This week on Why It’s Worth a Watch, Tiffany and I hit Netflix once again. For those days when our favorite shows are repeats and the newcomers haven’t fully drawn us in, we can always rely on old favorites, or discover shows we may have missed the first time around.
You may have caught on from some of my previous Netflix choices that the BBC and I have a bit of a thing going. Downtown Abbey, Sherlock, and Dr. Who have all been featured as favorites here, so it got me thinking, maybe Netflix could deliver a few more British beauties to my television screen.
One of my favorite Disney cartoons as a child was Robin Hood. So, when I saw a 2006 BBC series with the same name, I figured I’d give it a go.
The story is pretty much what you would expect. Robin and his men take from the rich and give to the poor. In the process, they find themselves in a variety of scrapes that they must fight their way out of. While a bit predictable, the show does actually offer up a surprise here and there.
If you are a stickler for historical accuracy, this probably isn’t the series for you. There are costume and prop choices that definitely don’t reflect the period, as well as modern sayings thrown in here and there. I didn’t mind it, and in some cases, I even enjoyed it. (Watch for the “I shot the Sheriff” line.)
Each member of Robin Hood’s band has distinctive qualities and quirks, which often serve up a bit of humor in what could otherwise be a dark tale.
Jonas Armstrong does a great job as the “cheeky”, strong-willed hero, who is definitely well matched by Lucy Griffith’s fiery portrayal of Miriam. This is not a girl who waits around for Robin to save her. Beyond the heroes, though, the bad guys really make the show. The ruthless Sheriff of Nottingham (Keith Allen) is sarcastic and almost cheerful in carrying out evil. My absolute favorite? Guy of Gisbourne (Richard Armitage), the Sheriff’s right hand man. Evil and a bit of a tortured soul, he’ll have you despising him and wanting to save him at the same time.
This show is the kind of JFTV I love. The writing isn’t always amazing, and at times it is even repetitious, but I just don’t care. I just let myself enjoy it, through all three seasons.
Like Tiffany this week, I let a bit of a crush guide me in my next choice. After falling for Richard Armitage in Robin Hood, I decided to find another BBC programme (yes, I thought I should spell it the British way) where I could listen to his lovely baritone voice.
Enter MI-5, as it is known in the US and France, or Spooks, its original UK release title. Since Mr. Armitage doesn’t enter the series until Season 7, I needed to know that the show’s subject matter would at least be engaging, so when I found out it was a spy drama, I was sold.
With the absence of shows like Alias, 24, and Chuck, I embraced the opportunity to fill the empty space with more intrigue, double agents, government corruption, and cool spy tech.
So far, MI-5 does not disappoint.
Like any good spy drama, there are twists and turns, keeping you guessing about who the good and bad guys are. Unlike most US spy dramas, I noticed bad guys are given a bit more depth. A terrorist isn’t always just a horrible guy with a mustache, accent, and explosives, but a man with a story of how he got there.
Okay, sometimes he is just a dude with facial hair and a bomb.
Also a bit of a departure, spies aren’t always glamorous and invincible. Not every spy is 22 and “hot”. Spies have wrinkles. Spies have emotional breakdowns. Spies even die.
This is less happy go lucky than Chuck, less hot girl outfits then Alias, and less torturing everyone and their mother than 24. Which, honestly, is what I really enjoy about it. It’s just good spy drama.
That, and Richard Armitage, of course.
MI-5, or Spooks, gets a definite GMacTV. With TEN seasons to watch, I have plenty of sick days to fill ahead of me.
Have you watched either of these BBC series? Are you a fan of anything BBC? What’s your favorite BBC show?
Now click over to Tiffany’s blog and see where her crush leads…
Come back next week when we review two of TV’s newest dramas starring two of Hollywood’s biggest stars – Touch, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Missing, starring Ashley Judd.
Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.
A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:
GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech