It’s almost never a good idea to flippantly compare two movies or TV series with each other when evaluating them, but the comparisons between Marco Polo and Game of Thrones are inevitable. Both series have a high budget, with Marco Polo’s $90 million topping Game of Thrones’ first season budget of $60 million, and both have a very gritty, medieval feel to them that promises a lot of sex, violence, and intriguing story lines.
The biggest reason for these comparisons, of course, is the idea that Netflix and HBO are direct competitors. While that may or not may be true right now, that competition talk is going to heat up when HBO releases their standalone HBOGO streaming service sometime next year, and show comparisons like this are going to continue to intensify. Depending on how Marco Polo is received, it and Game of Thrones could end up being the star quarterbacks in an epic rivalry.
Marco Polo was initially planned to be a Starz exclusive but filming issues eventually lead production back to the Weinstein Company which allowed the show to finally find a home on Netflix, where it begins airing today. It loosely follows the real-life Marco Polo as he explores the silk road in the 16th century, where his legacy as a great explorer and world-renowned pool party game began. The series was written and created by John Fusco, known for 2004’s Hidalgo, 2008’s The Forbidden Kingdom, and he is also working on the upcoming Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel. Lorenzo Richelmy is taking up the reins as the shows lead, playing Marco Polo himself.
Like the rest of you fine geeks, we are finding time to marathon the 10-episode inaugural season and will have a review sometime next week. In the meantime, if you wish to watch it, the entire season is available on Netflix for your binging pleasure.