Two years ago, Sky1’s controller said this of Sinbad: “Doctor Who is aimed at one type of family — our show will be for a younger, cooler family who like sexy, cool heroes.” My family never sat in the living room together marvelling at the sexiness of topless sailor chaps, but whatever floats your boat.
Oh, and interesting that the final product aired a whole year after that article said it should. It’s almost as if Sinbad had a troubled production and obvious problems. And now I review the series finale.
Sinbad Trots To Hell
After weeks of build-up, Sinbad travels to the land of the dead and attempts to save his brother, only for it to end exactly as you’d expect: our hero learns that you can’t change the past, so must live with his actions. If only he’d listened when I shouted that at the screen a month ago.
To enliven this predictable trot-along, we get two twists: firstly, Sinbad enters an alternate Basra in which he never existed, meeting rubbish versions of Anwar and Gunnar. This shows us that Sinbad’s adventures matter and the hours I’ve spent watching this show are not wasted. It’ll take more than a hazy irrelevant dream sequence to convince me of that.
Rina did not appear in that bit, because they have lost interest in her since introducing Tiger. Only one cool female character allowed at once, and the writers of Sinbad have clearly chosen their favourite. Don’t start any long novels, Rina. Honestly surprised she survived this episode.
Evil Taryn Trots Suddenly Towards Redemption
Second twist: Evil Priestess Taryn reveals she has done all her badness to get Sinbad’s help in rescuing her dead daughter. I refuse to believe her back catalogue of conquest and bloodletting fits with this motivation. It’s nice that the writers are trying to humanise their villain, but maybe start earlier next time, guys? Still, it does provide us with a quest for the episode beyond Sinbad’s quite obvious one, which I appreciated.
Oh, wait, Sinbad finds out he’s half-dead or something. As with my comments about humanising the Priestess, this reveal would’ve worked a lot better if it had been set up at all in previous weeks. Maybe they aim to go somewhere with it in a possible second series.
There are decent scenes, but as a whole this feels too aimless and undramatic for a finale. Really, episode seven felt more meaningful and conclusive. The monster special effects are good, although the external boat sequences look particularly bad this week.
Looking wider at the whole series: I’ve gone on a whole twelve episode journey with these characters, and they still seem so dull, serious and awkward. Things worsened in the latter half, when the loss of both the Basra arc and Sinbad’s curse meant they didn’t even have a strong sense of purpose.
It’s encouraging to see Sky enter the family drama arena, but I can’t pretend Sinbad has worked. Hopefully they’ll try again and hit the spot. (Or, at the very least, renew this show and retool it dramatically.)