Thursday, April 7, 2011
The new Showtime series, THE BORGIAS, is a little in the tradition of THE TUDORS, sort of part history, part soap opera, part recurring anachronistic moments, mostly in the language and behavior.
But it stars Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia, who in the first episode becomes Pope Alexander IV in 1492 (hmmm) and uses bribery, intimidation and murder, among other nasty tactics, to get and stay there. Though the murders are mostly plotted by his youngest son (you know the old time popes) who he historically appointed as a cardinal when he was only eighteen (though the actor playing him, Francois Arnaud, is in his mid twenties and at times looks like he could almost be in his thirties which is obviously the fault or choice of the creator of the show, Neal Jordan) and is even more shrewd and possibly more ruthless than his father.
Irons is surrounded by an international cast (mostly English, of course, that's the accent we want in our fifteenth century Italians just as for our BC and early AD Romans etc.) that serves him well, and the whole thing being a creation of Neal Jordan's is worth watching despite the melodrama, and too many moments when you feel like you're watching VALLEY GIRL or DALLAS sends their entire casts back to the fifteenth century.
Still, like THE TUDORS, or ROME, before that, it offers a lot of entertaining moments, though not always as intended.