|Benedict Wong as Big Boss Pimp Daddy Kublai Khan|
Like many of you here at the Narrative, I love watching historical dramas from Korea, China, Japan, the Philippines, and wish I could watch more from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. You could say people like us have gotten spoiled by sites like Viki, DramaFever, and the Korean section on Hulu. And sometimes even Netflix.
I was going to wait and watch the whole Marco Polo series before I said something. But what I've seen this far warrants addressing. Like...right now.
Warning: When you watch Marco Polo, a few things happen very quickly.
1) You will stop giving a shit about Marco Polo. You realize right away that the only reason the show was named after him and he's chosen as our protagonist is that someone wanted to do a project about Mongols but wanted to make it about a white dude...when they should've done a damn series about the Mongols and had done with it.
2) You will love the settings but despise the writing. Once again, you're made patently aware that white dudes are running the show, drafting dialogue in a way Asian dramatists generally don't.
3) You will love the casting but hate the acting. After all, the script isn't giving them much to work with.
4) You will want to base an entire drinking game off the phrase "Eternal Blue Sky." No, really.
5) You will wonder WTF happened with Rick Yune. Rick Yune's name always appears in the credits, but he's not always in the episodes. When he is, his screen time lasts only a few minutes. You wonder if his name is simply bait. Don't even get me started on the characterization of his daughter. It's clearly a white dude's handiwork.
6) You will notice that this project is way, way, way below Joan Chen. They must have offered an insanely large paycheck
7) You will get the impression Marco Polo is little more than a ninety million-dollar Asian fetish, which is what always seems to happen whenever white people are allowed anywhere near Asian history and drama. It's like they're biologically incapable of separating "Asia" from "fantasy."
The number of fully naked Asian women and white-looking women seems uncountable (soooooo glad no African women were part of this hot mess). The women are all lusty, some are surgically busty, and all are magically interested in any and every man (or woman) who walks by. The sex scenes are random and do nothing for the overall narrative. It's pure (white) male fantasy. Meanwhile, all I could think about was how every noise they make and every smile they flash is so obviously fake. Again, you have to wonder how much money they were offered. I can already tell you they got ripped off.
8) You will think the opening credits and music are the highlight of every episode. After the credits end, it all goes downhill from there.