The Borgias (TV Series 2011–2013) Poster


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Not a documentary
poly-nikes19 June 2012
Not for the first time is it necessary to point out to several of the reviewers of "The Borgias" that the show is not a documentary. The creators have used a historical basis as a jumping-off point and then gone on a riff for the sake of poetic license, much like a jazz musician might do with a standard piece of music.

I think "The Borgias" is a fascinating show -- the story lines are excellent and the production values are breathtaking. Almost every scene looks as though it had been lifted in its entirety from a Renaissance painting.

I'm also amazed that at least one reviewer believes that Jeremy Irons cannot act. I'd be interested to hear what criteria that person has apropos of acting excellence. Jeremy Irons is a fine actor, one of the best.

I don't believe I'm alone in the hope that there will be a third season -- and many more seasons to come. The era is a cornucopia of rich material for a drama such as "The Borgias." Thank you, Neil Jordan, and the rest of the crew and cast. You've enriched my life.
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Renew The Borgias!
kahorne197020 June 2013
This series is without a doubt intriguing, intelligent, and phenomenal! No one can say that there is not enough story lines to fulfill another 3 more seasons of this film series. Cesare alone can fulfill several episodes by himself! Rodrigo and Lucretcia and the other characters lead to a strong and powerful story line as well without leaving any of us wondering what happened to so-in-so? This show is one of the best period piece films, shows, series, etc that has come along in many years and I HOPE and PRAY that Showtime and all its co-hearts in business understand that the Fans want the show to go on! Please do not take this away from us! The actors are absolutely some of the best and under appreciated in the business and WE the FANS want MORE BORGIAS!! BRAVO BORGIAS!
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The Borgias: In the Beginning
gradyharp6 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
In 1492 while Columbus was sailing the ocean blue to discover the Americas things weren't so tidy in Rome. It was a time when the papacy was in disrepair with popes having wives and mistresses and all manner of scandal (sound oddly familiar...) and form this period in history highly regarded writer Neil Jordan has pasted together enough information about the infamous Borgias - 'the first crime family' according to the PR - to create what resulted in a fascinating account of world history, a fitting series whose first season of 9 episodes are tied together in this package of DVDs.

For starters, the opening title sequences are masterworks of graphics and art history albeit splatter or washed in blood. The series opens with the nefarious Spanish family taking over the important Roman power vested in the papacy: Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons in a splendid tour de force of acting), becomes Pope Alexander VI when Pope Innocent VIII dies. As Pope, the elder Borgia gains election of his son Cesare (François Arnaud, a stunningly gifted young and handsome actor in one of his very first roles) to the College of Cardinals while his other son, the libidinous Juan (David Oakes) is made head of the military: these sons and the daughter Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) are the children by the pope's 'wife' Vanozza Cattaneo (Joanne Whaley), though the pope is now in the throes of a sordid relationship with Giulia Farnese (Lotte Verbeek). One cardinal - Giuliano Della Rovere (Colm Feore) - is out to depose the unctuous Borgia reign and works with outside forces to overthrow Pope Alexander VI and makes alliances with King Charles VIII of France (Michel Muller). In the meantime Lucrezia is married off to the rather piggish Giovanni Sforza (Ronan Vibert) for monetary gain for the papacy but prefers sleeping with the illiterate commoner groomsman Paulo (Luke Pasqualino). Cesare appears to be the wisest of the descendants (despite a love affair with a married woman) but the entire family wiles its way into the role of oily evil that sets the stage for the episodes to follow.

The cast is uniformly excellent: there are cameo roles for the likes of Derek Jacobi, Sean Harris, Steven Berkoff, etc. The settings and costumes are enormously successful and the pacing of the action is fast - but not too fast to pause here and there for some rather graphic sensual scenes and gross and bloody fighting. it has the flavor of the times down to a fare- thee-well, making us eager for the next season to begin. Very worthwhile watching on every level.

Grady Harp
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jacksondoug33 April 2011
The best word to describe this show is 'beautiful'. The sets and costumes, like other reviewers have pointed out, are stunning. Everything flows together cohesively, and nothing feels out of place or awkward.

