The Borgias – Season 1
After having checked out the excellent fifth season of Mad Men we put the first season of The Borgias in our player. This show has equally received a lot of praise and we start at the height of the Renaissance in 15th Century Italy where Spanish cardinal Rodrigo Borgia manages to buy himself to power and becomes the head of the Catholic Church as Pope Alexander VI. This is the start of a reign that’s filled with sin and focuses on gaining more power and wealth for the Borgia family.
The series is being promoted as being about the “original crime family” and up to some level suggests The Borgia’s are the predecessors of the Italian maffia. Unfortunately, we’ve gotten used to quite a few things over the years and compared to shows like The Sopranos, The Borgias is quite righteous. Yes, there’s treatury, deceiving, murder and so on, and the fact we’ve got a pope having fun with his mistress probably shocks some godloving people, but it’s just not up to the same level. The fact that there’s no modern technology present probably doesn’t help, but on the other hand we’ve seen other medieval shows (Game of Thrones) that do manage to keep us interested.
The Borgias isn’t bad, but it doesn’t excel. The acting is decent and Jeremy Irons does his best, but the makers decided to not be completely historically correct so then our question is why they didn’t go further. As it stands now, The Borgias paints a picture of a medieval family that’s risen to power and does all things necessary to keep its wealth and expand it. So what else is new? Nothing, indeed. The Borgias seems to rely on the illustrous name of the actual family and the fact this is about a devious pope. Sorry, but we’re not catholic and we don’t assume people of the Church are by default “good”. And as such, The Borgias doesn’t have anything to make it stand out of the crowd other than having great decors and not being set in the current age.
Technically, The Borgias makes a fine impression. Flesh tones are natural, the level of detail is quite good, and also the sound does a good effort in supporting what happens on the screen. Nothing special, but more than adequate and we didn’t spot any issues that annoy too much. Qua extras there’s features on the decors, the costumes, the casting, and of course also some deleted scenes.