Sinbad 1.06 "The Siren" REVIEW

TV REVIEW A man is the sum of his memories

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Sinbad 1.06 "The Siren" REVIEW

Sinbad 1.06
Writer: Harriet Warner
Director: Brian Grant

THE ONE WHERE Sinbad loses his mind (literally) over a Siren, and Taryn captures Sinbad’s gran.

VERDICT Okay, so there’s a pattern developing here. Action-packed episodes alternating with slower, character-based episodes. The irony being that the characters always come across better in the action episodes.

Like the Old Man Of The Sea episode, this salty sea tale uses an oceanic legend – the Siren – as a catalyst to reveal new layers about a couple of the main characters: Sinbad and Rina. Unfortunately, we don’t learn much of interest (Sinbad realises that bad memories are as essential as good ones; Rina had a bad childhood*) and the story isn’t much fun along the way.

(*Even this may be a lie, but Marama Corlett’s expressions are so inscrutable, it’s hard to know how we’re supposed to read her final line.)

Georgia King’s Siren should be sexy and simmering and seductive, but instead comes across like a pouty, precocious child, with a serious smoking habit, and terminally dim with it. For a creature whose modus operandi seems to be so successful (judging by the number of skeletons on the island) she seems strangely ill at ease around Sinbad, and downright credulous when it comes to the way Rina defeats her.

The irritating thing is, there’s the germ of a really good idea here. There’s a lot of dramatic (and comedy) potential in Sinbad losing his memories one-by-one, but the script doesn’t run with the concept. Where’s the scene in which Rina and Anwar turn up to rescue Sinbad, but he doesn’t know them? It’s that kind of thing the episode is crying out for. Instead it's just a long series of zzzzap! “Oh, I've forgotten something!” moments with the dramatic punch of a soggy loo roll.

It’s not as dull as the Old Man Of The Sea episode, though, and benefits from a few good character moments for the regular crew as well as Akbari doing something interesting for the first time in weeks. Yup, he’s murdered the Emir, who had it coming, because all he seemed to do was play with his model city and stop Akbari from being a decent villain. Hopefully, Akbari will now become properly warped and unleash magic all over the place. Taryn’s muse to lure Sinbad back to Basra provided a decent sting in the tale as well (and the subtle “rippling sea” effect as the message crossed the oceans was disproportionately effective for some reason).

Gunnar is continuing to grow into one of the more interesting regular characters (and gets most of the best lines), even if he does dress like a gay vampire at Fangtasia. Anwar also has some fun moments, suddenly turning into something out of CSI: Persian Gulf . But the show seriously needs to concentrate on it female stars. Both Rina and Nala remain worryingly slight.

The Next Week trailer, though, looked enormous fun. Maybe this series is going to become the TV opposite of the Star Trek movie series, with the odd-numbered episodes being the good ones.

SOME MANICURING REQUIRED Presumably that creature we see Roisin turn into at the end of the episode is Roisin’s natural form. In which case it seems unlikely that the "nail” that buried itself into Sinbad’s ship belonged to her… Let’s hope she never has to pick her nose.

HAIRY MAGIC In earlier episodes I thought that Taryn’s inclusion of hair in her magic was just some peccadillo. But in this episode, when Sinbad's gran mentions strong powerful magic, Taryn inspects her hair with great curiosity. Could Sinbad be developing a whole new keratin-based sub branch of magic here? That would be fun, and something a bit original.

COUNTDOWN TO CAPTURE A new regular feature in these reviews, in response to the fact that at some point in every episode so far someone has been thrown in a cell at some point. This week it’s Sinbad’s grandmother who gets put in the pen 22 minutes into the episode.

Sinbad: “One night. One night where I don’t feel like me. You understand that, Gunnar, right?”
Gunnar: “You might want to write poetry. Life’s a bitch when you’re cursed.”

Sinbad airs on Sky 1, Sundays, 7pm

Read our other Sinbad reviews

Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.