It was the age of Leonardo 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 ...Written by
The opening credits show a perfectly round coin, which is an anachronism. The ability to make such coins had not yet been developed. See more »
A choke pear (called "Pope's pear") is used to torture a convicted homosexual in the 2nd season. Choke pears were unknown before the 17th century, more than 100 years after the show's time frame. 15th century's punishments for pederasty were not so cruel (penalty, branding). See more »
I read reviews complaining about the historical accuracy and actor's accents. Keep the following in mind:
If I wanted to watch a show based on historical facts, produced with utmost accuracy, I'd watch a documentary. Borgia has a historical base, but otherwise, it is just a dramatical account of a time period. Credit to the film crew, though; I do find the majority of the set decorations to blend very well with the storyline, giving the viewer a sense of accuracy.
The actor's accents: I don't have a problem with any accent. If I expected the delivery of each individual's accent based on their historical origin, in keeping with the English spoken at that time, which was also not a world language as it is today, 99% of the viewers wouldn't understand but 25% of the verbal interaction. Frankly, the differences in accents do stand out, but they are not distracting. I rather have an actor stay with his/her natural accent, than pretending to be from somewhere else, and then receiving criticism for their inaccuracies.
The acting abilities: Unless your name is Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) or you're some other high end Hollywood hotshot, I don't expect anyone to deliver Oscar worthy performances. Small inaccuracies are to be expected, especially given that this is a comparatively small production that works on a shoestring budget. Hollywood has deeper coffers and more A-listers. A few things do stand out, though: Doman's portrayal of Pope Alexander is well done. A man caught up in his own desire to rise above and finding the ability to do so at all cost. He is caught between being a man, while having to be a pope. Who wouldn't struggle? He does well, just as long as he doesn't have to reach too deep into the character tool chest, and draw from deep emotions. He plays the sexual deviant better than the irate villain, and the irate villain better than a person who finds his own physical limitations. (You'll get what I mean, once you see it)
Ryder's performance on Cesare is rather consistent. He's consistently acting well, especially when the performance comes to showing the higher-than-though attitude. He's also consistently overly dramatic when it comes to displaying deep rooted anger. Overall, I think he does well, and I'm having fun watching him move through the show.
The ladies are all very well played. However, with the exception of Isolda Dychauk (Lucrezia), none of the female cast has to reach too deep into the emotional side of acting. Dychauk is a pleasure to watch, though. She's coming across rather believable.
Sex: Being European, I do find it amusing that some of the American viewers get offended by breasts and genitalia. Newsflash, folks. It's human nature. If you don't like to see it, just don't watch the show, or turn your head. I have yet to see an overabundance of skin on this show. The moments when sexual acts were displayed was in keeping with the storyline, and never gave me the impression as if the writers thought: "Well, we're losing momentum here, let's show some breasts...".
Church/Religion: What I find most amusing, is that the Catholic Church is portrayed as corrupt, self serving, political, war mongering, sexually deviant and utterly repulsive; especially when it comes to the matter of portraying itself as pure, innocent and true. Following the books of history, one can only conclude that not much has changed over the centuries. (Side note; by denomination, I am Roman Catholic myself)
Overall, I find Borgia to be quite entertaining and worthy of one's time. Watch it with a grain of salt and don't take the show as a historically accurate account of the people of Rome. However, do watch the show with an underlying interest in inter-Church politics, greed and capitalistic tendencies. Then, transpose your findings onto the church(es) of today. See what your findings are...
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