Designated Hero: Downplayed. The concept of "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor," since Robin Hood and his Merry Men basically mugged people who traveled through Sherwood Forest and gave their belongings to those who they thought deserved it more. Of course, in nearly every story they are asshole victims (and their wealth is being given away to the people they are keeping in abject poverty), and this keeps it sympathetic. In some versions, Robin doesn't just randomly mug people but instead robs the nobles who are deliberately levying taxes in their own names (illegally) and giving it back to the people who rightfully owned the money in the first place.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: While Robin Hood started as a figure of English folklore, he is popular around the world, as are the many adaptations of his stories.
Accidental Innuendo: "Love", the song that plays over the Falling-in-Love Montage, contains the lyric "Now you're all grown up / Inside of me", This makes the next line ("Oh, how fast / these moments flee") make Robin Hood come off as a Speed Sex master...
Critical Dissonance: It's very polarizing among critics and historians (and the Disney animators themselves), but nonetheless it was a big financial hit and has been loved by generations of Disney fans. It's also one of the higher-rated pre-Renaissance Disney films on IMDb, at 7.6/10 (for further comparison, Frozen is at 7.5, though the latter came out during the digital era and as such was hit by a ton of It's Popular, Now It Sucks!).
The increasingly despicable ways the Sheriff collects taxes and has no concern for the welfare of the people from whom he's collecting.
First we see him hit up Otto, the blacksmith, who has a broken leg - and he even pounds on the bandaged foot to make coins fall out of their hiding place.
Next, he crashes a child's birthday party to confiscate his present, which is one entire farthing.note To really drive home how despicable this one is, a farthing was literally worth one-fourth of a penny. And in the words of the kid's mother, the whole family "scrimped and saved to give it to him," which should tell you just how dirt poor they really were.
At the same party, he steals the coins which had been collected by an elderly blind beggar (who is actually Robin in disguise, but the Sheriff doesn't know it).
Finally, we see him take the single coin from the church's poor box, despite the Church being exempt from taxation. His Faux Affably Evil behavior while doing all this is the only thing which makes it more hilarious than horrifying.
Also, when the Sheriff and the vultures build a scaffolding to hang Friar Tuck, Nutsy decides to test out the trapdoor while the Sheriff is standing on it. The Sheriff's impatient expression really sells the scene.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: It's adorable how Skippy's youngest sister trails after him and his friends, shouting "Wait for me!" When she shouts it in the climax, however, after she's accidentally left behind during the jailbreak? Utter Nightmare Fuel and Adult Fear for her mother.
Robin's hat is too big for Skippy, and King Richard's crown is too big for Prince John. If you look closely, one of Skippy's animators is Don Bluth, who went on to use similar imagery in An American Tail. (Also doubles as a Genius Bonus because the same metaphor is used in Shakespeare.)
A noble lion king who tolerates his resentful, smaller, weaker brother to be close to him, only to then be deposed by way of said brother's treacherous scheming. Are we talking about King Richard and Prince John, or about Mufasa and Scar?
Hmm, for new Disney fans, Robin Hood looks a bit familiar.
Sir Hiss recognizing Robin's disguise by looking up his ass. The Mega Man series had a similar occurrence with Mega Man recognizing Guts Man when Rush tore off a part of his disguise, revealing his butt. This spawned the Guts Man's ass meme that ended up as one of the most widespread Mega Man memes out there.
Friar Tuck being a badger is this when you consider that Hufflepuff House from the Harry Potter series has a badger for a mascot, and their house ghost is the Fat Friar.
Sir Hiss cheers up Prince John by using his tongue to tickle Prince John's ear, and when Little John in disguise befriends Prince John, Sir Hiss behaves in an extremely jealous manner. Hiss doesn't do the tickling thing intentionally (he is a snake, after all), and while it does tickle PJ, he finds it annoying. On the other hand, the fact that Hiss sleeps in John's bedroom with him, for no discernible reason, is a bit... questionable. (He trusts him that much?) And he identifies Robin Hood at the tournament by looking up into his disguise. From the rear.
The film's Ambiguously Gay portrayal of Prince John is kind of funny, considering that historically speaking, Richard's the one whose sexuality is up for debate.
Love to Hate: Prince John and the Sheriff. Both are comical villains who enjoy their evil so much that their being thwarted by the hero is part of the comedy.
