Which is why news of the renewal of Marco Polo on Netflix for a second season makes me so happy. It allows me to connect both with those dramas of my childhood (and now I can fully understand them, thanks to the show centered on Kublai Khan's court being in English with a smattering of Chinese in the background) but also as a Chinese-American who still finds the dearth of Asian-American faces in Hollywood to be disgusting. Much as I relish being mistaken for Lucy Liu, why is she the only Asian actress people can readily name, when Asians make up a sizeable chunk of the world population?
And as for whether it's worth watching? Well, I admit that I leave it on to play in the background as I apply to jobs, so my opinion of it is skewed. I also...ahem..do not have a Netflix account, so it's not like I wasted the subscription fee. From a superficial standpoint, the early episodes seem to have trouble with pacing, but there is much less gratuitous nudity or violence than its most relevant counterpart, Game of Thrones (which should definitely be important to anybody). The titular character is boring and carries a whiff of the "ethnic story as told through a white hero's eyes" but not so much that it stains the entire show--and the other characters more than make up for it. Not only are the actresses incredibly beautiful, but their character backstories in navigating a patriarchal society would permit an A+ from Gloria Steinem herself (theoretically). The show also makes it a point to differentiate the different subcultures living in China at that period in time, which I greatly appreciate. The $90m in production values can definitely be seen, from the sumptuous wardrobe and sets, if you enjoy period pieces and GoT is having you in withdrawal mode.
I'm just still blown away by the nuanced acting, and the fact that the cast is mostly Asian with individualized characters, refusing to pander to stereotype. I'm really hoping that Marco Polo and the upcoming comedy Fresh Off the Boat will really open the door for the Asian-American perspective (that, and the comedy brings back some serious nostalgia for me).