It’s tough reinventing a character rehashed as often as Sinbad, and this latest recreation – complete with enough eyeliner to coal Green Day’s entire fan club – is both daft and disappointing.
Newbie Elliot Knight portrays Sinbad as a cocky thief, with little in the way of endearing features, leaving us not-so-secretly wishing the cursed necklace – placed on him by his Grandmother – would tighten and eradicate his cheesy grin. Antagonists Lord Akbari (Lost’s Naveen Andrews) and Taryn (Orla Brady), are more enjoyable – albeit a little theatrical – so it’s a shame they don’t feature heavily from the outset.
What’s heavy, however, is the latter’s excessive use of make-up, which, coupled with towering hairstyles, can only remind us of one person. Particular outfits also bring the show’s authenticity into question; Sinbad’s initial short and plimsoll ensemble and Rina (Marama Corlett)’s hot pant and sequined shirt combination, for example, both appear straight off the high-street.
There’s also room for CGI improvement; a point seemingly acknowledged by producers through swift shifts away from the awfully constructed, and constantly recycled, exterior shot of Lord Akbari’s palace, back to the considerably more authentic set in Malta, which at least makes sea scenes and town visits believable.
The storylines are initially lacking; most dedicating too much time to endless character bonding, over developing any action. Things pick up as the narrative darkens, reliance on computer-generated creatures decreases and more time is devoted to exploring the characters’ pasts, particularly those of Rina and Gunnar (Elliot Cowan). Sinbad, though, is rarely likeable or interesting.
But improvements surface too late, and few outside a pre-teen or parental audience are likely to make it to the finale, as slapstick humour and the obvious use of self-performed stunts, coupled with dodgy jump cuts to avoid physical contact – both violent and sexual – gives the series an inescapably PG-13 vibe.