Going into this show, from the buzz surrounding it, I was expecting a soap opera, akin to The Tudors. Calling it a soap opera, however, really doesn't do the show justice. From what I've seen thus far, I'd compare it more to HBO's Deadwood or Rome. Sure, it shares some elements with soap operas, but it's so much more. It's hard to describe without giving out spoilers, though, so you'll just have to see for yourself.
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The Borgias are Gorgeous!
dmyriounis2 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"The Borgias" is a testament to what collaborative work under an able organizational mind can achieve: the wonderfully idiosyncratic, Academy Award winner Neil Jordan creates, writes and directs the first two episodes of "The Borgias" and his signature in on every second of this amazingly film-like pilot who boasts a breathtaking performance from none other than Jeremy "Academy-and-Emmy-and-Golden-Globe-Award-Winning-Superstar" Irons, who headlines a vastly talented cast.

"The Borgias" begin on the deathbed of Pope Innocent VIII who's about to be succeeded by one of the most questionable personalities in papal history, the Spaniard outcast by traditional noble Roman families, Rodrigo Borgia (Irons). As Rodrigo's reign begins, his whole family, comprised of three sons, a daughter and an aging mistress is propelled to a position of power, which will lead to deeds that still scandalize the Vatican.

"The Borgias" is exquisitely crafted, with atmospheric lighting, haunting music, lush set and costume design (each of those undoubtedly worthy of an Academy Award nomination, if they were on a feature movie) and superbly executed scenes by mastermind Neil Jordan. "The Borgias" writing and editing are to be thanked for the pilot's brisk pacing (Rodrigo's Pope by the first 20 minutes and by 50 minutes there's already a poisoned corpse in his wake), as well as the humour-injected story and dialogue (maitre Jordan does take into account that people possessed both wit and the ability to be amused by certain situations, straying from the assumption that characters in period pieces need to be dead-serious, as is the case with almost every other period piece).

Jeremy Irons spearheads the cast and his performance is indelible and a reason to watch all on its own. He plays Rodrigo as the smartest and coolest man in the room, knowing his own advantages and his opponent's weaknesses so good as to not panic when they attack him and treat them with sardonic disdain and sarcastic mockery. He has a comedic vein and timing, which he frequently taps into when the situation calls for it and can also prove fiery, villainous and downright terrifying all at the same time. His Pope Alexander VI (named after the great conqueror) is not however a man without depth: he hesitates to murder, especially his fellow clergymen, and is daunted by the task to be Christ's Vicar, an epiphany which spurs him to commit brilliant and atrocious acts alike.

The rest of the cast is also pure gold: As the Pope's children, Francois Arnaud (as Cesare, named after the great Roman dictator) exceeds expectations when burdened with most screen time than his siblings, Holliday Grainger and David Oakes, who nevertheless inhabit their roles ably. Joanne Whalley is the standout in her short scenes as the mother of the Borgia progeny, bringing to the table a mostly sober, restrained performance only to surprise you with her intensity in the more dramatic sequences. As Rodrigo's new-found mistress, Lotte Verbeek presents a character sometimes vulnerable, sometimes strangely alert and resourceful, always intriguing and making you wonder what's really her agenda. Colm Feore appears deliciously bad-ass and self-righteous as Rodrigo's nemesis, cardinal Giulliano Della Rovere, while the revered veteran, Sir Derek Jacobi, takes a small and relatively thankless role and turns him into something his own. Peter Sullivan and Simon McBurney shine in their brief scenes, while Bosco Hogan and Vernon Dobtcheff lend gravitas to their cameos. The fantastic Sean Harris manages to render a calculating and cold-blooded killer into someone with a sympathetic dimension and depth.

The plot is not new to history addicts, who are going to be the most hard to surprise, but presents nevertheless enough twists and tricks to satisfy and excite. All in all excellent, don't miss "The Borgias".
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Why the low ratings?
Mikael Persson30 May 2013
This TV-series is brilliant so how can it only have 7,9 in rating? The first season was excellent and the second was even better at some points. I am watching the third season right now and it's good! The soundtrack alone is stunning and sometimes i find myself distracted by the atmospheric music that is played during the scenes. The actors are very good and the overall story is both unpredictable and immersive. The costumes as well are really well done, i have to say everything is good with The Borgias and those who downvoted the series obviously doesn't see the brilliance in it.

