Marco Polo: Season 1 (DVD) – Series Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, Drama, History
Distributor: eOne
Episodes: 10
Duration: 55 minutes (per episode)

Marco Polo: Season 1 (DVD) – Series Review

Site Score
Good: A lot more exciting than one would expect, Fighting scenes
Bad: Sometimes things could be presented at a slightly faster pace
User Score
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

It’s easy to assume that most of us have heard about the 13th century explorer from Venice, Marco Polo, but most will not be able to actually say much about him and perhaps others will simply think of the hide and seek game, aptly called Marco Polo. In reality this man was claimed to be the first European to reach China, but actually he wasn’t the first, yet he was the first to document his journeys properly, albeit with a few inconsistencies. Nonetheless, he was quite accurate in many things and his voyage through the territory of Kublai Khan is one worth telling, especially since he remained there for quite some time.

Marco Polo S1 Banner

Marco (Lorenzo Richelmy) grew up in Venice, losing his mother at a very young age, while his father was abroad, as he is the son of Niccolò Polo (Pierfrancesco Favino) a renowned explorer who has been dedicating the better part of his life establishing trade routes with the Silk Road in Asia. When his father returns to Venice, Marco is rather eager to learn who his father actually is, as he left before Marco was actually born and thus stories of the man who he had never seen were all he has had over the course of the years until he was now a strapping young fellow. After shortly meeting up with his father, he is told that his visit to Venice will only be a very short one, as he will disembark back to the Silk Road the very next day. When Marco asks to tag along, as he would love to tread in his father’s footsteps, he immediately gets a negative response. Nonetheless, Marco has decided for himself that he will join his father and uncle, even without their consent. When his father discovers him the next day as a stowaway on his ship, Marco is not smiled upon and is seen as a bother for the biggest portion of the trip to Asia.

After conquering barren deserts, bands of raiders and even illness, Marco finally makes it to one of the few towns that still openly supports the Song Dynasty, or at least what is left of the village. When Marco, his father and his uncle are attacked by Mongol troops, things seem to be heading in a poor direction, but they are spared to see the great Kublai Khan (Benedict Wong). Niccolò knows how to behave in the presence of the Mongol supreme leader and asks Marco to copy his behavior, but when the Khan asks how his desert was, if it was still a place of death, Marco gives his own very poetic description, which tickles the Khan’s senses as it’s the first non-biased description he has heard in a long time. As Niccolò notices the pleased look on the Khan’s visage, he throws in his own son as a collateral, which would allow him to open a trading route on the Silk Road. The Khan accepts and thus Marco is now his honored guest in a gilded cage nonetheless. That being said, it’s clear the Khan has a certain liking for the boy, and thus he wishes to hear more of his descriptions of items, which is not to the liking of the Khan’s advisors and his son prince Jingim (Remy Hii).

Overall the flow of this series is rather slow but there’s more than enough going on, ranging from historical facts, grand battles and scenes with dashing environments. The story of Marco Polo is being told, all while the Khan’s war with the Song Dynasty is brewing, as well as more information is given about the Khan’s family and other ‘esteemed guests’. This makes it more than simply about Marco, which in turn makes the series very interesting, especially seeing you’ll get to know several characters on different sides of the fence, making you either sympathize for so-called evil characters or perhaps start hating those on the good side.

Marco Polo S1 - 2

Acting performances are quite phenomenal for a cast, that might have starred in quite a few titles, but never truly stole the show in those respective series or movies. Overall the lead characters portrayed by Lorenzo Richelmy and Benedict Wong offer a certain kind of harmony, which evolves from master and slave to a subtle hint of friendship. Remy Hii does a great job in playing the rather privileged son of the Khan, who sometimes acts like a spoiled brat, as he is desperately trying to get his father’s approval. Tom Wu plays Hundred Eyes, who is Marco’s martial arts instructor and he does a stellar job at it, which can be admired in the amazing fight scenes but also the mysterious aura and history surrounding his character. On the Chinese side of business Olivia Cheng and Chin Han do a great job in playing an estranged brother and sister pair. Olivia Cheng who plays Mei Lin has been used by her brother, who is now the chancellor of the Song Dynasty, to bed enough men making him rise to the top of the ranks, and now he is keen on grasping all the power for himself. Last but not least, Zhu Zhu plays Kokachin, who is a foreign princess and also trapped in the Khan’s gilded cage, but has a clear liking for Marco and vice versa.

Sadly this DVD release of the first season of Marco Polo does not come with any special features. While the series stands well on its own, it’s a missed opportunity no extra content was added. It would have been great to see certain choreographies of battles or dive deeper into the tale of Marco Polo himself with some extra historical data.

Marco Polo S1 - 3


Marco Polo: Season 1 is a great series for those who want a fun historical series, with both grand battles and an adventurous tone. Game of Thrones fans will surely find their pick, as the creators of the series had a hand in producing this one as well (hooray, boobs for everyone). Nonetheless, we’re already looking forward to the second season of this tale of exploring the far east.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Marco Polo: Season 1 (DVD) - Series Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.