User ReviewsReview this title
On two slight criticisms: why the whole MacGyver thing? Sure, we get to know that Crusoe and Friday are surviving because they are saavy, adaptable and quick. But, I draw the line on the coconut shell orange press thingy. Sure, it was fun to see but it undermined the reality of the situation. And, since he is soooo clever, why the heck does Cruose walk and climb around the tropical island wearing heavy leather boots that come up past his knees? If you can make an orange press... you could make foot protection that would not be unbearable under the local conditions, right? Well, I will continue to watch for the acting, the writing, the scenery. Maybe an episode where Crusoe is losing it would be welcome... just to add realism into the series.
Its predictable, and the acting isn't the greatest.
The sets are incredible.
All of these things can be said exactly the same for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (which I own the first season on DVD so I obviously like it) and Xena: Warrior Princess.
Since I liked both those shows, I guess it remains to be seen whether I'll like it for this one.
I find the show passable, and amusing if you're looking for something light and fluffy thats obviously not meant for anything serious.
To begin with, this TV show is extremely different from its source material – a novel. Crusoe should be a deprivation worn, beard sporting passionate Roman Catholic, not a sporty lookin', ever fighting model. Friday – a humble, scarcely English speaking native, who is forever grateful to Crusoe for rescuing him and the one that would never put his own matters before Crusoe's. But right here, he is an English linguist with the power of Rambo and bow felicity that'd make Robin Hood envious. Actually, in the book, the very first word Crusoe taught Friday was "master" to call him. Only later during the years did they bond and Crusoe considered the man a close friend, but in this show, the whole timeline is tangled all over, you can get the feeling ships occasionally pass by the island every week, while, in Defoe's creation, Crusoe saw the first Europeans on the island only after a few decades of isolation, if I remember correctly.
Secondly, almost all the stories depicted in the show are extremely unrealistic, stupid and corny to say the least. It has all the bad movie clichés – villains shooting and always missing, unlimited ammo for heroes, women fighting as strong as men, heroes getting beaten for a little bit, but quickly recovering without any signs of injuries, heroes hiding in the jungle and seeing everything while their enemies – nothing and so on and so on Moreover, the story is very repetitive, every time it's either Crusoe saving Friday or vice versa. Can't they think of something more ingenious? Every episode has tons of ridiculous nuances. The whole plot of the second episode was some sort of a computer game imitation and Indiana Jones spoof. I mean, how can there be opening tombs and traps in an uninhabited island? What about Friday having prophetic dreams? What, is this mystery show now? The whole story with mutineers was unprecedentedly dumb as well. Hell, the scene where Crusoe, a castaway stranded on the island for 8 years (according to this script) sees a harbored ship and is just casually looking at it is outrageously bad – a real Robinson would run screaming down the beach just to be rescued. And In the very end when the ship was leaving, couldn't have Crusoe been more insistent on taking him along? Couldn't he have overthrown the old captain with his great agility and strength and become the new leader. The crew didn't seem to mind any changes in the authority that had previously happened. And that girl only had to say "You won't have a surgeon on a ship if those two aren't travelling with us" instead of "I won't be here if you don't let them leave". This is super plain stupid! As is the fact no one could recognize that she was actually a girl. In the very first scene I saw the character, I knew it was either a transvestite actor or a woman playing Oliver.
The props would look beautiful if not for their stupidity. Real Crusoe wouldn't have so many clothes left; in fact, he'd be wearing hay pants or something, since the clothes would have disintegrated in 8-year-time being used in harsh environment. He certainly wouldn't have built such a science-fiction-worthy house even if he had the materials to build it. House the size of a mansion? A windmill or something resembling it in the background? A wooden lift? Really? Are you kiddin'? I think people who enjoy these series haven't read the original "Robinson Crusoe" book, because they would be insulted by this sacrilege as much as I am. There is not a single good thing I could say about this show, it's childish and horrible.
Robinson Crusoe has set up an Ewok style village in the trees with Ichabod Crane style ingenuity that, just as in Sleepy Hollow, is designed to amuse a modern audience. Phillip Winchester plays a decent role as Robinson Crusoe for the most part but is so much lighter in countenance than Defoe's Crusoe or anyone else marooned on an island for years and is reminiscent of Michael Praed's Robin Hood but Praed's romantically brooding sadness has been replaced with a slightly smug confidence in his own ability and 21st century values.
I am also confused at the choice of Tongayi Chirisa as "Friday", a rescued sacrificial victim. He looks and sounds African which would have made no sense for a South American tribesman in the 17th century. Also why he would speak English to his father when the Spanish sailors speak Spanish to each other is a mystery of modern screen writing.