The Borgias is one show you shouldn't miss!
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Superbly Addicting
Traline Spencer3 April 2011
I loved every minute of this pilot. I was a little unsure at first when I read the show's summary because I'm usually not a fan of period drama. But I am huge fan of European history and have always thought the Borgias family contributed some of the most interesting stories in Rome's history. So, because of that, I decided to give it a try... and thankfully I was not disappointed. I can't wait to watch the next episode. Jermery Irons is AMAZING in his role as the newly crowned Pope. His superb acting sets the tone and elevates the bar for the whole cast. I can't imagine anyone else in that role, but him. The story draws you in right from the beginning, and moves along quite quickly. The sets were extremely detailed and visually stunning, as were the costumes. There was little I could find wrong with this this first episode. Showtime has done it again & brought us quite a gem.

If you're on the fence and unsure whether or not to watch this movie- like drama, I suggest you give it a try. I promise you won't be disappointed.

-T DeMon Spencer
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There is only one word to describe this : Brilliant
speedy0063 April 2011
I watched many historian series, like Rome, Tudors, or Ivanhoe. All these series were good, in my opinion Rome was the best and i thought that it would be impossible to make better series in that genre. Judging on pilot of the Borgias i was wrong. Casting is spectacular, all the actors are brilliant in their roles, specially Jeremy Irons as pope Alexander, and Colm Feore as cardinal. Storyline is swift, with good tempo, and also very interesting. Maybe there are some holes in historical view, but despite that series is Brilliant. I can't wait for more, and if it stays on this track, it will be one of the best series ever made! It is a shame they don't give Oscars for TV performances. Jeremy Irons would deserve one just for starring in pilot of the series !!!
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One of the best pilots I've ever seen.
alaine121229 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Let me start by saying that I was hoping for the best but not expecting much. I was so surprised. One word could describe the pilot; "Beautiful". First of all, the credits sequence images and music were mystifying and haunting. The greatest accomplishment of this pilot was the setting, the atmosphere with the music, the lighting, the production design and the cinematography, all of which reminded me so much of what you would see in a feature film! Some scenes were just breath-taking. One that jumps to my mind specifically would be the Pope's coronation. Words can't possibly do it justice.

Some scenes can feel a little long winded but things happen so quickly and yet so subtly that it leaves you feeling like, "Wait, what just happened?" in a very good sense, of course. Keeps you on your toes and demands your attention. In a very similar way, Jeremy Irons owns every scene he's in. A paper bag could play opposite of Jeremy Irons skills and leave you believing it was a worthy actor.

As for the rest of the cast, everyone has superb chemistry with one- another (as evidenced by the many gifs and youtube videos of Lucrezia and Cesare together.) They are all incredibly believable. For example, I had no knowledge of the story of the Borgias before watching this Pilot and Francois displays an intense internal turmoil between the good and bad. In what direction he goes remains to be seen. Although we are given a lot of foreshadowing.

I could go on and on about this show. It is a must watch. So much intrigue and so many intertwining story lines. The possibilities are endless and I'm loving all the directions my mind is taking them.
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Historical Accuracy isn't everything
lilguyollie15 August 2013
Like many people who watch this series and others like it, I often pick out moments which are fictional or an historical event that is slightly altered. It doesn't really matter though especially if what the writers come up with instead is still interesting and entertaining.

The first series focuses on the Borgia family's rise to prominence and the Popes children's gradual loss of innocence who grow into corrupt, murderous figures. The second series then follows Lucrezia's several love interest stories and the bitter sibling rivalry between Cesare and Juan. Finally, the third series follows the Pope and his son Cesare fighting their main enemies Caterina Sforza which leads to an epic conclusion with the battle of Forli.

