Sunday, June 08, 2014

Nostalgia Theater: Sinbad is Sin Bad

Zen Gesner as Sinbad the Sailor
Here's another refugee from the mid-'90s schlock parade of syndicated fantasy dreck. Like Tarzan: The Epic Adventures (which I discussed a few months ago), The Adventures of Sinbad launched in fall of '96 in hopes of capturing some of that Hercules & Xena mojo that worked so well for Universal during the past few years. As developed by Ed Naha (a former editor of the now-defunct Starlog sci-fi mag), Sinbad wasn't especially concerned with fealty to the legendary hero of the Arabian Nights stories that ostensibly inspired it. Here's the intro from the first season:

Actor Zen Gesner actually made for a dashing (albeit ethnically incongruous) Sinbad (though what is up with that headband??), and I may or may not have had a teeny-tiny crush on Jacqueline Collen, who played his falcon-training love interest Maeve (I have no idea why). Also of note, actor George Buza, who played Sinbad's big bro Doubar, was also the voice of the Beast in the '90s X-Men animated show on Fox. Anyway, other than those few pluses, the show was mostly garbage, hardly distinguishable from the onslaught of syndicated piffle it floated in with.

Related: Beastmaster -- Walk With the Animals, Talk With the Animals

As captain of the good ship Nomad, Sinbad and his loyal crew would sail the seas every week and encounter various CGI baddies of questionable quality. I think what bothered me more than the dodgy effects and uninteresting storylines was that they couldn't find one Middle Eastern actor for their show about a Middle Eastern hero and his diverse crew. Nonetheless (and unlike Tarzan), it actually made it to a second season, with Gesner now stubblier and ditching the headband, and Collen having ditched the cast (bummer). Here's the slightly-tweaked intro for year two:

While a third year was planned, it would prove to be two and done for The Adventures of Sinbad, which ended its run in spring of '98, and has mostly drifted in obscurity in the sixteen years since (though, unbeknownst to me until I started writing this post, both seasons are available to own on DVD). While it's true that Sinbad wouldn't even have existed if not for Kevin Sorbo & Co. opening the door, it still could have striven to be more than the disposable here-and-gone offering that it was, with sub-par special effects that made you long for Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion Sinbad movies from a bygone era.

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