So this year I finally gave in and decided to get Netflix. I've been watching a bunch of movies and tv shows and decided that I would review some of them.
I'm a big history nerd and so when I saw that Netflix has this show called Marco Polo about the famous explorer during his early years in the Mongol Empire, I just had to watch it.
The show was very well produced and the actors I felt where very believable and talented. Not to mention that most of the history in the show seems to be pretty spot on. At least the clothing choice is wonderful.
NOTE: THIS SHOW IS AT LEAST PG-13 AND IS STRONGLY NOT RECOMMENDED FOR YOUNGER VIEWERS.
There's quite a few characters in this show, the protagonist is of course, Marco Polo. During the time that we find him, Macro Polo is about seventeen years ago and has joined his father and his uncle along their travels down the silk road against his father's wishes.
Across the long journey, they finally make it to the Mongol Empire where we find out that Marco's father did not bring the Christian priests that the Mongol Emperor, Kublai Khan, wanted him to bring. In exchange for his mistake, his father decides to give Marco to the Khan, basically abandoning him there.
Marco impresses the Khan with his descriptive memory and his ability to tell show the world he sees through words. Although he hurts throughout the series from his father and his uncle leaving him there, he quickly gains the Khan's trust. But along the way he also makes a few enemies and friends as well.
One of the characters he makes an enemy of is the Khan's crown prince, Prince Jingim, who distrusts Marco as he is a foreigner (his nickname is the Latin) and when Marco uses his ability of words, embarrasses the prince in front of the court. Jingim begins to feel that his father favors Marco over him and doesn't understand why the Khan trusts him or keeps him so close to the court and himself.
Marco gains the favor and trust of many other characters though. This includes Empress Chabi who wants her son to rule on the throne, but also shows wisdom and compassion throughout the show. She is also pretty tough and is willing to kill to defend her family.
Another character is a blind monk named Hundred Eyes who is basically a ninja and who mentors Marco and teaches him how to fight. He loves using proverbs when he talks and is one of those really terrifying people you don't want to mess with. But he bonds with Marco and they form a strong friendship despite Hundred Eye's protests that they are not friends.
Marco quickly runs into the illusive and mysterious Kokachin in the show, who is a princess held captive in the Khan's court and who is expected to marry a noble, wealthy family. She is well protected by her bodyguard and has another friend that Marco doesn't trust. Her people were killed and we learn that she wishes to escape the court. Marco tries to earn her trust and basically is super attracted to her.
Of course, I can't leave out our Chinese counterparts, although there is many more Mongol people I could cover (Khutulun deserves a quick mention because she's super tough and wonderful). But we have our antagonist, Jia Sidao, who is the chancellor of Xiangyang, the Chinese city that the Khan tries to take over during the season. He's crazy and power hungry, willing to do anything to get where he wants to.
His sister, Mei Lin, is willing to do anything to protect her daughter from her brother and from anyone else to might try and hurt her. She constantly puts herself in situations that she might get killed for, but she usually shows compassion and one can tell that what she does, she doesn't really want to do it, but only does so for her daughter.
We also have the Empress and her little son who constantly are at odds with Jia Sidao. The Chinese Empress wants peace with the Khan and believes that agreeing to peace with him is the only way to save her people and prevent further bloodshed.
I won't write too much here otherwise I'll give it away, but the main plot of Season 1 is that the Khan wants to take over Xiangyang and is constantly pushing for it. There are several subplots, including ones that aren't totally solved during season one, but for the most part they all make sense.
I was really impressed with this series. I love the historical part to it, its so fascinating and I think they do a great job making it exciting and interesting. The costumes and setting are great and believable. And the characters are all very well acted.
There was a little bit too much nudity and other things in it for me, but I usually just skipped to a different tab during those scenes. Beyond that, I didn't mind too many things.
I wish that some things would be explained more, like why Marco takes such an interesting in Kokachin, and several scenes and subplots seem to be either too long drawn out or are over dramatized.
But, I highly recommend this show to anyone who's interest a least bit in history and would like something exciting to watch. Each episode is pretty long, and there's only one season up so far, but I heard season two is supposed to be coming, so I'll be watching out for that!