Monday, 23 July 2012

SINBAD, 1.3 - "House of Games"

Monday, 23 July 2012

After three episodes, I'm not sure there's any point continuing weekly reviews of Sinbad, as I'd planned to. Sinbad is one of those shows where my opinion's unlikely to shift, as I just don't derive much pleasure from this show. This week's episode was better than the last, to be fair, with more of a focus on the gang themselves, but there was too much silliness underpinning it. Anwar (Dimitri Leonidas) lost the Providence in a foolish bet with merchant Abdul-Fahim (Ashley Walters with eye shadow), meaning Sinbad (Elliot Knight) and the crew had to try and win it back in an enchanted gaming house. Having Sinbad play cards for wasn't my idea of fun, and the episode slipped into ridiculousness once too often: culminating in Sinbad having to fight Abdul-Fahim inside a shoestring version of Mad Max's Thunderdome (resembling a rotating Atlasphere from Gladiators), before freeing his imprisoned friends by completing a dumb ancient version of The Crystal Maze (with such devious challenges like... well, grabbing a key from some twins).

It was all very unremarkable, and a waste of what's obviously an expensive production from Sky. What a pity they didn't ensure the scripts were as good as the locations. God knows what a subplot with Rina (Marama Corlett) running away to become a casino girl in geisha-style makeup was all about. And the more I see of Lord Akbari (Naveen Andrews) with his Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves-style sorceress, the less I care about his unreasonable pursuit of Sinbad. A man he's already punished, on top of him being cursed by his own grandmother. I guess I should have realised Sinbad wouldn't be that great, because it stars Orla Brady—an actress with the unerring ability to attach herself to bad TV shows, from The Deep to Eternal Law. (Her guest-starring role in Fringe I'm putting down to a fluke.)

There are 10 more weeks of this undercooked tosh. Sinbad had better start giving us grand adventure, creative action, big monsters, while dialling back the clich├ęs. Right now it's like alive-action adaptation of a rubbish Choose Your Own Adventure gamebook from the '80s, but where someone else is making all the wrong decisions and you're dragged along.

22 July 2012, Sky1 @7PM