Robin Hood Episode One: Will You Tolerate This?
Sure, it had everything you would come to expect from a quality BBC prime time drama; high production values, great locations, fine acting, a decent script and Dominic Minghela (brother of Anthony) at the helm.
However, I just couldn't help but feel that I had seen it all about 40 times before. And I had.
In fact, if people wanted to watch this new series, starring newcomer Jonas Armstrong in the title role and Keith Allan (Shallow Grave) as the Sheriff of Nottingham, then all the BBC had to do was wheel out a re-run of Kevin Costner's Prince of Thieves for the next 12 weeks -- or re-hash one of the original movies starring Douglas Fairbanks or Errol Flynn as the archetypal hero. It would have achieved the same result.
Arrows snapping a hangman's noose; Maid Marion at her feisty best; a camp and over-played adversary; a noble hero -- it was all in there.
Jump-cuts, fast zooms, Matrix-style stunts and elaborate action sequences didn't really help move the story along, but at least they set it apart from a bog-standard re-telling of a well-worn tale. The only thing missing was Friar Tuck (apparently, he hasn't been scripted into this incarnation of the story) -- but you know what? It was still okay.
I didn't exactly find myself groaning, but it didn't have me sitting on the edge of my seat in the way Doctor Who does in the same Saturday evening slot. I half-expected Bryan Adams to kick in as the cliffhanger trotted neatly into the end credits.
Still, 8 million people can't be too wrong.
But I'll be honest with you folks, if next week's episode has a challenge fight between Robin and Little John in Sherwood Forest, I might stick an arrowhead in my eye.