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Blu-ray Review: ‘Sinbad: Season One’

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BBC Home Entertainment recently released Sinbad: Season One on Blu-ray. The show, which premiered on the British Sky television network, unfortunately only ran for one season, but there is still a lot to enjoy. In the style of other fantasy action series such as Merlin and even the science-fiction cult classic FarscapeSinbad features a young, ethnically diverse cast who are thrown together, and have to go on the run, where they experience a series of magical adventures.

 

Elliot Knight as Sinbad

Elliot Knight as Sinbad

The crew of the Providence, L-R: Gunnar, Anwar, Nala, Rina, and Cook

The crew of the Providence, L-R: Gunnar, Anwar, Nala, Rina, and Cook

Sinbad (Elliot Knight) is on the lam from his home of Basra, after he inadvertently has caused the death of the only son of Lord Akbari (Naveen Andrews). In retaliation, Lord Akbari has had Sinbad’s beloved brother Jamil (Devon Anderson) killed. But even that violent act doesn’t seem enough for Akbari, who is consumed with revenge. With the help of the mage Taryn (Orla Brady), he tries to seek Sinbad across land and sea. Sinbad manages to stow away aboard the ship the Providence, where he meets his new traveling companions: thief Rina (Marama Corlett), Viking warrior Gunnar (Elliot Cowan), doctor Anwar (Dimitri Leonidas), noble woman Nala (Estella Daniels), and Cook (Junix Inocian). Sinbad isn’t just pursued by Taryn and Akbari, but the wrath of his grandmother as well, who blames him for the death of his brother by cursing him — he must constantly roam the seas until he comes to terms with his responsibility for the crime — only able to be on land for a day at a time.

The 12 episodes include:

“Pilot” Sinbad loses his brother, gains two powerful enemies, and sets sail on the Providence with a very eclectic crew.

“Queen of the Water-Thieves” After the Providence crew lands on an island, Sinbad is (temporarily) favored by the Queen of the Water Thieves (Sophie Okonedo), who dallies with him while her tribe holds his crew hostage.

“House of Games” Always a gambler, Sinbad loses the Providence in a wager. He is given an opportunity to win back his ship at a dangerous mystical gambling den, the House of Games.

“Old Man of the Sea” The Providence is drifting, its water supply running low, when Sinbad sights a shipwreck. The crew rescues the lone survivor, Anicetus (Timothy Spall), whose presence begins to have adverse effects on the crew, especially Nala.

“Hunted” The crew learns a bit more about Gunnar and his Viking past while trying to escape from a creature created by Taryn’s magic, a “Familiar.”

“The Siren” The Providence moors offshore from an island where Sinbad finds solace in the arms of the lovely Roisin (Georgia King) — if he doesn’t mind giving up all of his memories.

Lord Akbari

Lord Akbari

“Homecoming” Sinbad and the gang are back in Basra, to rescue his grandmother and to finally face Akbari and Taryn.

“Kuji” The gang discovers an ancient box. Hoping for gold or jewels, they manage to open the chest which reveals not treasure, but a self-proclaimed god named Kuji (Hannah Tointon). Only Anwar seems to believe in her, which may have disastrous consequences for the rest of the crew.

“Eye of the Tiger” Always in search of treasure, Sinbad and the crew are led to a magical red stone, which is also sought by a young man named Riff (Lee Ingleby). Further complicating matters is a bounty hunter sent by Taryn, Tiger (Tuppence Middleton), who forms an uneasy alliance/flirtation with Sinbad.

“For Whom the Egg Shatters” In a rather strange monster movie-like episode, the Providence crew takes on some paying cargo, a professor/mad scientist (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and her giant egg, which seems like a good idea — until the egg hatches.

“Fiend or Friend?” Gunnar meets a lovely widow, named Lara (Miranda Raison), who also has a powerful admirer in a local priest, Father La Stessa (Dougray Scott). Sinbad must rescue his friend before a local monster called The Fiend attacks Gunnar and the rest of the town.

“Land of the Dead” Sinbad may finally get a chance to reunite with his brother Jamil, but at what cost? Evanna Lynch guest stars.

Sinbad aboard the Providence

Sinbad aboard the Providence

Gunnar and the ram's head statue

Gunnar and the ram’s head statue

The plots and some of the CGI-generated monsters verge on the silly side at times, but the mood of Sinbad is all good fun, and the rapport between the actors adds to the general light mood of the show. The setting of most of the series, which is filmed on location in Malta, looks simply spectacular, especially on a large-scale high-definition television screen (which shows off the 1080p resolution of  and aspect ratio of 1.78:1). Viewers will be enchanted by the gorgeous sea, sky, rocky hills, and ancient structures that serve as a backdrop for Sinbad’s and his crew’s adventures.

It’s a shame that Sinbad only ran for one season, as we get to learn a bit more about each person on the Providence in each episode. There are some intriguing questions that come to mind after viewing the series, such as why Cook never leaves the Providence, and whether Sinbad will ever get to see his brother again. And why is there a giant statue of a ram’s head on the ship? We may never know for sure, but there is still plenty for the entire family to enjoy in this attractive-looking series.

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