Given that the Church was an independent political entity that would object to this simply for the affront of a noble executing a priest on his own authority rather than attempting to have him punished via church law, there are reasons other than morality to be shocked by such an order. Not to mention that it could also be seen as an affront to God Himself.
Interesting historical context: John and Richard's father, Henry II, allegedly ordered the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, assassinated. Certainly not an excuse (especially since Henry II simply misspoke out of annoyance at the wrong time in reality), but it may possibly be a reason why Prince John would even consider it. Of course, the political uproar Becket's death caused might also be a good reason why Prince John should know better.
The Sheriff crossed it himself by taking money (one farthing, to be exact) from the church's poor box (during a time period when Churches were tax-exempt), and then arrests Friar Tuck for "high treason to the crown" when the good priest, having finally lost his patience, goes at him and fights him.
Narm Charm: Friar Tuck's sudden outburst of "GET OUTTA MY CHURCH!" is Narm for some. For others, it's a Crowning Moment Of Awesome. Given that this was Andy Devine doing his voice, it's bound to have either reaction.
Older Than They Think: There are two lion brothers. One's the king, and his lankier brother, resentful of him, manages to get him out of the throne, so he can claim it himself. After he does, things go downhill, making everyone hate him. Sound familiar? Amusingly, this may be more coincidence (or a result of historical, literary, and iconographical references) than a deliberate echo—Robin Hood is based on English history, Lion King on Hamlet which is an English play, and England (particularly its kings) has long been associated with lions, both in symbolism and heraldry.
Popular with Furries: Though Fritz the Cat was released the year before, its target audience made it less of a gateway drug to the Furry Fandom than Robin Hood became. A very common thing to hear from a lot of furries was that this was their earliest memory and possibly their first foray into the fandom's main interest. It definitely helped that it was released on VHS at a time when the Internet boom was only a few years down the road. Many furries who grew up in the 70s through mid 90s cite this film as an influence on them. Though other films like The Lion King, Kung Fu Panda, or Zootopia are more frequent references for the latest generation, Robin Hood remains a major influence, with Robin and Maid Marian being the subjects of a good amount of fan works. During Zootopia's lead-up, it wasn't uncommon to see art putting Nick Wilde together with Robin.
Sampled Up: A vocal sample from the opening "Whistle Stop" song was sped up and interpolated in the famous Hamster Dance song, though casual listeners might not recognize the sample in its context.
So Okay, It's Average: The critics' reaction to the film at the time it premiered is that it is nothing special or unique and can even appear as cobbled together from previous Disney films.
The development process for Robin Hood ended up forcing the animators to recycle animation from other movies to make up for the bare-bones budget they were given... and boy does it show. Notice how in the last shot of "Phony King of England," Maid Marian's frame rate is different from the rest.
When Little John and Friar Tuck are escaping with a Carriage with all the freed prisoner, they're clearly using the same cel during the whole shot, as they're all perfectly still.
If the Sheriff had won the archery tournament, he could've raped Maid Marian.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: During the jailbreak sequence, it would have be welcome to see Marian and Kluck helping in some fashion; but they are instead left in Sherwood and not seen again until the end of the film.
Values Dissonance: The fact that Maid Marian is almost solely defined by her relationship with Robin Hood usually rubs people the wrong way these days. Strangely enough, the original myths made her comparatively more proactive despite being hundreds of years older. She even beat Robin Hood once without knowing who he was, making her a Faux Action Girl at least.
Vindicated by Cable: Due to its original lackluster standing and not doing well in theatrical reissues, Disney decided in 1984 to release Robin Hood as the premiere film in the Walt Disney Classics VHS/Laserdisc collection since they didn't feel it had much future in theaters (there were some serious plans on releasing Robin Hood on VHS even before Eisner, Wells, and Katzenberg entered the Disney lot). This made it a decent hit and set the stage for Pinocchio's subsequent video release, which changed the game altogether. Robin Hood did very well on video overall and was eventually released from the Vault, becoming a serious dark horse in the canon, and that VHS and subsequent tapes helped build up to 2016's Zootopia with Nick Wilde; that film is one of the highest grossing and highest rated films of 2016.
What an Idiot!: Prince John is one of the least competent villains in the Disney canon for a lot of reasons. It becomes very clear in his first scene, when his coach runs into Robin Hood and Little John dressed in drag, advertising fortune-telling.
