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Sinbad Comes to Syfy

By September 17, 2012

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Dimitri Leonidas as Anwar and Elliot Knight as the title adventurer in (I)Sinbad(/i).

Dimitri Leonidas as Anwar and Elliot Knight as the title adventurer in Sinbad.

© Sky1

Sinbad, a cocky attempt at a younger, hipper version of the centuries-old Persian/Arabic story cycle that most people connect with films featuring the special effects wizardry of Ray Harryhausen, has been picked up in America by Syfy.

Appropriately enough, given the emphasis on strange creatures and environments and the sfx associations of past adaptations, the fantasy adventure series comes from Impossible Pictures, the production house formed around the realistic CGI evocation of Earth's strangest prehistoric creatures--first for a series of documentaries and later for the monstercentric action drama Primeval.

Conceptually this is good news--there's never enough visually inventive fantasy on television, in my opinion, and Sinbad was originally conceived as a framing devise for arresting visuals and wide-eyed storytelling (much like 1001 Nights). And Sinbad has lots of these eye-popping moments, including a roaring dragon made of water. Now that Merlin has entered into a middle phase of maturity, it's the kind of series that can occupy the much-needed slot of fun, raw adventure fantasy. The look and feel of it calls to mind other shows as well, including the highly underrated NBC series Crusoe (longtime readers will know this is one of my betes noirs, and seeing Sinbad caused a slight pang of remembrance.)

Season 1, consisting of 12 episodes, is just finishing airing on Britain's Sky1, where it has been getting decent ratings (one episode was the highest-rated pay television program for the night it aired). It's slated to air here during Syfy's midyear season, starting in April 2013. The series stars Elliot Knight; you don't know him, but you might recognize the villain, Lord Akbari. Andrews's casting almost seems to be a deliberate promulgation of Sky1's commissioning mandate that it have "the ambition of Lost and the pacing of 24."

The concept: After Sinbad accidentally kills the son of the powerful Lord Akbari in a fist fight, Sinbad's brother is killed in front of his eyes as a blood debt. He manages to escape, where he is soon cast off for an entire year into the seas which holds many wonders and mysteries. Little does he know he is still being hunted by Lord Akbari as the blood debt of his brother is not enough. The other regulars include Dimitri Leonidas, Marama Corlett, Elliot Cowan, and Junix Inocian; notable guest stars have included Timothy Spall and Dougray Scott.

BBC Worldwide has the international rights and made the sale, and they say they're happy it landed at Syfy. "This new version of a timeless classic is going to take American audiences by storm," said Matt Forde of BBC Worldwide America. "Syfy is the perfect home for Sinbad."
Tags: Sinbad, Elliot Knight, Naveen Andrews
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June 13, 2013 at 6:44 pm
(1) Marky says:

Does Elliot Knight have even a little bit of Persian or Middle Eastern blood?

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