The short-lived BBC retelling of the journey of Sinbad makes its way to the shores of America this Summer courtesy of the Syfy Channel. The series, cancelled after a single season, stars Elliot Knight as a thief who flees his home following the accidental death of the son of a powerful lord (Naveen Andrews), as well as the death of Sinbad’s younger brother (Devon Anderson) and a curse bestowed on the young man by his grandmother (Janet Suzman) forcing Sinbad to a life on the high seas and unable to spend more than a single day at a time on land.
The show’s “Pilot” spends its entire running time setting up the series as Sinbad will not stowaway on the ship until more than halfway through the episode. Surviving the storm, which includes an attack by mystical water creatures, Sinbad earns his keep and finds himself one of the only survivors the next morning. The rest of the crew include the ship’s doctor Anwar (Dimitri Leonidas), a traveler (Estella Daniels) who was robbed by Sinbad back in the city, the ship’s cook (Junix Inocian), a trader named Gunnar (Elliot Cowan), and another young stowaway (Marama Corlett).
Not satisfied with the death of Sinbad’s brother, Lord Akbari (Andrews) vows to find the thief and exact even more revenge. Also lurking around the edges of the story is a witch (Orla Brady) who agrees to help him to further her own purposes. Although much time is spent to showcase the nature of Sinbad, very little is spent introducing the other core characters who will make up the crew (as none of them are even introduced until the Pilot’s action-heavy second-half).
Sinbad shows promise, although Knight is a questionable choice for its lead. Given the action and adventure we see glimpses of here (with passable CGI effects) I might stick around and see where the wind blows this motley crew, but I can also see cracks early on in basic storyteling and the logic of the series that, if they weren’t fixed in the episodes to come, would certainly explain the early cancellation of the series.