You'd expect: Everyone in the royal convoy to ignore them and keep moving, noting that the "Fortune Tellers" look rather strange, and one of them (Little John) has a very masculine voice for a woman.
Instead: Only Sir Hiss is suspicious, but is shut down and then locked in a casket by Prince John, who buys Robin Hood's "fortune telling", hook, line, and sinker, and invites him into the coach. The procession is subsequently robbed blind by Robin and John, even taking the prince's clothes. Just for good measure, they also steal the gold hubcaps on the coach's wheels, which disables it and drops Prince John into the muddy road in the ensuing mad dash.
Then: Later, in the third act of the film, the Sheriff arrests Friar Tuck, and Prince John concocts a plan to use Tuck to bring Robin Hood to him. They condemn Tuck to die, and then set up the gallows and guards for Hood's impending arrival.
You'd expect: Everybody in the castle to take their caffeine pills and stay awake through the night, likely knowing that's when Hood will strike, and they'll be alert and ready for him.
Instead: The place is rather empty, and only about twenty rhinos, ten wolves, and two vultures are actually awake and patrolling. Prince John, Sir Hiss, and the Sheriff are all shown to be sound asleep. The vultures are quickly taken out of the picture, and while Little John rescues the townsfolk and Friar Tuck, Robin Hood climbs into Prince John's bedroom and loots it like the coach at the beginning of the film. Hiss finally wakes up, and starts a commotion that brings the guards out, but in the ensuing battle, the Sheriff sets fire to the castle tower, destroying it and at least damaging the castle itself. Robin Hood escapes within an inch of his life, and with all the tax money and prisoners.
This even happens within the show itself to some degree. After three seasons of snapping from one characterisation to the other like a light-switch most of the fandom just shrugged and picked whatever interpretation they liked best.
Angst Dissonance: Throughout season one Robin is haunted by his memories of war in the Holy Land, struggling with nightmares, post-traumatic stress, and survivor's guilt. At the end of season two his beloved Marian is stabbed through the stomach and dies in his arms, something that is only intermittently referred to in series 3, even though she dies in the Holy Land, the source of his entire first-season angst.
Angst? What Angst?: After Marian's murder, Robin goes on a vengeance-fueled rampage. Then... he gets over it. He's back to his cheerful old self by the next episode, in which he meets his new Love Interest.
As it turns out, he's always been this way. In the Whole Episode Flashback, he's shown as a child, smiling and laughing amidst a group of cheering peasants... approximately five minutes after his father's apparent death
Anticlimax Boss: Although Prince John was played by Toby Stephens, which automatically makes his entire performance a Funny Moment, it was also true that John was less menacing than the Sheriff of Nottingham and just as easily bested by the outlaws. Foppish and cowardly, Prince John is eventually run out of Nottingham with his tail between his legs.
Ass Pull: Where Tuck gets the explosive needed to destroy Nottingham castle from in Something Worth Fighting For is seen as this, although there was some attempt to explain it in-story.
The canopies (sun-visors?) on the parapets of Nottingham Castle that never existed until Robin needed one to use as a hang-glider.
The writers seemed to think that if enough outlaws fell madly in love with Kate (they at various points call her: "a treasure," "a good fighter," "amazing", and "brave, compassionate and beautiful"), the audience would too. They didn't.
And "perfect." Don't forget the perfect, spoken before Kate joined the band (and only in the second episode with her in it!) Oh, Much.
She even gets to shill herself a couple of times, telling John that "I'm not some stupid girl," and Much that "I can take care of myself." Both statements are patently untrue.
The audio books also go nuts with the Kate shilling. The Dambusters opens with the following declaration: Kate, what a wonderful companion, fighter, friend, wit, beauty. You'd be excused for thinking that the narrator was being sarcastic.
Though it does feel like we were thrown a bit of a bone at the very end of the show, as Robin refuses to so much as look back at her as he heads off to die alone, permanently reunited with Marian.
Cry for the Devil: Guy and Isabella in the Whole Episode Flashback are portrayed as socially awkward and ostracized kids. In the finale, Guy strokes his sister's hair, and later Isabella casts a regretful glance over her brother's body, reminding the audience that (as Isabella said earlier) they loved each other once.
Damsel Scrappy: Kate. Kate. A hundred times Kate! She's pushy, loud and generally useless, where in contrast Marian was an Action Girl who at least had the dignity to be right when she was pushy, and was never louder than was needed. And yes, true to the trope, all of Kate's numerous kidnappings were due to her inability to keep up, defend herself, or know when to keep her mouth shut. In her capacity as a "damsel" scrappy, she's been captured by guards more times in one season than any of the other outlaws have in three. The words: "Where's Kate?" could be a drinking game.
