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Riding Through the Glen

Maid Marian was the real hero...

By Matt Kamen     September 25, 2006

The BBC, having become accustomed to immersing their toes in the murky waters of genre television with the new Doctor Who, are making a huge marketing push for their upcoming fantasy drama series, Robin Hood. The show's website has recently been fully launched, the previous placeholder image having been replaced by character biographies, interactive games, video interviews with cast and crew and downloadable extras. If the site is maintained to the same levels of quality as the Doctor Who site has been for the past two years, it should become a valued resource for fans of the show.

Additionally, selected cinemas have been screening trailers for the upcoming series over the last week or so. I personally caught the minute long trailer attached to Clerks 2 and it certainly looks to be making auspicious use of its budget. Robin portrayed by Jonas Armstrong - skulks through a castle, knowingly telling the viewer how he doesn't look for trouble but trouble find him, then jumps into a brief fight against a horde of historically accurate guards before the logo and launch date Saturday 7th October flash up on screen.

Even public transport is getting in on the act, with buses across the country publicising the new series. It's been a very long time since the BBC has advertised a genre show this hard and presuming the production values of the trailer remain throughout the series itself (and the story is any good, of course) Robin Hood should take the 'compulsory Saturday viewing' mantle for a few months, until Doctor Who returns.

Best of all, no sign of Costner.

The spin-off

Something I missed last week was the upcoming Sarah Jane Smith series spinning off from Doctor Who. Launching with a one-hour pilot early 2007, the new series will be aimed at a younger audience than primary Who but still deal with strange occurrences threatening the British Isles. Russell T. Davies first made his mark as a writer in the realms of children's drama, when he penned the still-creepy Dark Season and Century Falls so viewers shouldn't expect anything too light and fluffy. Even if it were, it'd still be better than K9 and Company though.

The other spin-off

K9 will (thankfully?) not be in the Sarah Jane Adventures past the premiere episode since the robo-mutt is getting his own spin-off series in conjunction with kid's channel Jetix. The K9 Adventures is produced by Park Entertainment and finally sees the yipping tin can get something of an overhaul - long overdue as far as I'm concerned, something he should have received in the School Reunion of Doctor Who.

The OTHER other spin-off

Last spin-off this week, I promise. Torchwood, the first Who spin-off to have been announced, has shown up on Play.com, with the first part of the series on DVD coming out on Boxing Day. The new series, starring John Barrowman reprising his role of Captain Jack, begins on BBC3 at an unconfirmed point in October.

A battle, but not the war

Since last week's discussion of satellite channel Rapture potentially being driven off Sky's Electronic Program Guide, there have been some developments. Satellite provider Sky have said "they do not intend to take any further action against Rapture until all aspects of the dispute between us is fully investigated and or resolved." While not an absolute stay of execution for the niche channel, which airs such popular anime series as Fullmetal Alchemist and Wolf's Rain, it is something of a reprieve whilst actions are being taken and OFCOM are investigating.

New DVD Picks for 25/09/06

She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword

The same as the American 'Best of She-Ra' DVD released a few month ago, this contains the movie edit of 'The Secret of the Sword', which introduces Prince Adam's sister Adora as the similarly powered She-Ra. The second disc contains episodes voted for by fans on He-Man.org - Of Shadows and Skulls, Sweet Bee's Home, Horde Prime Takes a Holiday, The Stone in the Sword and The Price of Freedom. While the series was aimed more at girls, the fantasy elements of the series were more prevalent. Bow moustache still looks crappy though.

Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny: Volumes 1 + 2

Following on from the mega popular Gundam Seed, Seed Destiny has split fans of the franchise down the middle due to it's choice of starting afresh with a completely new cast from Seed and drastically changing some of them upon their reintroduction. Destiny is, however, a well-constructed sci-fi anime with some amazing mecha fights scenes. A touch on the style over substance side perhaps, but an engrossing entry in the Gundam franchise nonetheless. As with Gundam Seed, Beez has chosen to release Seed Destiny two discs at a time, so UK fans shouldn't be waiting too long for the end of this ten disc series.

Doctor Who: Series 2, Volume 5

The second series concludes its barebones DVD release with the final three episodes, culminating in the heart-wrenching Doomsday. The single disc releases, issued without any extras, are a good way for the budget conscious or those not concerned with special features to pick up the show at their leisure. For those with a bit more cash spare, the complete series two six-disc DVD set is released on 20th November.

That's it for this week. Thoughts? Comments? Hatemail? Contact me at mattkamen@gmail.com


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klaatu1701 9/26/2006 2:01:20 AM
The Who spinoffs look fun, but only just. I doubt they will be seen here in Australia though you never know. Having checked out the Robin Hood website it looks a good cast. Again, get the story right and the swordfighting imaginative and the beeb will be on another winner. How many incarnations of RH are there I wonder. I was bought up on the Richard Greene era, but Errol Flynn will never be matched in my book, but lets hope that wearing of tights does not come back into fashion....
themes 9/26/2006 7:39:33 AM
....same for 'sword & sandals' and the'western' genre?


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