Over the last year Sky 1 has started to carve out a good reputation for itself in scripted British comedy, and now with the expensive and well promoted Sinbad they aim for that reputation to be carried over into their British drama. Sky was once the place you went if you wanted endless Simpsons marathons but in the last 12 months they’ve proven doubters wrong and provided some top quality programming.
As with any programme that is extensively promoted, I was quite intrigued to see how good Sinbad would be and if it was worth the hype Sky had created. I’ll admit now that I went into watching Sinbad with no real prior knowledge of the story. Obviously I knew it was a fantasy adventure focusing on Sinbad and he spent a lot of time on a ship but that’s pretty much where my knowledge on the swash buckler ended. First impressions were good. Sinbad felt unlike any British drama. I suppose that could be down to the rumoured £14million budget The money is well spent and the scenery and locations are stunning.
The first episode certainly looked expensive, the locations and the overall look of the episode was brilliant and really gave it that fantasy feel. However, the special effects were a little more mixed, in places they were great such as the scene where Sinbad was fighting the water monsters (I can’t remember what they were really called) but in other places they may as well have just shown the green screen as they weren’t fooling anyone. Don’t get me wrong, on the whole the effects were great but it’s when a programme is so reliant on effects every single one of them needs to work.
My knowledge of Sinbad’s back story may be lacking but what I gathered from the opening scenes is that he is supposed to be some poor peasant who has to resort to fighting and stealing to get money, so I did find it strange that he seemed as well dressed and groomed as anyone else. When I say well groomed, I just mean wearing as much eyeliner as everyone else, seriously they must have got through tonnes of the stuff while filming this, at times it could have been mistaken for an eyeliner advertising campaign. For a Sinbad novice like myself I was slightly annoyed that not enough time was spent telling the backstory or setting the story up, it went straight into the action which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I hope we do get to explore Sinbad’s backstory in one way or another over the course of the series. Elliot Knight, who plays Sinbad, is fantastic in the role but I feel he may be too good looking and athletic for me to believe the character and accept his supposedly bad circumstances. May that’s an issue of my own though
Despite my nitpicking I enjoyed Sinbad and applaud those at Sky for trying something different. The trick with this and any other fantasy piece is to take it seriously. If you enjoy it for what is it is, a light fun for the whole family drama on a Sunday night you can’t go wrong. It’s pure fun escapism. Yes perhaps Sinbad needs to become more likeable, so far he is just somebody who has killed another guy and has been stealing on the streets, these aren’t the best things to have associated with the main character, being banished off the land and saving a girl from drowning doesn’t quite balance it out or make me feel me sorry for him. On the whole the first episode was well set up and if the story can progress next week while the standard of special effects and action are maintained then I can see this being a mighty enjoyable series.
Contributed by Luke Humphries.