Last week, Sky1 debuted Sinbad, their new fantasy-adventure show in the vein of Doctor Who, Merlin and so forth. A group of misfits sail the seas, led by Elliot Knight as Sinbad, legendary sailor, cursed to die if he sets foot on land for more than a day and a night.
So, is this a worthy addition to the family-friendly/effects-heavy gang? Or is it another Primeval?
Sinbad? Singood? Sinterrible?
I’ve watched the first two episodes of Sinbad, bringing me up to date with Sky, and it’s trying, bless it. There’s a diverse cast and a setting (although I’m not quite sure what the reason for anyone beyond Sinbad staying in that setting is yet).
The pilot episode is, as they often are, heavily preoccupied with setting everything up. Because it needs to do a load of business with Sinbad’s personal origin first, we don’t get any sense of a regular cast until the last ten minutes.
It also provides little development for any main characters except Sinbad himself, and perhaps the nervous doctor chap, who seems earmarked as Sinbad’s bromantic partner. Unfortunately, this continues throughout the second episode too – I still don’t know any of their names. Merlin sells its ridiculous and circular plots via characterisation, humour and actor chemistry – Sinbad needs to get some of that.
Elliot Knight and his “swagger”
Sky are staking a lot on this as a big production, there are some impressive CGI creatures – I especially enjoyed the water thingy in episode one. Ironically, the establishing shots of the sea are less convincing, a niggle when your show is often set on a boat.
Elliot Knight’s central performance as Sinbad himself is mostly solid. He can do thoughtfulness or heroism, but when he’s clearly been told to play “arrogance” or “swagger”, it looks forced. And yes, there are times when he’s meant to be faking it, but not all of them.
There is a set-up for a decent show here, all it needs to do is give us an ensemble to get a grip on, but as of now, it’s a slightly lifeless script. Nonetheless, it could become good. With that eternal optimism in mind, I’m going to watch the remaining eleven episodes and see what happens. So, same time next week? Remember: if I miss a review, I die. (Not actually true.)
Edit: the trailer as requested!