The good points of this series for me is the general tone and atmosphere of the show. This is created by the actors and the setting of the show. The era itself holds strong interest as during this revolutionary time which saw the rise of Da Vinci, Michaelangelo and grand architecture there are dark, viscous conspiracies going on. The whole cast are top notch, in particular David Oakes who plays Juan. His ability to jump from emotion to emotion just like that shows his talent in full flow. Sean Harris who stars as Micheletto is the underrated star of this show. Jeremy Irons is marvellous, need I say more its Jeremy Irons c'mon. I am also a huge fan of orchestral music in shows and it features prominently here and adds to the mood perfectly.

For some, this show may feature too much gore or sexual content, as there is at least one sexual scene every episode. However if you're comfortable with this sort of thing then I can give you no negatives. If you're an anal historical fan who purely wants fact and non-fiction drama then this probably isn't for you but give a try anyway.

In my view its fabulous and I am one of those who was gutted to hear that it was cancelled after 3 seasons due to budget concerns despite consistently getting successful ratings. I highly recommend this show and advise you not to be put off by the fact that it was cancelled because honestly The Borgia's Requiem Mass has come too soon.
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Pure Entertainment
mep_330002 April 2013
While the acting is absolutely fantastic and the casting is out right seamless accepting for David Oakes as Juan the show is only flawed in that it is historically inaccurate in several areas. Jeremy Irons is always fun to watch is roles like this, he can't help but wear his heart on his sleeve. François Arnaud is particularly brilliant in his portrayal of the conflicted Cesare and the performance of Holliday Grainger was awesomely stellar. I watched the French/German production of the same name. It's too bad one can't squeeze both of them together to make a really great story about this transgressive family. They don't make stories of this nature often.
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Started off well!
LynnieTM8 April 2011
Premiere episodes are sometimes awkward because there is so much to establish that it sometime feels contrived--not so with The Borgias. The writing/plot is compelling, the costumes and set are beautiful and I'm definitely hooked by all the fine performances.

Someone else wrote that Jeremy Irons is a reason in itself to watch and it's true--he does a fantastic job in the lead. The woman who plays Lucretia--Holiday Grainger- also gives a very nuanced performance.

The only thing that I thought was awkward was the chemistry between Jeremy Irons and Lotte Verbeek-- although it works in their favor during the confession scene. She's a great actress and definitely on par with Irons but I just don't believe their relationship yet.

All in all--very reminiscent of the Tudors--if you loved that series you will equally enjoy this.
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Fascinating production
ruth4430 April 2011
I have only seen the first two episodes of The Borgias but am already deeply immersed in this brilliant series.

The production is beautifully set and the atmosphere of the period is captured with detail and accuracy. The wonderful cast, led by the superb Jeremy Irons, is excellent and as good as I have ever seen in a production of this kind.

This series proves once more that good television is superior to most of the films produced today. This is a must for anyone who enjoys a fascinating story, based on real history, and an ensemble cast of actors chosen with care. Highly recommended.
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Corruption, war, crime and incest... What's not to be interested?
marcelavaleriob11 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I came across The Borgias going through Netflix suggestions and I was blown away. It centers on the Borgia family and its perils to maintain fortune and power in 15th century Rome. What I liked the most about this series is that there are no unidimensional characters. There isn't classic stereotypes, the bad can be endearing, the good can be greedy and so on. Rodrigo, the father and Pope of Rome, as an example is a corrupt womanizer who goes through extreme lengths to get what he wants, but has a love so deep for his family that's moving. He also believes in God and is somewhat a pacifist. What is both cringe worthy and beautiful is the relationship between Cesare and Lucrezia. They are brothers in love and they are doomed to spend their lives with unsatisfying people, since what they really want is to be with each other. The actors playing those characters are so good that you find yourself rooting for this couple and every time I caught myself not finding them together utterly gross, I reminded myself that they are not siblings in real life, because the chemistry between them is impressive. All the actors in this show are superb, however one of the highlights is probably Sean Harris and his portray of Micheletto, an illiterate assassin whose eye expressions convey more emotions than a lot of the dialogs. So, for an entertaining time in front of the TV giving some poetic license to history, you should definitely watch The Borgias.
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what is there not to love about this series
Phil_bowers197521 May 2013
i'm not a great lover of period dramas, but have a weird fascination with Rome and the Vatican, so this series is right up my street.

the acting is amazing, the sets although not historically true more than give the impression of 16th century Rome. the stories are full of intrigue, murder, incest, war, sex, hate and every other emotion under the sun.

special mention has to be given to François Arnaud, Jeremy Irons, and my personal favourite Sean Harris who are all brilliant actors.

