UK Series: Robin of Sherwood?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Eujin, Mar 13, 2002.

  1. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    I just found out that this series from the 80s has made its way to DVD in Region 2 (PAL). Does anyone have this yet and if so, what's the quality of the picture like? I don't remember many details of the series, but I do remember being completely captivated as it had a much darker and mysterious style than any Robin Hood story before, with a really cool theme by Clannad. Anyone?
     
  2. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    I have heard from a reliable source that the picture quality is very good indeed. Still don't have my copy yet [​IMG]
    However this is one DVD that everyone should buy no matter the video quality or the price. RoS is certainly one of the best telefantasy series ever made.
     
  3. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    PhilipG, thanks for the info. I'd love to get your opinions on the set when you get it. I almost pulled the trigger at blackstar.co.uk today, but I'll wait to hear what your reactions are.
     
  4. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    I will certainly post a review up as soon as I get the set. I ordered from Play.com, and they are still "processing" after three days (+ they got their stock in days late). [​IMG] I'm guessing the discs are selling like hotcakes.
     
  5. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    Ok Philip, I will wait for your review. There isn't anyone I know in the States who has even heard of the series.
     
  6. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Finally I have my discs. I have given them a very quick look through, enough to write a review.



    Video quality: The image quality is excellent - colours are vibrant, blacks are solid, there is next-to-no edge enhancement.

    RoS season 1 was filmed in 16mm. This means grain, which a lot of people dislike. I'm not one of them - I'd rather have grain than lost detail from too much DVNR. It looks like zero DVNR was applied, so prepare yourself for a lot of grain. 85% of the time, the grain looks good, like true film grain. Unfortunately, while the discs seem well-encoded, Network have squeezed too much data on them, resulting in many compression artefacts. This can get rather distracting, but not as distracting as I find edge enhancement on other DVDs. It's not a "bad picture", it's a "great picture but". Average bit rate is just under 5Mbps. There are 3 50+min eps per disc, and extras on top - season 2 would greatly benefit from having 2eps per disc. I will email Network about that today, and hopefully others will too.



    Audio quality: Original mono, plus a surround remix (not 5.1). Both sound good considering the source.



    The complete season 1 set comes in 2 alphas within a thick carboard outer sleeve. There is a bonus disc attached within alpha 2. Nothing wrong with the packaging.



    The menu and newly-produced extras are presented in anamorphic widescreen, everything else is in original 4:3 AR. Scene-specific commentaries on a few of the eps (1,2&6 I think). There's 8mins of out-takes (some of which are very funny indeed). There's a new "making of" split over the two discs, as well as an original documentary from 1983. There's the Clannad music video, which I found to be hilarious. And more (bios, stills etc) besides.



    The bonus disc contains unseen footage from the '83 doc, and Clannad promo footage.



    Basically, this a fantastic set of extras.



    Summary



    The good:

    [*]Robin of Sherwood is a brilliant series, worthy of any collection - and IMHO it hasn't dated[*]Network have remastered the video (some from the original camera negatives) and audio[*]More extras than you can shake a stick at[/list]The bad

    [*]Bit-rate too low, need more discs[*]Animated menus are too slow[*]Some scenes (in the extras) with no sound are hard-subtitled "mute sequence", which is pretty obvious[/list]In my opinion, the good outweighs the bad. These DVDs are a heck of an improvement over my old VHS tapes. Recommended. 8.5/10
     
  7. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    Philip, YOU ROCK!
    That's a great review and I can't thank you enough--I'm just glad I found someone else on these forums who knows what series I was talking about. I'm going to order mine from blackstar, grain be damned! By the way, do you live in England? What part? Thanks again for the review [​IMG]
     
  8. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Eujin, I'm glad the review was helpful. [​IMG]
    Yes, I live in the south-east of England - Canterbury, Kent, to be precise. Probably not "deepest, darkest" like my username sig says, though Canterbury is in a dip, and it does stay cloudy around here a lot of the time. [​IMG] I have visited Sherwood forest, and the castle (which is more a Robin Hood tourist attraction now).
    It's a shame more people aren't aware of Robin of Sherwood in America ( or is it? Sometimes it's nice when you're the only one in on a good secret. [​IMG] ).
    Anyway, I hope you enjoy the discs. Michael Praed is certainly the best Robin Hood IMO, and I can't wait to watch these episodes again. Season 2 in May!
    http://www.networkvideos.co.uk/netnews.html
    p.s. I also highly recommend Ever Decreasing Circles, also from Network.
     
  9. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    Philip, thanks for the tip on Ever Decreasing Circles--I remember it well. The reason I've seen some of the very good UK TV stuff is because I grew up in Singapore. I also almost went to university in England (I was accepted at UofK at Canterbury, among other places!) and did actually spend two terms in my second year at Oxford. So yes, I agree that more Americans need to be clued in on the good stuff on the other side of the pond (along with real football). By the way, do you have any idea how I might get Cracker on DVD? I think it's OOP in the UK and it's not out in the US yet.
     
  10. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    UofK is an ugly place - a 60's concrete monstronsity - pretty average academically by all accounts, but one of the few places in the country to offer a film course. You did much better to go to Oxford. [​IMG]
    I hear that football (aka soccer) is growing ever more popular in America. Give it a few more years. Rugby will be the tough sell (what, no heavy padding? [​IMG] ).
    As for Cracker, it's never been out on DVD as far as I know, at least, not here. The videos are all OOP. I expect a DVD release is inevitable - since it was hugely popular and highly acclaimed (though despite that I never got around to watching it). There is a Yahoo group for it at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crackerfitz/ - the members there would probably be among the first to know when the DVDs are released.
     
  11. Eujin

    Eujin Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for that tip about the Yahoo group. I'll take a look over there and see what I can dig up. Of all the UK shows that have made it to DVD, I simply cannot believe that Cracker hasn't been done yet--Father Ted Season 2 just came out in the US for crying out loud! Now, I love Father Ted and made sure my Friday evenings were planned around it when I was at Oxford, but I don't know any Americans who've heard of that show either. Maybe because it's a comedy and the powers that be have decided that the only market for British material in the US resides with humor (just look at the recent AbFab craze over here). But Robbie Coltrane's star and recognizability ARE rising, so one can hope...
     

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