It was the age of Da Vinci and Michelangelo, of enlightened creativity and unparalleled intellectual achievement. But it was also the age of Machievelli, of rampant lawlessness, incessant ... See full summary »
A portrait of the bloody dynasty that spawned a pope, Alexander VI, as well as the role model for Machiavelli's "The Prince," his son Cesare Borgia, and a legend of femme duplicity, daughter Lucrezia Borgia.
In the early 16th century, Italy is ruled by the powerful Borgia family, led by César Borgia and his sister Lucrètè. In a ruthless power play, César plots to have his sister's husband ... See full summary »
It was the age of Da Vinci and Michelangelo, of enlightened creativity and unparalleled intellectual achievement. But it was also the age of Machievelli, of rampant lawlessness, incessant war and unspeakable depravity. At the heart of the world order was the Vatican, the arbiter of conflicts between kingdoms and empires. And at the center of the Vatican was a man whose quest for power would propel him to seek the ultimate prize, the holy see of Rome. He was a man whose name would become synonymous with ruthlessness, and whose reign as pope would be remembered as the most infamous chapter of the history of the Catholic church -Rodrigo Borgia. His four children -Juan, the oldest, a prideful, lazy, unscrupulous sexual predator, Cesare, a young man torn between a faith that was not his calling and his dark violent nature, Lucretia, a young girl discovering the secret power that a women's sexuality holds, and Goffredo, an innocent child who would come of age in a family riven by conflict- ... Written by
SPOILER:The recaps identify each episode as taking place during one month only, always following the month in the previous episode, but events in the episodes proper flow way faster than that. For example, the season 1 finale opens with Juan Borgia's death (June 1497) and ends with Perotto and Pantisilea's deaths (February 1498). The recap in the first episode of the second season, set 8 months after that, still claims to take place in 1493. See more »
I just watched this first season on Netflix, and I do believe that it is at least equal to the Showtime production in most ways, with a few very notable exceptions.
Mind you, it's not a carbon copy; the story lines follow the same basic historical themes, but the two shows choose somewhat different avenues to explore, which is interesting. This show does seem to hew closer to historical truth (although at times it's more simplistic), but also falls short in a few places.
First off, the choice of John Doman as Rodrigo Borgia was a bad one. He's not a bad actor, but the part was clearly not written for him. When you have an entire cast that share appropriate period/regional accents, it becomes jarring and downright bizarre to hear the lead character speak in unvarnished American tones.
Further, the writing does nothing to accommodate for this. See, most Americans can't pull off long lines of casual conversational dialog that include full proper English like 'will not' or 'does not', as the British can. Instead we rely on contractions like 'won't' or 'doesn't' unless we're giving particular emphasis to the subject (or giving a speech). Its an adaptive peculiarity to be sure, but one which we employ for good reason; it just sounds odd otherwise.
The writers completely failed to account for this reality, and instead wrote Doman's lines as though they were to be read by a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The result is dialog which comes out unbelievably clunky and difficult to listen to. Every time Doman opened his mouth, it pulled me right out of the show. It was clear that he just didn't know how to deliver these lines. Bad bad bad, and in a show with such high overall production values, it should never have been allowed to remain so.
The other issue is that this show clearly didn't have to same budget as its Showtime counterpart, and that comes through in the quality of some of the CGI as well as the smallness of some of the sets. It just doesn't feel as grand.
It's worth watching to be sure, but it could have been much better with a few very minor changes.
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