wardrobe Malfunction: Will Scarlet in a short, wet robe, climbing up a sheer rock face with no underwear. It perhaps wouldn't have been so bad if the camera hadn't been positioned low, pointing directly up.
We Can Rule Together: Adam Bell tries this on Robin, and is rejected. In the very next episode Arthur of Brittany tells Robin that he'll give him wealth and security, only for Queen Isabella to shoot him in the back midway through his speech.
We Want Our Jerk Back: Happens to an extent the third season when Prince John appoints a new, even worse, Sheriff of Nottingham.
Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Marion plays one of these on the other outlaws after they get on her nerves. She jumps on Robin's back and begins to pummel him, only for the others to gather around and cheer her own. Robin throws her off and she fakes an injury, and when the others help her to her feet, all gentleness and concern, she begins to beat them with a switch.