Based on the novel written in 1719, this is said to be an action-packed period drama set in the 18th century, but with a contemporary take on race relations -- and a hero who will bear a ... See full summary »




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Series cast summary:
Sam Neill ...  Jeremiah Blackthorn 14 episodes, 2008-2010
Philip Winchester ...  Robinson Crusoe 13 episodes, 2008-2009
Tongayi Chirisa ...  Friday 13 episodes, 2008-2009
Anna Walton ...  Susannah Crusoe 12 episodes, 2008-2009
Mark Dexter ...  Samuel Tuffley 8 episodes, 2008-2009
Mía Maestro ...  Olivia 7 episodes, 2008-2009
Kieran Bew ...  Nathan West 6 episodes, 2008-2009
Elsa Bodle Elsa Bodle ...  Sophie 6 episodes, 2008-2009


Based on the novel written in 1719, this is said to be an action-packed period drama set in the 18th century, but with a contemporary take on race relations -- and a hero who will bear a resemblance to Angus MacGyver. NBC has committed to 13 episodes. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Adventure | Drama


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Official Sites:

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USA | UK | Canada | South Africa



Release Date:

17 October 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Robinson Crusoe See more »


Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The mortuary location is a ruined undercroft near York's Museum Gardens. One side of the building is open and was screened with huge cloth backdrops. See more »


Referenced in The Jay Leno Show: Episode #1.83 (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Could Have Been So Much Better
7 November 2013 | by kirkdzsimiSee all my reviews

As a lifelong Robinson Crusoe fan I was excited to find this show. The drama flits between excellent period drama driven by Sam Neill's conniving Jeremiah Blackthorne and the absurd and twee politically correct world on the island.

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!

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