Robin Hood Series 2 (2007)
For much of series two, the smiling, heroic, charismatic Robin Hood which Jonas Armstrong had portrayed before, was a thing of the past. If anything the second series documents the mental breakdown of the character, as hero becomes loser: Allan A ' Dale deserts him and turns traitor; his fiancé, Marian, rejects the idea of living in the forest with him, preferring to return to Nottingham; John disobeys him and briefly returns to the traditional "give to the poor" concept; and perhaps worst of all, Robin Hood frequently kills his enemies. The basic reason for all of this is Robin's belief that everything depends on King Richard's return from the Holy Wars, whereas Marian and the Outlaws feel the welfare of Nottingham should be their number one concern. And against this backdrop of "darkness and despair", popular characters like Will Scarlet (Harry Lloyd), and especially Djaq (Anjali Jay), are notably absent from the screen.
Internet debates over the removal of Lucy Griffiths from the show, not to mention the manner in which Marian was murdered at such an early hour, will continue to rage. Partly because the centuries old Legend is far better than anything a contemporary writer might foist upon us for a half dozen years at best; and partly because taking perhaps the single most popular cast member out of the show made no sense either financially or creatively. Put bluntly, the murder of Marian was a dumb idea, of no artistic merit.
Was Lucy pushed? The writer's say they had explored her character via the "love triangle", as far as they could. (As if that's all Maid Marian was about). Jonas has said she wanted to pursue other opportunities. (A similar comment to the BBC's). Lucy said that "whatever happens at the end of the show happens by mutual consent". Whatever official statements might say, the opportunity to expand upon Marian as a member of the Outlaws living in Sherwood Forest, not to mention her Night Watchman role (and how she acquired those skills), was thrown away. For myself, and the vast majority of readers who leave comments on Robin Hood 2007, between episodes 8 and 11 the series was leaving the tracks, only to be completely derailed in the disaster that was episodes 12 & 13.
Can the BBC win it back? Certainly they are investing in experienced cast members, more elaborate costumes, even introducing traditional characters like Tuck. But they do have their work cut out for them. A significant percentage of the public and the media, were never totally persuaded by Jonas Armstrong away from their stubborn concept of Robin Hood as an older man in Lincoln green cap, with his English longbow by his side. The murder of Marian, and the exit of Lucy, have only raised the stakes higher.