Season by season the stories are getting better as each character comes into their own. (and more people seem to die)

Season 3 is awesome, i cannot recommend this series enough
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Excellent AND Historically Accurate!
wgmundhenke14 December 2011
The Borgias is a series for anyone who respects history. Jeremy Irons gives a stellar performance. The writing and dialogue are fantastic.

What is beautiful about this series is the realistic feel of everything in the show. The drama is not overblown where everyone is getting their heads chopped off, the characters are completely period, and the traditions of the papacy are kept realistic. It is not another unrealistic crime drama, it is a historically accurate portrayal of a truly interesting and intriguing time in Roman history.

Excellent, realistic, non-exaggerated series definitely worth your time!
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Excellent series...hopefully lots more to come !
pavanratnaker7 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Loved it when it aired first. The trailers didn't do justice to the plot but I thought that was a pleasant surprise anyway. Almost seems like they were the first crime family from Italy the way they're portrayed and how so many crime movies are based from there. The storyline itself was pretty good and moved at a quick and exciting pace as the Borgia family tries to usurp more and more power. the political and military moves are superb. The direction is very good and is the essence for the pace in the series. The casting is superb too and Jeremy Irons is made for the role. The other leading characters do a great job too. Am not sure of the historical accuracy of the story but it is loosely based on historical characters, all in all makes for an interesting watch of fiction at least. This was the take on series 1, anxiously awaiting 2 and 3.

And now I have watched series 2 and man the twists in the story are amazing and builds up beautifully to the finale. Spectacular and exciting. Must definitely watch this after Series 1. Even more exciting.
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Amazing Story with Excellent Performance - Francois Arnaud Perfect
Keira German3 October 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This TV series is unbelievable. The acting, the sets, the camera shots, the music, the story, the humour, the suspense and the action it provides: I don't think I have ever been so amazed by a historical drama as by this one. Jeremy Irons as the Borgia pope, Sean Harris as the brutal assassin Micheletto, Holliday Grainger as the sweet but cunning daughter of Pope Alexander VI, David Oakes as the vicious lady killer, the second son of Rodrigo Borgia - all add to the authenticity of the plot with their perfect acting: the characters couldn't be more alive. However, it is Francois Arnaud playing Cesare Borgia, who stands out the most with his breathtaking performance. His every move, gaze, looks, voice is incredibly genuine: Francois Arnaud IS Cesare Borgia in this TV series. No matter what he does or says, you must love him for who he is. Of course the screenplay is brilliant at every single word but it is Francois Arnaud's excellence that brings life to the whole script. Unfortunately, as the historical basis itself was very dark some of the topics in the drama are not suitable for younger viewers, especially because they are plainly and quite vividly depicted on the screen. Sexual immorality, homosexual love, the vicious fight for power, revenge, incest, fratricide and gore at all level make the film suitable only for viewers over 16 (and are not squeamish), but they can learn a lot about the true ways of medieval papacy, religion, crime, loyalty, love and suffering, riches and poverty, family life in general. History and human behaviour couldn't have been brought to life any better than in the Borgias. Congratulations to all the cast (especially Francois Arnaud), the director, the screenwriter, the composer (the music is incredible) and let's hope Season 4 will come to finish this marvellous story.
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Sex and Violence in the Vatican
SnoopyStyle12 September 2013
It's 1492 Italy, the Borgias family rises to the Papacy through deceit and intrigue. They have much more in common with the Mob. There's almost nothing they wouldn't do. Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons) is the patriarch and becomes Pope Alexander VI.

