Marco Polo is a major new Netflix show on the eponymous Venetian explorer’s adventures in the court of Kublai Khan, the Mongol founder of the Yuan dynasty in 13th century China. As exotic as Game Of Thrones, yet grounded in a relatability – young Marco (Lorenzo Richelmy) is described by director Daniel Minahan (Dead Wood, True Blood, Game Of Thrones) as a kind of embedded journalist, the Khan’s fresh eyes on the intrigue that surrounds him, while the Khan (Benedict Wong) is a Tony Soprano figure, both garrulous and ruthless. The show features stunning production and costume design, with fantastic martial arts sequences – Marco is trained up by Hundred Eyes (Tom Wu) a blind Taoist monk. Olivia Cheng, who plays Mei Lin, consort to the late Emperor Lizong, dispatches assassins while completely naked. Marco stayed in the Khan’s court for 17 years, so there is plenty of scope for many adventures.
Effects house The Mill created the beautiful water colour effect opening titles for the show. From their site:
“The title sequence mimics the duality of Khan’s world through visual metaphors drawn from the show’s themes of greed, betrayal, sexual intrigue and rivalry, but communicated through the beauty and grace of the ink-drawn medium. The elegant, abstract images flow and evolve into shocking scenes, introducing viewers to the contrasting opulence and violence Marco encounters throughout the series.”
And here is the finished title sequence: