‘Sinbad’ Episode 1 Review

Not a perfect start – but a promising one for Sky One’s “Sinbad”

If like me you grew up watching the several repeats of the Sinbad films, as well as the various incarnations it churned out over the years, the story, (or premise, as its changed numerous times over the years, with the only constant being he sails a ship) should be well-known to you. Now it’s Sky’s turn to try its hand at a twelve episode voyage of discovery.

The opening sequence of the camera sweeping over the exotic golden landscapes is certainly enough to draw you in and provide an escapism. There’s a lot going for Sinbad; a good cast; a stunning location, and some pretty nifty special effects. However it lacks depth and suffers from poor narrative. The action and fight sequences are pivotal to the start of a chain of events, but are let down by poor editing on the hand to hand combat scenes.

Sinbad (played by newcomer Elliot Knight) is forced to flee Basra after he accidentally causes the death of the son of Lord Akbari in a street fight for money. In a revenge attack Lord Akbari (Lost’s Naveen Andrews), kills Sinbad’s Brother Jamil (Devon Anderson) and sets his men after the escaped Sinbad. To add to his troubles; as penance for the suffering he has caused his family a curse is placed on Sinbad by his grandmother Safia, who tells him he shall not set foot on dry land for one whole year until he atones for his sins. Sinbad flees and stows away on a ship. And thus the legend of Sinbad starts his journey.

Sinbad stories are seeped in mythology, we get glimpses of it when the grandmother places a curse on Sinbad. Plus the monsters that will change each week. This week we had a sea monsters, and the unseen fear from an item Sinbad stole that we’re yet to learn the significance and consequence of. There are many unanswered questions that I’m sure will be revealed as the series continues.

However I couldn’t get fully engaged when I had no reference as to why Lord Akbari was so feared? We were also expected to guess who a lot of the characters are, and how they link to each other as the story has no introduction or explanations given. Who is the female (Orla Brady) helping the Lord? Who is Sinbad’s grandmother and what power does she hold? And what has happened to Sinbad’s mother. The hierarchy isn’t set up very well other than we know Sinbad is deemed “a street rat” and Akbari is a Lord. The rest is currently stuck in a limbo of who and what their role is.

It’s an action packed start that will attract a family audience. It’s not a perfect start but it’s certainly a promising one. Now we know who the crew of the ship are, and Sinbad has begun his journey, the following weeks should get interesting. And with twelve weeks to tell the story. Sinbad has a lot of ground to cover.