Who knew sex and violence in the Vatican could be so much fun? I guess Neil Jordan did, as he's the one who created this delicious show. To have such a great actor like Jeremy Irons to play the Pope is a major coup. And to have Colm Feore as the foil is just icing on the cake. It lasted 3 seasons, but I really wished that they could have 4 seasons as Neil Jordan had planned.
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Cancelled: I cannot believe it!
vandeiw12 June 2013
This show is one of the best historical fiction ever produced! The acting is superb; the character's development is superb; the scene are sumptuous; the costumes are magnificent; the script is excellent and the public love it!!!! Why????? What is the problem? It did not have enough viewers? I do not think so! I am ware that has been distributed in many other countries, therefore it is generating profits!

With all the trashy programs that should be eliminated from the TV, HBO decided to cancel "The Borgias"??????? !!!! I ask all the viewers that appreciated this show, to write to HBO and let them know that we want the show back. Shame on you! I will certainly boycott HBO!!!!
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great series!!!great actors!sudden,unfinished ending!
vas_roubou13 August 2013
The Borgias is one of the best series i have ever watched!Powerful,quick shifting,subversive,erotic,realistic in that period with many good actors and actresses,especially Jeremy Airons,he is excellent non the less!It is something that must go on and show us the rest of the story,it ended at the time it showed it begun!Such a pity!I wish the producers to think it twice.It is a work incomplete and let us only imagine what splendid continuing would have.Everyone of my friends was surprised seeing that the borgias suddenly would not have future.The casting was fantastic and the actors should gain prices for their acting which was great,complete,outstanding.
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Beautiful Cinematography, Great Acting BUT Historically Inaccurate!
erik-kruger24 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
A great cast with strong performances. This is really an excellent show. However, why the producers had to invent so much gore and evil I don't know. If the real Borgia's were still around they would probably sue for defamation of character.

OK, I'll admit that much of the Borgias' history is cloaked in legend and "urban myths" but even so, the series does take this to extremes. Take episode three, for example (spoiler alert), where Sultan Bayezid II's brother Cem is transferred to the custody of Pope Alexander and then murdered by the Borgia's. This never happened. In fact Cem was transferred in March 1489 to the custody of Pope Innocent VIII, Alexander's predecessor. He died in Capua on February 25, 1495, while on a military expedition to conquer Naples under the command of King Charles VIII of France.

Episode one (spoiler alert) shows Cardinal Orsini being poisoned at a banquet, ostensibly by Cesare Borgia. It didn't happen this way - He was arrested by order of the pope and taken to Castel San Angelo where he fell ill and died after twelve days on 22 February 1503. He may have been executed, nobody knows for sure.

Granted, historical accuracy may not be a big thing for everybody. Personally I prefer accurate historical dramas.
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Pretty, but Disappointing
redvelvet-115 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I am giving this show 6 out of 10 stars because it *is* a visually striking example of entertainment, and even I consider it to be an entertaining series. However, it has been falsely marketed to viewers, since before the beginning. First off, it is not very historically accurate, which wouldn't be so much of a problem, as so many films and television shows depicting actual historic events and people forsake the facts for dramatic purposes. The problem here is that, again, almost from the beginning, we are lured into watching, believing that we what will be getting is a more factual portrayal of one of history's most notorious families. That is false. We are being given nothing more than typical Hollywood fare, with characters dressed in pretty costumes, sets that are visually pleasing, and situations glossed over in favour of the sexual or titillating. Even in that, though, the show does not deliver.

Character development is deplorable, and once more falls into making each nothing but a tired cliché, from the emotional tormented heart-throb as one of the lead characters, to the innocent and cutely childish lead female. However, while Francois Arnaud still manages to convey a subtle intensity that one imagines the actual Cesare Borgia to have possessed, poor Holiday Grainger makes Lucrezia Borgia seem almost mentally challenged in her over-the-top childishness and unbelievable sickeningly sweetness. Even her attempts to portray a tad of feminine manipulation seemed unnatural and forced, but then again it isn't all her fault, as much of the writing is left to be desired.

