Marco Polo Premiere Review: What is this Show About?

Netflix decided that they want to challenge HBO’s Game of Thrones with a series of their own – Marco Polo. From its first trailer the series looked interesting because of the ambitious budget that Netflix invested in the show, the landscape, photography and outfits all looked great but what about the story and the characters? That we could evaluate only when the pilot aired.

The first few minutes of the show looked promising Marco, his father and his uncle where introduced to the Mongol king but that’s where the interesting part of the show ended. The long exposition that followed presenting Marco’s problematic relationship with his father, wishing to connect with his father was very slow (actually it was never ending) and not very appealing. The journey in the sea and the desert were not very exciting either. The imprisonment and training that followed seemed detached from the story and it seemed as if it was forced just to give the main character something to do.

I don’t know if it’s only me but this show seems to be hard to understand. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t concentrating enough (because the premiere episode seemed to be boring) or not into it (or both). I struggle to understand what this show is supposed to be about. Now you’ll say that’s easy the Mongols want to conquer the Chinese. But that’s not what I meant, what is Netflix trying to do with this show? who is its core audience? After watching the first episode the show is not appealing, the main story evades me. The Chinese and the Mongolians are not a great material that will bring the masses to watch this show .Unless Netflix is counting on broadcasting the show in China and still it won’t work because the Chinese supposed to be Mongols lap dog. The extensive nudity seemed forcefully shoved to the screen just to say that there is nudity here, it didn’t serve a purpose. It was there to scare the children away so that the show will be branded for adults. What about Marco Polo? Where does he fit in all this? His character seems to look not very important. It’s like there is nothing for him to do in this show. He is a background noise that pisses everyone off. The last scene of the premiere episode was supposed to highlight the differences of the three environments the preparation for war, the whore house and the blind dude training with a cobra. In reality it didn’t work and the contrast element that Netflix tried to create here just seemed silly.

I really wanted to like this ambitious Netflix production but the bottom line is that it just doesn’t look good. If this was supposed to give HBO’s Game of Thrones a fight for its money than Netflix should cut its losses right now and move on to a different project. I don’t want to come back for episode 2 because the show is not appealing. I will give it a chance and force myself to watch a few more episodes just to give Marco Polo a chance to improve but from my experience I doubt if it will.
 photo credit: Matt Perreault via photopin cc

About Sasha Shapiro

Sasha is the founder and editor of Cool Reviews Rule. He is very passionate about Movies, TV Shows and some Books. His favorite genres are: Action, Fantasy, History, Horror, Sci-fi and Adventure.
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