So far, I’ve written two reviews of Sky’s Sinbad, one of the first two episodes and another of last week’s episode three. Those episodes were bad in roughly the same way, and I was worried this was going to get repetitive. I had a back-up plan to write this one in haiku to keep myself interested.
But I’ll keep that in my back pocket for later in the series, as this week’s Sinbad was… not quite as bad! In a slightly different way!
Timothy Spall – Rat At Sea
One of my critiques of this show has been the one-note blankness of the cast aside from Sinbad himself. They hang around in the background, running through their one character trait, while he does and feels everything important. Well, this week, the sidekicks get to have emotions and seem three-dimensional. Wow.
The plot: to save budget, and rest Sinbad’s curse gimmick, our heroes are trapped on their boat while a mysterious old man messes with them. This creepy dude is played by Timothy Spall (Wormtail from Harry Potter), and he’s good at this sort of thing. That might be one reason this episode lands more solidly. (Although they keep going on about how “old” he is, when he’s clearly just middle-aged.)
Anyway, being individually mind-gamed gives the characters a chance to have reactions more unique than “CRAP BIG SCARY THING RUN!”, which is just what they needed. And, of course, one of them ends up revealing a big secret.
Cook – The Clue Is In The Name
On the other hand, it remains utterly charmless. I have a better idea who these characters are, but still don’t really care about them. Cook, the one character who provided humour or joy, is side-lined early on, leaving us to hit the angst hard. (Also, “You can’t leave us, old friend!” seemed a bit much for a guy you barely know.)
The cut-backs to Sinbad’s hometown are coming across as a slightly needless attempt to nail on a story arc too. You could leave it for a bit, guys.
In short, a welcome break from the “go somewhere and run around” formula, which they’d impressively managed to run into the ground after two episodes, and a good guest villain too. One of the better Sinbad episodes. Still not going to recommend it, though. Wait for Merlin to come back if you want to watch this kind of thing.