What’s That Coming Over the Hill?

So, last Saturday night we saw the showdown of the “Series Three Premieres” as BBC1’s Robin Hood was scheduled against ITV1’s Primeval, with the former just about pipping the dino-fest by a few hundred-thousand viewers in the overnights.  Slight cast changes (and new hairstyles) were common to both shows, with Friar Brother Tuck finally joining the not-so-merry men of Sherwood Forest to replace Will Scarlett who stayed behind in the Holy Land while the “next time” trailer introduced us to Kate, whoever that may be. Meanwhile, over in the ARC, a new security guy and a historian have joined the scooby gang.

I think that it would be quite easy to dismiss either of these programmes as being trite or throwaway but that would be doing them a disservice. I thought that Robin Hood stepped up a gear at the end of Series Two when Maid Marion got killed off, which demonstrated a bravery from the production team that looks set to continue.  Rumours are that Jonas Armstrong will be leaving at the end of series three and the whole show will receive a massive re-boot for Series Four.  Quite how this comes to pass within the internal storyline remains to be seen but the first episode was certainly filled with a good deal more depth and emotional charge.  Richard Armitage’s Guy of Gisborne became a lot darker and a lot less of a kow-tow’ing yes man for the Sheriff (who still stole the show in every scene).  However, the first installment was another introductory style episode where the roles were divvied up and described so that new and occasional viewers didn’t feel left out.

The same was even more true for Primeval thanks to some bits of grating exposition, and we even got a scene with Hannah Spearritt in her underwear again which was criminally missing from Series Two. Ben Miller capably provides the Sheriff of Nottingham role and he unsuccessfully tries to manage the goings on and behaviours of the underlings while suffering obstruction from those in higher office, all the while providing a regular stream of quotable lines.  I was a bit unimpressed by the monster of the week which was a big crocodile that came through the anomaly, wandered around London for a while before thinking it was all a bit unpleasant and hobbled off back to the Eocene (or whenever). Again, as a scene setter, Primeval’s debut served its purpose and was quite entertaining but I expect good things from both of these and the series’  progress.

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