Robin got worse as the seasons went on. His "no-kill" policy was chucked in the second season when it became apparent that he was prepared to kill in the name of King Richard (even if it meant shooting unarmed priests and mentally-deranged spies), and by the third season he was shooting guards in the back whilst still insisting that he only killed when he needed to. He also treated his outlaws like crap (especially poor Much), started a relationship with a girl he was barely interested in despite knowing that his best friend liked her, attacked a frightened woman in her own bedroom after she's had to kill a man in self-defence, and shot dead an executioner who was just doing his job (and then having the gall to tell the aforementioned woman that not only is she "a murderer" for killing a man who was threatening to rape/strangle her, but that he only kills when he absolutely must).
The third season also introduced Kate, who was shilled as brave, compassionate and altogether wonderful even though she was never anything but rude, nasty and shrill to everyone around her, and once demanded that a terrified woman be left to be raped and strangled by her sadistic husband, stating that "she doesn't deserve our help."
Die for Our Ship: Whether Marian was better off with Guy or with Robin is a debate that still rages in forums to this day, despite the fact that all three characters are now dead. And that Guy murdered Marian.
There was also some squabbling over the Will/Djaq/Allan Love Triangle, and who was the best partner (if any) for Kate.
Will and Djaq managed to survive the carnage by being Put on a Bus.
In fact, many - if not most - of the one-shot guest stars ended up being more popular than many of the main characters, including Matilda, the German Count, Meg, Carter, Queen Eleanor, the Fool, Benjamin Palmer, Davina, Eve, and Sir Jasper.
Fanon Discontinuity: Most fans disowned the show after the Season 2 finale in which Marian was murdered by Gisbourne, and never even bothered to watch Season 3, due to introducing new love interest Kate, having Robin begin a relationship with Gisborne's married sister, revealing that Robin and Guy share a half-brother called Archer and turning Allan-a-Dale's character arc into a Shoot The Shaggy Dog Story.
Fan-Preferred Couple: The Guy/Marian ship ended with one half of it murdering the other. Doesn't stop the shippers.
Fight Scene Failure: When Marian punches out Guy of Gisborne at the altar, her fist clearly doesn't connect with his face. Other fight scenes amongst the outlaws were rather clumsy, particularly whenever Robin blocked a sword-blow from an opponent with his bow. It's made of wood, people! And the fight between Robin and Guy in "Tattoo, What Tattoo?" involves both actors obligingly lining themselves up for the other one to more easily punch them.
Franchise Original Sin: The moment that the writers became more interested in Guy of Gisborne (and specifically, his volatile relationship with Maid Marian) than with every single other character on the show. This led to more and more screen-time being devoted to Guy and Marian as a potential couple, until the point where the writers (presumably) realized that they'd gone too far with it, and needed to derail it pronto. Their solution was for Guy to stab Marian to death in a jealous rage at the end of Season 2. There are plenty of reasons why Season Three is considered terrible, but it's mainly because that without Marian, the story had absolutely no emotional center. There was simply nothing left to care about, or to look forward to.
In an early first season episode, reluctant hero Allan-a-Dale asks: "What is the point of all of us dying?" as a way of getting out of a rescue mission. In season three he dies the most pointless, meaningless death imaginable.
Foz Allen and Dominic Minghella are on record for stating that Friar Tuck was omitted in seasons one and two because they "didn't want a comic relief character". When Tuck is finally introduced, he ends up being utterly humorless.
Growing the Beard: The second season is generally considered to be of a much higher standard than the first, with a more consistent tone between episodes and better character development.
He's Just Hiding!: There were quite a few "Marian's not dead" theories floated following the series 2 finale.
There's quite a bit of homosexual subtext between the Sheriff and Guy of Gisbourne. By season two, they must have known, as it features the Sheriff rolling onto Guy in bed, offering to kiss him, bathing in front of him, and so on. And if you think it's coincidence, his first line of the season is, with his arms spread wide, "Tell me you'd rather have a woman than all this!" He was referring to a map showing a large parcel of ill-gotten land, but still.
Actually, the allegations of Robin Hood and his Merry Men being a little too "merry" for the Church's liking was what introduced Maid Marian into the legend.
