Building on the success of House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, and with planned projects already including a series of Marvel shows, Netflix is staking a further claim to the event TV market with a new show about Marco Polo.
What will the show involve? Well, all we know so far is that the famous Venetian explorer will find himself in the middle of a brutal war in 13th century China. Cue, apparently, "a kinetic tale of high politics, masterful manipulation and deadly warfare among clashing empires," which is something we're always on for.
Marco Polo, for those of you who are currently thinking of children's tag games, VW cars or mints with a hole, was a Venetian explorer of the 13th century, who left home aged 17 in 1271, with his father Niccolò and uncle Maffeo. They were merchants who had already met the Kublai Khan, then-ruler of China and Mongolia and grandson of Genghis. They travelled back to the Far East with young Marco, who spent 24 years abroad before returning to Venice a rich man in 1295.
Marco Polo was later captured and imprisoned by the Genoese while the two Italian countries were at war, and his cellmate wrote down his adventures, which were widely published and spread across Europe, giving many their first information about the Orient. He was only one of several Europeans making the long and hazardous trek at the time, but became by far the most famous of the lot.
The men behind the TV show are executive producer and creator John Fusco, of Young Guns and Hidalgo fame; directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, best known for Kon-Tiki and executive producer and director Dan Minahan, who's worked on every good TV show going (Game Of Thrones, True Blood, The Good Wife, Homeland). That all seems like a promising start.
While there's no confirmed title yet, the adventures of Marco Polo is shooting soon at Pinewood Studios, Malaysia, with what's described as "a global cast". Marco seems an obvious candidate for a globe-trotting adventure epic, especially given the chance to get a foothold in the increasingly important Chinese market. If all goes to plan, Netflix will also be returning home with a fortune in gemstones in their pockets. We look forward to seeing how they do.