Thieves of the Wood – Netflix Season 1 Review

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10


Set in the heart of 18th Century Flanders, Thieves of the Wood is a pretty good period drama, even if it does fall a little too far into melodramatic waters toward the end of the series. For the most part though, the show does well to juggle its central cast of characters, with Jan the most likable out the bunch. With some gritty visuals and some decent production design, this Flemish drama is certainly enough to warrant a watch, even if it’s unlikely to ignite the period drama scene.

Admittedly, I don’t know an awful lot about this period of history, which is party why the drama is so appealing. At the heart of it though lies returning soldier Jan, who discovers that corruption is rife in his hometown, thanks in part to the sick and poor exiled to the forests. With a clear class divide this early acting as fuel for the conflicts ahead, on the other side of the fence is Baru, a new bailiff keen on instilling reform and changes. The third and final main storyline revolves around Heloise and together, this trio of characters essentially anchor the drama to the usual tropes you’d expect.

There are hints of a Robin Hood-esque plot at work here and throughout the series most of the drama revolves around a road being built which acts as the crux of conflict for both sides. As the series grows, this does change slightly to incorporate more romantic themes but there are a couple of nice twists late on that keep things interesting. I won’t give too much away but suffice to say if you like character drama and soapy elements, Thieves of the Wood is a pretty good option.

Aesthetically at least, the show looks great. There’s a stark contrast between the rich and poor here, deliberately showcased through extreme close ups of the mud and dirt, while wide, sweeping shots of the lavish interiors offers the reverse for the rich. It’s a subtle trick but one that does work well to reinforce the themes that play out across the season.

In terms of costume and production design, Thieves of the Wood does well and there’s a real effort to make this as authentic as possible. Early on there’s a specific curse word used that I had to look up to make sure it was befitting for the time period but beyond that, the series does well to keep things consistent and believable.

With decent visuals and an unusual setting not often showcased, Thieves of the Wood doesn’t really reinvent the wheel but does a pretty good job keeping things engaging nonetheless. If you’re in the mood for a period drama, this is a pretty good offering and while I wasn’t a massive fan of the romantic subplot, there’s enough here to make for an unremarkable but pretty solid season of entertainment.¬†


Thieves of the Wood is available to watch on Netflix. Feel free to click here and sign up now to check this show out!


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  • Verdict - 6.5/10

5 thoughts on “Thieves of the Wood – Netflix Season 1 Review”

  1. Great scenery, costuming, effective at illuminating the class divide and the sense of injustice. I love period dramas especially if I learn something about history in the process. However, I agree with some other viewers that the plot line doesn’t seem to gel, it can be difficult to weave together some of the missing threads, and therefore makes it challenging to keep the viewer particularly engaged. It does pick up a bit in later episodes. I keep hoping for this series to redeem itself given some of the show’s other aforementioned attributes. Also, I keep hoping to relate or care about some of the characters in the story. I can identify with Jan during fleeting moments and to a lesser extent the indigent thieves and prostitutes, however, they aren’t sufficiently developed, nor their humanity effectively nuanced that I could empathize with them. If this were the case, perhaps I could tolerate the violence and pervasive sense of doom and gloom that looms over the viewer like a dense fog. Perhaps I should just forget Thieves of the Woods and be better off rewatching Les Miserables?

  2. Have a hard time watching this series. It seems to be going nowhere at times, and the flashing back and forth at the start between scenes, and characters, made it almost unwatchable. I kept asking myself what i was watching and where was this going if anywhere. Thumbs down.

  3. I loved it. Great story seeing Jan’s journey to become a Robin Hood while Baru takes control of a pretty horrible unjust system with the sick hunting rituals of orphan girls and the mayor wants him to help run his dictatorship just because Baru demands the police look sharper – the mayor dresses like the cowardly lion and it’s hilarious that he had the lion skin rug. The German was awesome, wish there was more of him. Very diverse costumes and settings showing the stark contrast between the noble people and the people in the woods.

  4. We tried watching this last night. Great scenery, great characters, great make up, absolutely rubbish programme. No story line, no links, was going nowhere, managed to watch 2 and a bit episodes before we tired of it. Would give it 2 stars at best. Very poor.

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