And Robin and Much in the new series are a bickering married couple, most notably when Robin cradles a sobbing Anti-Villain, after he realizes his personal reasons to want Robin dead are based on a lie, and Much complains, "You've never held me like that!"
Then there's Allan/Will, who were extremely close during Season One and almost eloped ran away together in the season finale. Technically, both of them had crushes on Djaq, but the fact that she spent the entire season disguised as a boy certainly muddied the water a little bit...
Not to mention Guy/Allan. After a bout of torture (in which Guy throws a bucket of water over a shirtless Allan), Allan agrees to provide inside information on Robin and the outlaws. Guy then proceeds to change his clothing in front of Allan, dress him up in matching black leather, and have an erotic dream about him. Even the Sheriff catches on, referring to Allan as "Gisborne's boy" and remarking "Kissing in the moonlight?" when he walks in on them together in the dark.
In Season Three, Allan (who by this stage is well and truly the fandom's Little Black Dress) is often paired with Much. Again, there was something of a Love Triangle between the two of them and Kate, but the two of them seemed far more interested in each other, and half the fandom speculated that if it didn't work out with Kate, they were more than likely to start making out with each other instead.
Finally, there's Robin/Guy, mixed with a hefty dose of Foe Yay. They're all the other ever talks about, Robin ditches his new girlfriend Kate in order to go on a field trip with Guy, and eventually Guy dies in Robin's arms. For a second there, it honestly looks like Robin is going to kiss him goodbye.
Inferred Holocaust: The series ends with both Robin Hood and Maid Marian (and a couple of Merry Men) dead, and the remaining outlaws promising to fight on in his name and defeat Prince John. The show was cancelled after this, but since history tells people that in a few years time the prince becomes King John, they obviously failed utterly (and may well have been killed in the attempt).
Jerkass Woobie: Guy of Gisborne stabs unarmed women, leaves babies in the woods to die, burns down houses, and sells his sister to a rapist. He's also arrogant, selfish, and has a vicious temper that causes mass suffering to him and everyone around him. And yet, whenever anyone shows him a shred of kindness, he blossoms like a delicate little flower in the sun... the fact that he's a Draco in Leather Pants doesn't hurt either.
Isabella certainly qualifies as a Magnificent Bitch. In only five episodes as the Sheriff of Nottingham, she manages to achieve more than the old Sheriff did in two and a half seasons, and is the individual directly responsible for the deaths of Allan, Robin, Guy and Thornton.
Though there are exceptions, the former group's fanfiction usually follows the basic "rape fantasy" scenario, in which Marian is forced to marry Guy against her will, only to find out that he's quite an acrobat in the bedroom, whilst the latter group either has Marian apologize for to him for her behavior, then treat him to some Redemptive Sex, or cuts out Marian and pairs Guy with a self-insert character.
Narm: Oh. So. Much. Actually, much of the Narm in the first two seasons (which were rather tongue-in-cheek) would probably be considered Narm Charm, but after the intense Mood Whiplash of the S2 finale in which Marian is brutally impaled on a sword, the fact that many subsequent episodes still include ridiculous scenarios results in a veritable onslaught of Narmtastic scenes.
Special mention must go to Guy's "secret weapon" that he plans to use to kill Robin Hood. He's carting around a sinister-looking box, as Prince John's elite team of soldiers surround the outlaws. The box opens...and out comes the oldest, tiniest, mangiest, most worn-out lion you've ever seen in your life. The outlaws react with terror as the decrepit beast waddles toward them at a snail's pace, looking like it just wants to find a quiet place to lie down and die.
Robin hang-gliding from the castle parapets. It's played for laughs, but it still destroys brain cells.
Whenever Kate has an emotional scene, especially if she has the forehead braid on at the time.
In the second season, during the death scene of Marian. On the one hand, the build-up involves a confusing and contrived sequence of events, and the death scene itself is drawn out to an utterly ridiculous extent in which Marian has a sword in her stomach and yet is able to carry on a completely coherent conversation for several minutes; on the other hand, Maid freaking Marian is dying and the Emotional Torque is Over Nine Thousand and no one can believe it's really happening and it's the most horrible, devastating thing that's ever happened in any Robin Hood retelling ever.
Robin: "We have forever, my love." Marian: "I hope we have forever in heaven, because we didn't get enough time on earth."
