Well, Netflix's Marco Polo finally has an air date. Set to debut in December of 2014, the ten part series will be available on-line on December, 12th, 2014 @ 12014 PST!
And is now available on home video a little over a year after the series premiere courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment! If you don't have Netflix, are looking for a gift for that nascent adventurer in the family, or simply want an uptick in both image and sound quality then take a chance on catching up with Marco Polo: Season One.
Originally Posted by Blu Ray.com
Explore Marco Polo: Season One on Blu-ray via an oftentimes striking 1080p and somewhat unique and wide(r) 2.00:1-framed transfer (as opposed to the more standardized 1.78:1 modern TV ratio). Image clarity is excellent thanks to a tight, well defined digitally sourced picture that's impeccably clean and endlessly revealing. Terrain looks amazing. Sandy and rock floors, heavily textures rock faces, grasses, and trees appear as complexly defined as the format allows. Ornate clothing textures are the standout. Every stitch and seam and adornment are revealingly complex and tactile. The transfer reveals every bit of gruff stubble on Polo's face with amazing definition. Pores, lines, scars, makeup, and other facial details are likewise superbly presented across the character roster. Even lower light locations, like Khan's throne room, show amazingly intricate details. Scuffs and wear on the tile floor, for example, are endlessly revealing. Colors are excellent, again both in bright exterior light and dimmer interiors lit, usually, by slits of sunlight or some scattered candles and small flames. Primaries pop and earthy support elements, like sand and rocks, are terrific. Black levels are deep, shadow details are excellent, and flesh tones are not problematic. Trace amounts of noise and banding are present but hardly warrant more than a passing mention. Overall, this is another top quality image from Anchor Bay that approaches the reference excellence of Black Sails.
While the reviewer in question is less than kind to the show, they rightly compliment the show's technical prowess. It's quite often beyond most things on the teevee. Full review here.
For those less than inclined to play follow the link, the three disc set features all ten episodes from the first season, and a nice (if all too brief) selection of behind-the-scenes footage.
The Marco Polo Documentary (38:02): A detailed look at the real Marco Polo with various filmmakers (including Creator John Fusco) and historical technical advisers who worked on the show.
I have a couple of shelves dedicated to works on the Mongol Empire and Marco Polo, so it'll be interesting to see if there's any new information brought to light.
Deleted Scenes (37:00): Details can be found on the link. Please note that the descriptions feature minor spoilers.
Gag Reel (3:23): Self-explanatory
The Martial Arts of Marco Polo (7:33): Stunt coordinator Brett Chan & series creator John Fusco discuss some of the philosophy and work that went into creating the series' fight scenes.
Creating compelling fight scenes are some of the most complicated tasks in film production, and I would have liked them to go more in depth on this subject as both a fan and practitioner.
Fight Scene Rehearsals (13:13): More details at the link as well. Descriptions contain minor. The Visual Effects of Marco Polo (2:57): A compilation of incomplete vs. complete effects shots. The Making of the Opening Titles (1:40): A quick, no commentary run-though of the creative process behind the titles.
The above Vimeo videos provide a better look at the conceptualization and creation of the series' title sequence. There's also an in depth interview over at the Art of the Title.
Concept Art-to-Scene Comparison (3:08): Concept art is juxtaposed with the final shot from the series. Concept Art Gallery: Can be viewed as either a slideshow (9:46) or a user-controlled gallery. Costume Gallery: Can be viewed as either a slideshow (3:16) or a user-controlled gallery.
...gird yourself for an hour of all-out kung-fu action!
Yeah, more like ten minutes. I'm not sure where the miscommunication happened, but that hour long special ended up being thirty minutes. Since a couple of scenes feature in the trailer, I wonder if they'll end up being intercut with the mainline episodes? Time will tell.
What was there, however, was pretty very cool. It succeeded in putting Hundred Eyes in the limelight without spelling everything out, and anybody who can wield a nine-part chain whip that effectively is all class in my book. If you haven't checked it out yet, you won't be disappointed!
Originally Posted by Z dweller
I just hope they speed up the pace a tad for season two. Time to see Signor Polo put all that training to good use and kick some butt!
I've been on the fence about this since the beginning. I, on one hand, would have liked them to proceed slower -- end with the arrival in Khanbaliq, and spending the entire first season on the Silk Road absorbing the local culture and learning how the populace loves/loathes/whatever the Great Khan. The final scene of the season finale would end with the Polos crawling* towards Kublai.
*- There's an official term for this that eludes me at the moment.
That's the amateur historian side.
The action movie buff and martial artist would like to see the framework of history kept and the missing gaps in Polo's historical account (and they are there in spades) filled in with... a kung fu-fueled epic by way of Game of Thrones. It's about time somebody took that framework and made it their own too.
The first official poster certainly seems less BBC and more Bruce Lee & Jack Burton, so maybe we'll get both!
The Khan and his subjects await your arrival on July 1st!
Netflix wants to remind you that the entirety of season one is available now. (not that it hasn't been there this whole time.) If you start now you have a leisurely two weeks to catch up on the exploits of Signore Polo and the Great Khan.
Does the guy on the right look familiar? If not, he should. That's Denis Belliveau, one of the two cats to trace Polo's original route overland to China. Him meeting up with series creator John Fusco sort of brings this whole thread full circle now.
If you're curious as to what he's up to these days, drop by his site. There's some interesting stuff contained therein.
Originally Posted by Z dweller
Time to see Signor Polo put all that training to good use and kick some butt!
Maybe a game of Mongol Strike to tide you over?
Be careful of past or present spoilers if you decide to play!
And dig on this behind-the-scenes featurette! There's some new footage, and a couple of big guest star surprises. The scope of this season has definitely been expanded.
And the somewhat obligatory musical piece from the Silk Road Ensemble.
While I am still bitterly disappointed that Netflix axed Marco Polo (while renewing their pre-teen suicide drama), I have found something else regarding another steppe people -- the Oghuz Turks.
Geralt is that you?
With 176 episodes (!!) so far and a third season on the way, Dirilis: Ertugrul is in no danger of running out of episodes. Or theoretically being canceled since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan likes greeting foreign dignitaries with the theme song. If I managed just once episode a day that would put me well into January!
So what's it about? Nothing less than the founding of the Ottoman Empire! The titular character is the father of Osman I, the founder of the dynasty.
So far some of the translations are odd. They're missing words at time, so you'll have to fill in the blanks. It's not a problem so far, but it is noticeable. Though, it might have something to do with the different speaking styles. Traditionally Islamic countries use more flowery speech whereas our desire for just the facts has killed our enjoyment of poetry.
There are more beards here than in the entirety of Game of Thrones!
What it doesn't it have is HBO's budget, but despite that fact the costumes look good, the characters are all entertaining, and the action is pretty good.