Arabian Nights (tv series)
A few nights ago, (a week maybe), I finally got to watch, from beginning to end, the 2000 mini series - Arabian Nights. I had only ever seen parts here and there, with the end result of being intrigued. As the years have passed, I was further intrigued. I remembered Aladdin's story was Asian. It is not often someone retells it as an Asian (Chinese) tale, it is usually Persian or Turkish or Arabian. Just that alone excited me, when I finally got the dvd in my hands.
But note I did not immediately post full of WHEE. There are some things I dislike about it. Some are quasi minor irritations - like pop culture references. Others are casting decisions and how things played out. I believe the female lead is Israeli born. But many characters were white and from the UK; British, in one case Welsh - and thus all were in 'brown face'. The sets and crew and technicians and costumers were all from Turkey, however.
Alladin's Tale is Chinese. But his antagonist is Black, an African Magican Trickster. Who falls in the end. Just like the Black King of a Bronze City (defeated by a white actor, playing at being from a kingdom before Yemen was named) who is also a cocky, somewhat violent character. He murders the ruler or a realm an gets away with it. And another black character, a merchant just sits there, startled, stunned and possibly terrified.
It was heartening to see acknowledgement of trade between Arabian cities and China and possibly Africa.
It was not heartening to see the stated 'Chinaman' acting in very stereotypical ways, from accent to personal references. It was not heartening to know immediately what characters were Jews (Hebrews in Constantinople would not be using yiddish grammar). It was not heartening, upon reflection to realize all the Black male characters died (speaking parts, one black background character, probably a slave, has a few seconds on screen). It was not heartening to realize that the series begins with a brown skinned female depicted as conniving and false and sexually promiscuous and a victim of violence.
So ya Jason Scott Lee. And bitter disappointment darn near everything else.