Topped only by their Together in Death scene at the very end of the series, which echoes their parting words:
Robin: My wife... Marian: Now and forever, my love.
Nightmare Retardant: The lion. Seriously, if the outlaws had wanted to kill it, all they would've had to do was kick it over. Gently.
This Marian likes to dress up in disguise and go gallivanting around the countryside; in one of the very earliest ballads that featured Marian, she dresses up in disguise and fights Robin to a stand-still in Sherwood Forest.
Replacement Scrappy: Kate, who as the replacement of Marian (as Robin's girlfriend), Djaq (as the girl of the group) and Will (as the voice of the peasantry) was utterly doomed to embody this trope. Before a single episode featuring her had aired, she was being criticised in the fandom as a poor replacement; pre-publicity material frequently described her as "feisty" and hinted that she would become Robin's new love interest. The first episode she appears in was duly broadcast, and the same fans said "See, we were right." Technically, those fans were right. Kate's character was a Faux Action Girl, The Load, a Satellite Love Interest, and the centrepiece of several Trapped by Mountain Lions plots. Half the outlaws fell in love with her for no reason, she was constantly getting kidnapped and then inexplicably cross when people rescued her, and had no useful skills or personality to speak of that went beyond " grumpy feisty village girl." Much of the fandom were willing to give her a chance (as well as being sympathetic to the actress playing her) but she never got any better. And let's face it, any original female character who is brought in for the sole purpose of replacing the legendary Maid Marian as Robin Hood's love interest is doomed to be despised for the crime of not being Marian. Why did the writers even try?
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Meta example. Joanne Froggatt was never given the chance to rescue Kate from the Scrappy Heap, but she went on to portray the immensely popular Anna in Downton Abbey, a character that bears several passing similarities to Kate.
Luckily for Joanna Frogett, who played Kate, her very next role was on Downton Abbey where she played Anna the maid, a far more beloved (and competent) character; this proved that it wasn't the actress's fault for Kate's low popularity, but poor writing.
Tuck wasn't that popular either. Though he had least had the advantage over Kate of actually being in the legends upon which the show was based, it was abundantly clear that the writers introduced him without really knowing what they planned to do with him. After the first episode of the third series (in which he convinces Robin to return to the fight against injustice) he really doesn't do anything substantial. It might not have been so bad except that the writers would often focus on Kate and Tuck at the expense of the other outlaws (Much, Allan, John) who had been around since the beginning of the show and were now being shoved aside in order to accommodate the newcomers. Thus Kate and Tuck not only got two character-centric episodes revolving around them, but were made out to be the two most important and trusted members of Robin's gang (Tuck taking John's place as The Lancer, and Kate nudging out Much as Robin's Sidekick, as well as his new Love Interest) with no justification whatsoever.
Seasonal Rot: A number of contributing factors ensured that the third season not only earned the hatred of the fans, but the cancellation of the show. This included the new writers who apparently didn't bother to watch the previous two seasons, the dropping of long-term storylines from the show, the complete lack of mention of Will Scarlett and Djaq (who were abandoned in the Holy Land), the reimagining of Friar Tuck as a Magical Negro, the introduction of the horrid Kate as a love interest for Robin, the reduction of the outlaws into bit-parts (whose only job was to babysit Kate and talk about how great she was), the abandonment of the "rob from the rich/give to the poor" premise, the painful introduction of Guy and Robin's half-brother in an attempt to set up Robin Hood as a Legacy Character for a proposed Season Four, and finally, the mass cast exodus of all but two of the original cast members (who were disposed of in some of the worst deaths conceivable), who certainly weren't shy in voicing their displeasure at the direction the show had taken.
Shocking Swerve: The end of season two, wherein Marian is killed off. It didn't go down quite as well as Foz Allen and Dominic Minghella had hoped...
"And now on BBC One with a brand new series of Robin Hood: where we've taken a much-loved classic tale, given it a pithy 20th century makeover, and made it shit."
Special Effect Failure: The lion (although to be absolutely fair, the director does try his best to work around the fact that it's the most harmless, half-dead specimen imaginable).
Strangled by the Red String: Will and Djaq's relationship is given subtle foreshadowing throughout season two, leading to a declaration of love that was considered too sudden, too corny and completely out of character for both of them in what is widely known as the Barn Scene of Ick .