Speaking of the writing, it really is atrocious and I am at a loss in trying to understand how any of the people who were hired to write this got the job in the first place. One mistake they seem to have made is to change around many actual known historic facts, such as the birth order of the oldest Borgia male children, and the family relationship between Ludovico Sforza and Cardinal Ascanio Sforza. Again, changes such as these would be completely understandable had they anything whatsoever to do with the overall plot and story, but ultimately, these changes serve absolutely no purpose at all and would have served the same purpose, which is nothing, had they not been changed.

Another mistake was to have brought in the character of Niccolò Machiavelli. Historically, Machiavelli would not have entered into the picture until much later, but again, this can be brushed aside in favour of dramatics. The issue is that they try so hard to convey a sense of intellect and wit about him, and utterly fail in his portrayal and especially his dialogue. It's as though none of the script writers possess any sort of marked intelligence themselves so have no idea how to write a character that does, except to just say that he is, in the most uninspiring, brusque manner.

My last example goes back to my earlier statement of false marketing. Anyone who is familiar with the Borgia history will also be aware of the notorious rumours of incest that still persist to this day. Neil Jordan and Showtime are milking those rumours for all they are worth with the promo shots and photos showing the characters of Lucrezia and Cesare posing in a variety of un-sibling-like poses, teasing viewers with the idea of an incestuous bond. Nothing like that actually occurs in the show at all, and Neil Jordan himself has said in at least one interview that the siblings are not incestuous. However, they still seem to be profiting by manipulating viewers with the possibility of watching something lurid and forbidden.

In conclusion, if you are looking for an hour of mindless historical drama once a week, or looking for a bit of bare ass, you'll probably give The Borgias 10 out 10 stars. However, if you're looking for something that might teach you a little history, or are expecting to get some intelligent political tension, you will be sorely, sorely disappointed. It's fluff, plain and simple.
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So sorry this series was canceled
SM Jefferies21 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I loved "The Borgias" and was really upset when it was canceled. I'm a total history nerd and the renaissance is one of my favorite time periods. This series is not just about the characters, but about life in the early renaissance. As far as historical accuracy goes, the writers did take some liberties, but it's still a thousand times more accurate than "The Tudors" ever was. For example, Machiavelli was actually a very young man, not the mature man he's portrayed as. And Ludovico Sforza was a refined patron of the arts, not the raging barbarian he's portrayed as. Season 1 is fantastic, but the first few episodes of season 2 felt like it was written by people who'd never seen the show for an audience who'd never watched it before. Scenes and conversations that were already played out in season 1 were basically repeated in season 2. There was also an episode where the characters take a tour of the city and talk to each other about what life is like during the renaissance. I felt like I was watching a documentary and I half expected a professor to step into the screen and address the audience directly. After these disappointing episodes, season 2 got better and the rest of it was just as great as season 1. Since the show was canceled during season 3, I was worried that it would end without resolving most of the story lines. Although the last episode ends very abruptly, all of the loose ends are tied up and whatever happens next is left to the audience's imagination. It was a satisfying ending, but historically, there's much more left to be told. Nevertheless, if you love history, you'll love "The Borgias". After you're done watching it, read about the real people and about the rest of the story this series leaves untold.
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Tissue of an Issue (gesundheit!)
TheLimeyCritic13 April 2013
Costumes and sets alone are enough to elevate this show into greatness.

However, the Achilles heel for me is something lacking yet needed: citizens. This show lacks proper emphasis on the citizens, devout or not, that clarify how power is accumulated and secured. It seems a very conscious choice to avoid a detail so absolutely, but what remains is a very insular and treachery laden plot line. What remains is anxiety from one-big chase scene where every character is given equal doses of screen time and I am left wondering: "Who's attending church?"

As religion can be a touchy subject, I understand the reasons for avoiding that emphasis. We wouldn't want to alienate the audience, right? Still, acknowledging the diversity of social classes and backgrounds would add greater depth and appeal to an otherwise amazing storyline.

Also, yet rarely, I have a sense that the death-toll per episode is approaching that of Spartacus. Can somebody google-check that...?
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