Thursday, July 7, 2016

Marco......Polo.....?

So I watched season 2 of Marco Polo and even though I really enjoy the series and the entire idea behind it, this most recent season wasn't as good as the first. There was some good character growth in season 2, and the production design and cinematography remained stunning, but the writing just wasn't as good as season 1, nor were the fight sequences. The final showdown between the Chancellor and Hundred Eyes from season 1 was so good, yet there wasn't anything that came even close in this season. So Kublai Khan still retains his throne and stranglehold over China and the surrounding area, but his vice-chancellor Ahmad continues to plot against him to destroy his reign and him eventually is his long term goal. Part of that plan is using Mongolian laws to take the mantle of Khan away from Kublai and give it to one of his rivals. Ironically, Kaidu (the one who would be Khan of Khans) believes that in so challenging Kublai's right to rule, he is saving the empire from becoming too "Chinese" and the protecting the Mongolian people losing their nomadic way of life along with other cultural ideology. So all of the characters were relatively good, and the actors and actresses who portrayed them delivered very well. A nice edition this season was Michelle Yeoh, but she wasn't used as well as she should have been considering her fine caliber of an actress and martial arts expertise. She and Tom Wu (Hundred Eyes) were awesome together, but the writers should have done more with that plot point than they did. I felt like Marco Polo was kind of left out of this season while many of the other characters were brought to the forefront as he was then put on the sidelines. The character of Mei Ling (played by Olivia Cheng) was one character I really enjoyed seeing on-screen of most of the characters; she was strong, intelligent, passionate, and has the keen ability to survive anything. Great traits for a great character. In regards to the writing, one problem they had throughout the second season was that there were too many plots and arcs going on that they didn't have enough time to properly and effectively explore each one and gain a fair amount of character depth. It was an entertaining season, and I love Chinese history and Asian history of that era, but it wasn't a resounding successful season in my opinion. I don't know what Netflix's problem is, but a lot of their shows start off really good, and then quickly lose steam after the first season, although with House of Cards it was after season 2. Hopefully they turn it around soon and get some better writers. I honestly don't know what's going on with Hollywood; it seems like there is a vast absence of good writers. Once again concerning international affairs there doesn't really seem to be any good news, and the trend of "out of the frying pan and into the fire" continues to remain true regarding how the state of global affairs is going. I'm going to make a fictional parallel here, but I think it works; ISIS or DAESH is very, very similar to The Brotherhood of Nod. If you haven't played any of the PC game series Command and Conquer then you won't understand the parallel, but basically the idea is that ISIS is going to be around for a very, very long time and will only become more lethal through the passage of time. And to think, it is very likely all of this could have been prevented five years ago.

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