Robin and Isabella's first meeting is accompanied by a musical cue that's about as subtle as an anvil drop, and the episode concludes in a Narmtastic scene in which Robin confronts her about the fact that she's Gisborne's sister. He grabs her by the face, pushes her back into a tree, and acts so betrayed and angry that looks as though he's angsting over a woman he's been dating for three months instead of someone he's known for approximately five minutes.
Much's immediate and inexplicable infatuation with Kate.
Robin decides to work with Isabella, resulting in a snide: "She always gets what she wants" remark from Kate. Robin irritably snaps: "Just leave it Kate!" Unfortunately, Kate is eventually proved irrefutably right in her insistence that Isabella can't be trusted, and gets to say "Maybe next time you'll listen to me" and "I told you so," as well as receive an influx of Creator's Pet-shilling when Little John calls her "a treasure" and Robin tells her that she's "brave, compassionate and beautiful" before making out with her. This is after Kate demands that Isabella be left to get raped and strangled at the hands of her abusive husband. Still, Robin's "shut up" was nice while it lasted....
Several episodes later though, when Guy joins the team, he calmly informs Kate: "You don't have to like me. I don't like you."
In the Grand Finale, Robin discovers that he's been fatally poisoned. Kate attempts to give him a Last Kiss, but he deliberately turns his face away, and a few moments later is reunited with Marian. Kate has to settle for a one-armed hug, and when Robin leaves to die alone, he doesn't even look back.
Tastes Like Diabetes: The series occasionally strays into this sort of territory with its uplifting messages and such. Then the writers, in their infinite wisdom, decided to have an episode filling in Robin and Guy's backstory. Cue Child!Robin developing his addiction to vomit-inducingly-noble stances while throwing out tax collectors.
The Woobie: Guy sometimes, Djaq often, Much always.
Took the Bad Film Seriously: The entire cast in the third season, bless them. What had been a silly, campy show for its first two seasons (and which somehow managed to pull it off, thanks to the dignity of the actors) was now asking to be taken deadly seriously...whilst still including ridiculous scenarios such as a lion so old that it couldn't even walk in a straight line and Robin hang-gliding from the castle parapets. In fact, Allan-a-Dale's WTF reaction to the hang-gliding is clearly the moment when the actor decided he was quitting.
Too Cool to Live: Meg, a smart, spunky girl who shows intelligence, compassion and an endearing sense of entitlement that gets Guy of Gisborne to stop moping and rethink his priorities. Meg's counterpart Kate spends the entire episode sulking and moaning (as per usual) and tops it off by trying to manipulate a dangerous situation so that her romantic rival is killed off. Now, guess who dies and guess who survives the entire show.
Trapped by Mountain Lions: For two episodes in season three Guy of Gisborne was entirely absent due to Richard Armitage's commitments with Spooks. The Story Arc couldn't proceed without him, which led to the writers marking off time with two negligible episodes in his absence, first in which the outlaws try to rescue a copy of the Bible translated into English, and then in rescuing Kate multiple times from an evil tax collector. Excepting the contrivance of Kate joining the outlaws and some minor background for Tuck, neither episode adds anything to the arc of the season and can easily be skipped.
Kate's entire presence is one very long Trapped by Mountain Lions arc. Her scenes could be exorcised completely from season 3 with absolutely no impact made on the overarching storyline. Her frequent kidnappings are padding, her love story with Robin is pointless, and the odd occasion in which she is allowed to be mildly useful involves her doing things that could have just as easily been achieved by another outlaw (like finding a MacGuffin or causing a distraction). There is nothing involving Kate herself (that is, something that only her character could have done) that in any way shapes the course of the season's Story Arc.
Unintentionally Sympathetic: Isabella is clearly meant to be entirely unsympathetic by the end of the show's run, thereby justifying Robin and Guy's (successful) attempt to kill her. In that case, it probably wasn't such a good idea to have her backstory consist of Guy selling her into an abusive marriage to a sadistic rapist at the age of thirteen, or to have Robin constantly flip-flopping in regards to his attitude and behaviour toward her. Even her ordering the execution of Meg, which is meant to be her Moral Event Horizon, is somewhat understandable, considering that she frees Meg from an arranged marriage only to catch her releasing a prisoner that has already made at least two attempts on Isabella's life. Likewise, the fact that she is one of the few characters on the show to avoid carrying the Idiot Ball earned her extra points, and when she's insane she manages to be more competent than any one around her.
