Marco Polo (TV series)

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Marco Polo
Marco Polo 2014 title card.jpg
Genre Drama
Historical fantasy
Created by John Fusco
Directed by
Theme music composer Daniele Luppi
  • Peter Nashel
  • Eric V. Hachikian
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 10 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Richard Sharkey
  • Brett Conrad
  • Collin Creighton
Running time 51–60 minutes
Production company(s) The Weinstein Company TV
Original channel Netflix
Picture format 1080i (HDTV), 2160p (4K UHD)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original release December 12, 2014 (2014-12-12) – 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.[1] The series was written and created by John Fusco and stars Lorenzo Richelmy in the title role.[2] The series is produced by The Weinstein Company. On January 7, 2015, Marco Polo was renewed by Netflix for a 10-episode second season.[3]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Recurring cast[edit]


The series was originally developed at Starz, which had picked up the series in January 2012.[8] After attempts to film in China failed, the project was released back to The Weinstein Company.[2] Netflix then picked up the series for a 10-episode season, for approximately $90 million.[9] 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.[10] The series was filmed in Italy, Kazakhstan, and at Pinewood Studios in Malaysia.[10]

Stuntman Ju Kun was scheduled to work the show alongside fight choreographer Brett Chan, but he is presumed dead with the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.[11]

To prepare for her role as Chabi, Joan Chen read the book The Secret History of the Mongol Queens by Jack Weatherford, as she wanted her performance to reflect the culture of the time period.[12]


No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Release date
1 1 "The Wayfarer" Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg John Fusco December 12, 2014 (2014-12-12)
2 2 "The Wolf and the Deer" Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg John Fusco December 12, 2014 (2014-12-12)
3 3 "Feast" Alik Sakharov Michael Chernuchin December 12, 2014 (2014-12-12)
4 4 "The Fourth Step" Alik Sakharov Brett Conrad December 12, 2014 (2014-12-12)
5 5 "Hashshashin" Daniel Minahan Patrick Macmanus December 12, 2014 (2014-12-12)
6 6 "White Moon" Daniel Minahan Dave Erickson December 12, 2014 (2014-12-12)
7 7 "The Scholar's Pen" David Petrarca Michael Chernuchin December 12, 2014 (2014-12-12)
8 8 "Rendering" John Maybury Brett Conrad December 12, 2014 (2014-12-12)
9 9 "Prisoners" David Petrarca Patrick Macmanus December 12, 2014 (2014-12-12)
10 10 "The Heavenly and Primal" John Maybury John Fusco December 12, 2014 (2014-12-12)


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."[13] On Metacritic, the show has a score of 48 out of 100 based on 21 reviews by critics, indicating "mixed reviews".[14]

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."[15] Writing for People, Tom Gliatto praised the series, calling it "...a fun, body-flinging, old-fashioned epic".[16] USA Today reviewer Robert Bianco gave the series 112 stars out of 4, noting "Clearly what Netflix hopes you'll see a [sic] 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."[17]


  1. ^ "Netflix’s ‘Marco Polo’ Sets December Premiere Date". August 28, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Netflix's 'Marco Polo' Sets Its Cast". The Hollywood Reporter. April 8, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2014. 
  3. ^ Miller, Thomas. "Marco Polo Renewed". Seat42F. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Joan Chen Joins Netflix Series ‘Marco Polo’". Variety. May 15, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 
  5. ^ Approximately the current Xinjiang.
  6. ^ "Egyptian Star Amr Waked Joins ‘Marco Polo’ Cast (EXCLUSIVE)". May 20, 2014. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Chin Han joins Marco Polo cast". May 16, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  8. ^ Villareal, Yvonne (13 January 2012). "Marco Polo to get the Starz treatment with new original series". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  9. ^ The Weinstein Company, Seeking Hits, Shifts to TV
  10. ^ a b "It's Official: Netflix Orders Series 'Marco Polo' From Weinstein Co.". January 14, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Malaysia Airlines MH370 passengers include stuntman, honeymooners". 7 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Mike Ayers. "Inside ‘Marco Polo,’ Netflix’s $90 Million Epic". WSJ. 
  13. ^ "MARCO POLO: SEASON 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Marco Polo (2014) : Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 
  15. ^ Jensen, Jeff (January 7, 2015). "Marco Polo Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  16. ^ Gliatto, Tom (December 12, 2014). "Netflix's Fun New Marco Polo Is All About the Wrath of Kublai Khan". Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  17. ^ Bianco, Robert (December 12, 2014). "'Marco Polo' gets lost on the Silk Road to nowhere". USA Today. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 

External links[edit]