Marco Polo (TV series)
|Created by||John Fusco|
|Theme music composer||Daniele Luppi|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||51–60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||The Weinstein Company
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV), 2160p (4K UHD)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original run||December 12, 2014– present|
Marco Polo is an American drama series about Marco Polo's early years in the court of Kublai Khan, the Khagan of the Mongolian Empire and the founder of the Yuan dynasty, which lasted from 1271-1368. The show premiered on Netflix on December 12, 2014. The series was written and created by John Fusco and stars Lorenzo Richelmy in the title role. The series is produced by The Weinstein Company. On January 7, 2015, Marco Polo was renewed by Netflix for a 10-episode second season.
Cast and characters
- Lorenzo Richelmy as Marco Polo
- Benedict Wong as Kublai Khan
- Joan Chen as Chabi, empress of the Yuan Dynasty, the Khan's chief wife.
- Rick Yune as Kaidu, the Khan's cousin, leader of the East Turkestan
- Amr Waked as Yusuf, the Khan's Vice Regent or chancellor.
- Remy Hii as Prince Jingim, the Khan's lawful son and heir.
- Zhu Zhu as Kokachin, the "Blue Princess" of the Bayaut tribe of Mongolia.
- Tom Wu as Hundred Eyes, a Taoist monk bound to serve the Khan.
- Mahesh Jadu as Ahmad, the Khan's Minister of Finance
- Olivia Cheng as Mei Lin, concubine of the late Emperor Lizong of Song.
- Uli Latukefu as Byamba, the Khan's bastard, a general of both the imperial army and the Mongol horde.
- Chin Han as Jia Sidao, the chancellor to the Song Emperors Huaizong and Duanzong, and Mei Lin's brother.
- Pierfrancesco Favino as Niccolò Polo, Marco's father.
- Baljinnyamyn Amarsaikhan as Ariq Böke, the Khan's brother, overseer of Karakorum.
- Corrado Invernizzi as Maffeo Polo, Marco's uncle.
- Tan Kheng Hua as Xie Daoqing, empress dowager of the Song Dynasty.
- Claudia Kim as Khutulun, Kaidu's daughter, a peerless warrior in her own right.
- Oon Shu An as Jing Fei, Mei Lin's friend, also an imperial concubine.
- Darwin Shaw as Sabbah, one of the Khan's tax collectors, reporting to Ahmad.
- Lawrence Makoare as Za Bing, Princess Kokachin's eunuch protector.
The series was originally developed at Starz, which had picked up the series in January 2012. After attempts to film in China failed, the project was released back to The Weinstein Company. Netflix then picked up the series for a 10-episode season, for approximately $90 million. The project was officially announced at Netflix in January 2014. Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg serve as executive producers and directed the pilot and second episodes, "The Wayfarer" and "The Wolf and the Deer", respectively. The series was filmed in Italy, Kazakhstan, and at Pinewood Studios in Malaysia.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Release date|
|1||1||"The Wayfarer"||Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg||John Fusco||December 12, 2014|
|2||2||"The Wolf and the Deer"||Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg||John Fusco||December 12, 2014|
|3||3||"Feast"||Alik Sakharov||Michael Chernuchin||December 12, 2014|
|4||4||"The Fourth Step"||Alik Sakharov||Brett Conrad||December 12, 2014|
|5||5||"Hashshashin"||Daniel Minahan||Patrick Macmanus||December 12, 2014|
|6||6||"White Moon"||Daniel Minahan||Dave Erickson||December 12, 2014|
|7||7||"The Scholar's Pen"||David Petrarca||Michael Chernuchin||December 12, 2014|
|8||8||"Rendering"||John Maybury||Brett Conrad||December 12, 2014|
|9||9||"Prisoners"||David Petrarca||Patrick Macmanus||December 12, 2014|
|10||10||"The Heavenly And Primal"||John Maybury||John Fusco||December 12, 2014|
Marco Polo has been met with mixed to negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the show holds a rating of 30%, based on 27 reviews, with an average rating of 4.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "An all-around disappointment, Marco Polo is less entertaining than a round of the game that shares its name." On Metacritic, the show has a score of 48 out of 100 based on 21 reviews by critics, indicating "mixed reviews".
In his review for Entertainment Weekly, Jeff Jensen gave the first season a "B-" rating, calling the premise "stale", but noted "Somewhere in the middle of episode 2, though, Marco Polo becomes surprisingly watchable. The filmmaking becomes bolder." Writing for People, Tom Gliatto praised the series, calling it "...a fun, body-flinging, old-fashioned epic". USA Today reviewer Robert Bianco gave the series 11⁄2 stars out of 4, noting "Clearly what Netflix hopes you'll see a big-bucks, prestige entertainment along the lines of that HBO fantasy epic, but in truth, Marco [Polo] is far closer to one of those cheesy international syndicated adventures."
- "Netflix’s ‘Marco Polo’ Sets December Premiere Date". Deadline.com. August 28, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
- "Netflix's 'Marco Polo' Sets Its Cast". The Hollywood Reporter. April 8, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
- Miller, Thomas. "Marco Polo Renewed". Seat42F. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
- "Joan Chen Joins Netflix Series ‘Marco Polo’". Variety. May 15, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
- Approximately the current Xinjiang.
- "Egyptian Star Amr Waked Joins ‘Marco Polo’ Cast (EXCLUSIVE)". May 20, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- "Chin Han joins Marco Polo cast". May 16, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
- Villareal, Yvonne (13 January 2012). "Marco Polo to get the Starz treatment with new original series". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- The Weinstein Company, Seeking Hits, Shifts to TV
- "It's Official: Netflix Orders Series 'Marco Polo' From Weinstein Co.". deadline.com. January 14, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- "Malaysia Airlines MH370 passengers include stuntman, honeymooners". 7 April 2014.
- Mike Ayers. "Inside ‘Marco Polo,’ Netflix’s $90 Million Epic". WSJ.
- "MARCO POLO: SEASON 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
- "Marco Polo (2014) : Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
- Jensen, Jeff (January 7, 2015). "Marco Polo Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
- Gliatto, Tom (December 12, 2014). "Netflix's Fun New Marco Polo Is All About the Wrath of Kublai Khan". people.com. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
- Bianco, Robert (December 12, 2014). "'Marco Polo' gets lost on the Silk Road to nowhere". USA Today. Retrieved January 10, 2015.