At the end of season two, Guy of Gisborne stabbed Maid Marian to death, sending his Character Development and Redemption Arc back to square one. Season Three tried to turn him into a Heartbroken Badass, ignoring the fact that for a significant portion of the fanbase, he had already crossed the Moral Event Horizon when he stabbed Maid Marian to death and thus forfeited any right to the goodwill of the audience. Even the actor hated him.
The death of Kate's brother did not carry the emotional weight it should have done thanks to Kate's refusal to utilize common sense in her repeated attempts to rescue him. The writers were going for "headstrong" and "impulsive" in their characterization of Kate — unfortunately, all they really managed was "stupid." The ridiculous swinging between Wangst and trying to romance Robin didn't help her either.
And the cherry on top is the fact that Kate's brother was killed by Guy, resulting in a scene in which the audience has no reason to care about anyone involved.
And the cherry on top of that cherry is that depending on how you see it, Kate is at fault as well for the murder. He died because she got captured trying to get him out of the army and he died trying to save her. Some fans wonder if he might have survived had she just left him in the army.
Unnecessary Makeover: Most viewers preferred Djaq's androgynous S1 appearance than her more feminized look in S2 (especially since it included what became known as the outer-bra).
Viewers in Mourning: The backlash for Marian and Allan's deaths were not pretty, and the writer/co-creator responsible for the former's death left the show under rather murky circumstances once the episode had aired. There was less outcry for Robin and Guy considering their fates were sealed by the season two finale and were seen coming a mile away.
"Brothers in Arms": Guy of Gisborne confiscates a necklace from a woman so that he has a gift for Marian. Robin Hood tells Marian about its origin. You'd expect: Marian to return the necklace to its owner herself, and tell Guy that she does not accept stolen gifts. Instead: Marian gives the necklace to Robin, who returns it to its owner. Predictably, Sir Guy finds out and starts suspecting that Marian spies for Robin Hood. This starts the chain of events which ends with Marian being forced to promise to marry Guy, to dispel the suspicion.
In the third series Robin meets Isabella, likes what he sees, implicitly trusts her, and starts up a sudden romantic relationship with her despite the fact that she's the sister of the man who killed his wife. You'd expect: Robin to at least try and remember his dead wife and the possibility that the sister of the man who murdered her might be just as untrustworthy, dangerous, and unhinged as her brother. Instead: He doesn't, and she kills him.
Kate's introductory episode involves her attempting to save her brother's life by a) trying to move him in a conspicuous cart during the middle of enforced conscription instead of just hiding him in the house, b) screeching "there's nothing there, there's nothing there!" when Guy investigates the suspicious sight of a woman talking to what's meant to be an empty cart, c) sabotaging the outlaws' ambush to free her brother by rushing in and attacking the guards prematurely without even a weapon to defend herself with, d) abandoning the outlaws and sneaking into the castle by herself with no clear plan on what she intends to do, e) forgetting to take out the distinctive braid across her forehead that makes her instantly recognisable to Guy of Gisborne who orders her restrained, f) trying to cut a deal with Guy by revealing to him that Robin, the man who would have saved both her brother and the rest of the prisoners had Kate just let him, is hiding amongst the prisoners, and g) flailing helplessly when Guy ends up killing her brother when he rushes to her defense, mistakenly believing that Kate is being threatened by Guy. You'd expect: Kate to learn a valuable lesson about the importance of patience, timing, competence, discretion, silence, and letting the professionals do their job without interference. Or, if she does really want to help, at least try to make herself useful to the group by training, learning other skills, etc. Instead: The next time a tax collector comes to Locksley, she loudly and aggressively insults him in front of a large crowd of people, resulting in the destruction of her family's pottery business, her own capture and near-rape, and the audience being subjected to her presence for the rest of the series when the outlaws rescue her and then inexplicably invite her to join the team despite the fact that she's completely useless. Furthermore: Why on earth did the outlaws want her on the team in the first place? All she ever did was bitch and moan at them, and act impossibly ungrateful whenever they went out of their way to save her life.
What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: It has Robin hang-gliding from the parapets of a castle, Maid Marian practicing Tai Chi outside her house, a mangy old lion set loose on Sherwood Forest, costumes that were apparently bought at The 11th century Gap, arrows that defy physics, berets, a black Friar Tuck, hair gel, a man who throws ninja stars, a casino (complete with show-girls), and a plug in the cellar of Nottingham Castle that is somehow able to stop the flow of the River Trent.