The dialogue between Crusoe and Friday is often trite and primarily involves Crusoe being right about more or less everything yet telling everyone how much he respects Friday as an equal - yet he admits on several occasions that he only calls him "Friday" because he couldn't pronounce his real name, which slightly smacks of racism "a l'indifference".
Crusoe's biggest problem as television is patchy writing and while the finale ticks all the boxes and is genuinely exciting, huge chunks of the show seem to just feature Robinson and Friday playing around and this is not only wasted story time but ultimately meant that ratings dropped beneath the recommissioning level. I would have been far more interested in both characters' backstories in a more detailed way than the barely satisfactory flashback sequences we are given and also just a little bit less smiling and a bit more grit.
Also it drives me crazy how when fighting bloodthirsty cannibals or pirates that Robinson and Friday are happier to kick their foe in the head than kill them...very "A-Team" I am afraid. Also despite Friday being lauded constantly by Crusoe for his warrior skills and intelligence, Friday twice allows captives to play dead and then take him prisoner and fails to realise that when he has his own hands chained that he could easily throttle his captor with his foot long manacle chain.
Visually superb however and a great show for kids, I wanted this to be so much better than it was and it had the cast, crew and writers (based on the bits filmed in England at least) to do so. Sadly not surprised it didn't get a second season. Too bad!
Both lead actors are miscast and wooden but Philip Winchester is just totally annoying. His English accent is simply unbelievable and he looks like he belongs in a Vogue fashion shoot with the blow dried hair, the freshly shaved beard and perfect teeth.
It appears that both Crusoe and Friday have been on the island for a few years when the series starts as they have "built" a condo with a great view in the trees, running water, gunpowder, weapons and food aplenty. A couple of wenches would have made this the perfect holiday destination for most men. Their life is easy and the lack of any real struggle to live is difficult to comprehend. In fact his is what really irritates me about the whole concept.
Just more useless debris in the current crop of rubbish offered by the networks.
But no maties, I stuck with them, yes I did, I got myself on that island through episode 3 & 4.
What heck is this? McGyver meets Gilligans island? After all, the fancy gadgets and inventions are all made from shipwreck material mind you, coconut fibers and some moldy pieces from the Castaway set.
I expected to see a clam shell cell phone with all fancy gimmicky crap they had at their disposal, I mean this lad has limitless imagination and talent, but he can't get himself of the damn island nor manage invent a knack for a British accent?
This could have been a refreshingly gritty, somewhat desolate re-imagined RC story, one that brings the worlds of the native and the castaway together through struggles and painful lessons. Alas, Friday is very smart and wise guy, but here he has an Oxford degree in Literature and Philosophy too boot.
Here is hoping that the filming crew didn't eat the writers without an adequate ceremony.
For a show that has so few positives, it's been hard to turn off. I believe that if it hadn't been based on a classic, Crusoe might have stood a chance. But it's impossible to watch this and not compare it to the source material.The location and cinematography are pretty darned good. Plus, the tree-house is outstanding!. More than once I felt as if I was seeing a 17th century MacGyver. Instead of duck-tape and a Swiss army knife, it was vines and bamboo.
I mostly agree with the other people about the scripts and acting. It's not very hard to find fault with this one. It does tho, have something that's kept me watching. Judging by the length and quality of the reviews. I'm not the only one!
I won't be searching high and low to find the dvd's for Crusoe. One viewing is enough. In fact, I haven't watched the last episode and I'm not sure that I will. Who knows, with the current revival trend, someone might make a stab at this one again.
If so, keep the tree-house and trash the rest!
So Crusoe and Friday have been living on this island for 6 years, built a mansion, and seem to know everything about the island (as seen when Crusoe is guiding the pirates in Episode 1)... but somehow they missed the huge water canal, and no its not underground, you can see the sky from it), not to mention a long narrow bridge crossing a deep chasm, in their very own back yard..
Not to mention, this HUGE canal with massive doors to control the water flow, is apparently a "drain" of some sort, from a huge lake on top of a mysterious mountain.. However all the water going to this huge Canal, has to pass a very small narrow bridge in a small minor canal (obvisouly very small to make Friday and Crusoe passing it "exiting",)...
This is basically a summary of the Series as such... Cliché upon cliché and not once do you get the feeling anyone involved in the show actually stopped for a second and asked themselves... "Hmmm does this make any sense"...
I gave it 4 of 10...as it could maybe entertain my 5 year old a while, the scenery is kinda nice, the idea (although spoiled) could have been good, and well i have seen worse, not much worse, but still worse.