I keep reading online that Marco Polo from Netflix was a flop, and I don't understand how it's earned this reputation.
Perhaps this myth is spread by competing studios and critics, but I don't see how the facts support that overall assessment. Granted, the review-aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes shows a 30 percent average rating for Marco Polo among critics, and one of the directors/producers even said in an interview once that she considers it the biggest failure of her career.
However, Netflix's CEO says it's a hit. While Netflix doesn't release ratings information, we don't have to take his word for it: during that period, Netflix added a record 13 million new members, and their revenue, income and earnings per share were on the rise. The first season cost $90 million to produce, and we don't know how much profit was earned or money was lost.
Rotten Tomatoes’ "Audience Score" metric is a favorable 93 percent for Marco Polo, compared with 96% for their House of Cards. HBO's highly successful and popular Game of Thrones is in the same ballpark. I'm not a fan of Game of Thrones, though that's neither here nor there; I only mention it because some people like to compare the two shows, even though I don't see why that is--one is semi-historical fiction and the other fantasy--they're not mutually exclusive.
Is a series a flop just because most critics didn't like it, or even when a producer or director dislikes their own work--doesn't viewership ultimately become the deciding factor in the perception of public opinion? I think of books: many classic novels were despised by their own authors and their contemproary critics, and yet they're timeless and enjoyed by millions. So if Marco Polo has millions of fans, how can anyone say in good conscience that the show is a failure? If that were true, why wasn't it cancelled?
Despite the criticism, I for one am delighted that Marco Polo's second season is slated to begin in 2016. I am a fan, I admit I've watched every episode multiple times. I got several friends to watch it too, and they all enjoyed it very much (or at least that's what they told me anyway).