Netflix is now churning out original series. With the success of series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black the impetus is there for Netflix to keep going. Marco Polo is the latest. You might be thinking that another series like Rome or Game of Thrones that reimagines history is not what is needed. Especially another one that relies on blood, violence and sex. The thing is that Marco Polo and his era is not someone or a time that we know that much about so those behind the series did not have their hand tied in that respect.
Marco Polo is a young Italian who has accompanied his father on a voyage into the deepest recesses of the Mongolian Empire. The Pontiff has sent this merchant family on a trip for him. There Marco and his father (played by Pierfrancesco Favino) see the brutality of the Empire, which is waging war against the Song Dynasty.
Before long the Polos are apprehended and brought before Kublai Khan (played by Benedict Wong). He is angered by the fact that they don’t have the proper permission papers from the Pope. On the verge of banishing them, he is stopped when Marco’s way with words impresses him. Before long Marco’s father has struck up a deal with Khan. He will leave behind Marco if the Silk Road is left open to him.
Marco is crushed but soon learns how to survive in his new home. A monk named Hundred Eyes (played by Tom Wu) takes him under his wings. As he grows up Marco finds himself in the middle of many a conflict between sides looking for power.
Maybe because the aforementioned series are so good my expectations were a little high, but the first few episodes of Marco Polo were disappointing. It did get better as the season went on. Then it really gets going and proves itself to be a series worth your time investment. Even lead actor Lorenzo Richelmy takes some getting used to. It takes several episodes for him to find his stride as Marco Polo.
– The Marco Polo Documentary (1080p, 38:02): A up close look at the historical figure Marco Polo with a couple of different filmmakers and some technical advisors (historical) that worked on the show.
Deleted Scenes (1080p): Episode 1: Alternate Opening Sequence (2:46), Marco in Venice — Extended (8:45), and Niccolo’s Homecoming Dinner (3:27). Episode 2: Marco Destroys His Room (1:06). Episode 3: Ahmad & Marco Before Kaidu’s Feast (2:19) and Extended Ending (4:54). Episode 4: Prelude to Diplomacy (0:54) and Marco’s Sword (1:15). Episode 5: “I Am Destined for Paradise” (1:58) and Jingim Rouses the Mongol Generals (2:58). Episode 8: Jia Sidao’s Confession — Extended (1:52). Episode 9: Empress Chabi & Kokachin — Extended (1:20), Byamba & Khutulun Make Dinner (2:03), Kaidu’s Family Dinner (4:01), and Marco’s Meditation — Extended (2:43). Episode 10: Kokachin & Marco — Extended (1:06) and Kublai Khan’s Victory Ceremony (2:10).
Gag Reel (1080p, 3:23).
The Martial Arts of Marco Polo (1080p, 7:33): Show creator John Fusco and Stunt Coordinator Brett Chan take you through the series’ choreography.
Fight Scene Rehearsals (1080p): Fight rehearsals, sound effects and CGI are gone over using the final sequence of the show. Included are Hundred Eyes vs. Marco (1:09), Mei Lin vs. Song Soldiers (0:57), Jia Sidao vs. Whirlwind Tiger (0:50), Hashshashin Attack (2:16), Mei Lin Attacks at White Moon Festival (1:32), Fang Zhen & Hundred Eyes vs. Jia Sidao (2:09), and Marco & Hundred Eyes vs. Jia Sidao (3:18).
The Visual Effects of Marco Polo (1080p, 2:57): Comparisons of incomplete vs. complete effects shots.
The Making of the Opening Titles (1080p, 1:40): Fast run through of the making of the titles.
Concept Art-to-Scene Comparison (1080p, 3:08): Concept art versus the final shot of the series.
Concept Art Gallery (1080p): Can be viewed as either a slideshow (9:46) or a user-controlled gallery.
Costume Gallery (1080p): Can be viewed as either a slideshow (3:16) or a user-controlled gallery.