Marco Polo

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Marco Polo TV Poster Image
Lush drama is light on accuracy, heavy on sex and violence.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The main character's goal is to live a life of adventure, but thematic obstacles along the way include deceit, betrayal, and revenge. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Young Marco is enthusiastic about seeing the world and learning new customs and generally leans toward honesty. The show as a whole, however, presents a mixed bag of characters with complex -- and often nefarious -- motives.


Swordplay, warfare, and martial-arts battles; death, including by impalement. Show is bloody but stops short of being gory.


Sex is graphic with bare breasts, full-frontal nudity, multiple partners, orgies, and so on.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Suggestions of drug use (pipes, white powder), but substances aren't identifiable.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Marco Polo tends to play loose with historical facts in favor of eye-catching visuals, from bloody battles to graphic orgies with full-frontal nudity. Which is to say, it's intended for mature audiences. Language is minor, but you'll see frank depictions of sex and violence and characters using mind-altering substances such as opium.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAnnieThomas February 26, 2020

Basically Pornography

This show is full of sex and gratuitous gore, but even if you can get past that, it's cheesy and mellow dramatic. Do not waste your brain cells or time. An... Continue reading
Adult Written byplatanito0 October 3, 2018
Teen, 16 years old Written by98Lynny January 6, 2015

Depends on the kid

I personally loved this show, but I am used to watching shows with mature content (such as Game of Thrones). There is full female nudity in several of the first... Continue reading

What's the story?

When his merchant father turns him over to Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan (Benedict Wong) in exchange for open trade routes, young MARCO POLO (Lorenzo Richelmy) finds himself in service to the merciless ruler and working as a scout to gather valuable information about the Khan's adversaries. But he also must spend his time training with a blind martial-arts expert (Tom Wu) and navigating the ins and outs of an unfamiliar culture.

Is it any good?

Launched in the wake of critically acclaimed Netflix series such as House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, Marco Polo seeks to capitalize on the streaming service's forward momentum as a maker of popular original content. But, although the sweeping period drama boasts stunning vistas, meticulous costuming, and some impressive action, what it lacks is a compelling story and three-dimensional characters who are actually worth caring about. What you're left with is a series that looks expensive but somehow makes you feel like you got shortchanged.

What it has in abundance, of course, is sex -- lots and lots of sex -- which is likely by design to keep audiences watching. And, although there are historical tidbits amid all the bed-hopping, facts generally take a backseat to flashy visuals and improbable plot twists that take The Travels of Marco Polo (the 13th-century travel tome that inspired this series) into boldly mature territory.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the real-life Marco Polo and how accurately this series portrays his experiences. What creative liberties do the writers take, and why? How important is it to stick to the facts when centering a show on a historical figure?

  • Is a series that's engineered for "binge-watching" such as Marco Polo structured differently from other shows? How have online content providers such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu changed the way television is created and consumed?

  • When it comes to content, are there lines that an exclusively streaming series like Marco Polo can cross that network and even pay-cable shows can't? What are the advantages and disadvantages when a show is available via streaming-only?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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