Having just finished the 9th in a 2 years - 20 series Netflix production, I am now able to describe how much Marco Polo is truly an epic work. Where to begin, Marco Polo receives his returning merchant father at the age of 17 or so in Venice, their home town. Marco has faint recollection of his father since the Silk Road journey lasts ten years or so. Marco's father forbids Marco join him in his return journey along the Silk Road to China. Marco stows aboard the Chinese sailing ship and joins the life of adventurer rather than remain in Venice to lead an average life. The series takes us to Kublai Khan's Mongolian court in north China circa 1270. Rather than face a lifetime banishment from China and the Great Khan's empire, Marco's father grants his son, Marco, as a servant to Kublai. Marco struggles to free himself and his father admonishes him to remain there as there is no other option and soon Marco will realize his father's wisdom. Years pass before Marco's father returns and is treated indifferently by his son. By this time, Marco has become a personal aide and emissary for Kublai upon his unification of China in a series of assaults on the "impregnable" fortress at Xiangyang, the key defense position dominating the Han River. After 30 unsuccessful years, the Mongol empire finally conquers the southern Song dynasty creating the Yuan dynasty under Kublai Khan. Marco Polo's life is interwined with Kublai Khan's exploits and Marco had been on the verge of beheading when he had proposed the use of trebuchets to collapse the walls of the fortress at Xiangyang. It is moot to question the sequence of events and their historical accuracy. It is much better to do a binge watching the hour long series as they flow seamlessly from one episodic climax to another even more visceral storyline.
The series treatment of historical periods and dramatic political intrigue is only countenanced by the extremely vivid overlay of violence, spectacular martial arts displays, and the interplay of sensual interludes. Mongol regard for Chinese art, culture, and traditions is evident throughout while the Mongols extol their honored place on the earth and heavens. This series could have very well been about Kublai Khan as much as about Marco Polo. I am held captive by this series and must contain my enthusiasm to watch many more than 2 or 3 series at a stretch. It is a shame that the third year of the series was not fulfilled.