Apr 112013
The Borgias Season Three Trailer

The tag line of season three of The Borgias is “give in to sin”. Judging by the trailer, the sin is incest, which puts the series where Game of Thrones was in its first episode.

The previous season had ended in a cliffhanger as Cardinal della Rovere’s plotting against the pope had finally achieved results, although given the involvement of a key character, it seems unlikely that death will result. While the machinations between the papacy and the city-states for control of Italy will undoubtedly continue, hopefully this season will deal with the controversial Papal Bulls, which gave the Spanish king authority to enslave the inhabitants of the New World, what we now call Latin America and the Caribbean, if they refused to convert to Christianity.

Admittedly, last season was an improvement over the first season, especially the scenes with Machiavelli and the religious zealot Savonarola, so my hopes for the third season are relatively high. Anyway, season three is starting next week. Read More…

Aug 162012
The Borgias-Season Two

Somebody finally explained the concept of showrunner to Neil Jordan, creator and executive producer of Showtime’s The Borgias, who seems to be stepping back in season two. After writing every single episode in the first season, he only wrote the first half of the second season. Thanks to the absence of his stilted, heavy-handed scripts, scenes are allowed to develop, so the episodes do not linger in a swamp of over-acting, lifeless action and sex scenes that would bore a fourteen-year-old. Finally taking advantage of the art, sculpture and architecture of Italy, the show has become a visual treat. While I respect Jordan’s dedication and exhausting hours, the show will be the better for him stepping back. Way back. Read More…

May 162011
The Borgias Season One

There is a new show that is surprisingly addictive due to its generous helpings of incest, intrigue, and shifting political alliances. Children are showered with love until they are old enough to be used to cement political alliances between noble families. At one point, an adolescent girl is married to a powerful yet brutal lord who treats her as a brood mare, rather than as a lover and partner. Unfortunately, this description fits HBO’s Game of Thrones, not Showtime’s The Borgias. Read More…

Feb 252011
Rome vs The Tudors

Whenever I mention that I have a web site that reviews historical movies, the conversation inevitably turns to the recent crop of historical series put out by HBO, Showtime and AMC. After debating whether Band of Brothers is grimmer than The Pacific, the odds are that the next topic will be why The Tudors is not as good as Rome. My fervent defence of The Tudors usually produces an expression of disbelief, so clearly there is a need to set the matter straight. Rome is the more entertaining series but The Tudors is by far the more important series. Read More…