Thread: Sinbad on Syfy
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Old June 10 2013, 05:09 PM   #3
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Re: Sinbad on Syfy

So far, I'm quite impressed by it. Mainly because it's the first Sinbad series or movie I've ever seen that didn't whitewash the character or his world. In the past, most screen Sinbads have been white, even when they were pretending to be Arabs. In the '96 Adventures of Sinbad, the title character was explicitly a (white) foreigner magically transported to the Middle East. In the infamous Legend of the Seven Seas animated movie from 2003, they expunged any Arab references and reinterpreted Sinbad and his whole world as part of Greek mythology. Now we finally get a series with a nonwhite Sinbad -- although, granted, actor Elliot Knight appears more African than Arab, and the overall cast is a mix of ethnic types. But it's progress nonetheless; at least we're past the time when the hero of an American or British adventure show had to be white. And I love the location work, the use of a preserved historic site in Malta (apparently) to represent medieval Basra. It's gorgeous and gives the show an authentic Middle Eastern feel -- although I can't say the same for the very cheesy CGI of the palace.

But I'm liking the writing and character work so far as well. This is a rather revisionist take on Sinbad; in the original legends, he was just a noble scion whose family had used up its wealth so that he went to sea looking for adventure and profit. Here, he's a street rat and career thief and hustler who has to atone for a couple of evils he accidentally/recklessly committed. It remains to be seen how well the supporting cast will work out, but Sinbad's journey so far is interesting to me, and I think the show's off to a good start. Granted, it got cancelled after only one season, so maybe one shouldn't expect greatness, but I'm definitely eager to see what comes next.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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