Showtime’s The Borgias: are they the original crime family?

20 Apr

The $45 million nine-episode mini-series The Borgias gives The Sopranos a run for their money. If you are a fan of Showtime original television, then you should enjoy this new series, even if you are not a fan of historical fiction. There is enough sex, intrigue, murder and betrayal to satisfy any edgy viewer’s craving. Be warned, however, that if you are looking for historical fact, you are more likely to be satisfied by a documentary on the History Channel.

This is more a timeless tale of the repercussions of a power-hungry world leader. The subject is Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons) who connives, manipulates and bribes his way into the papacy to become Pope Alexander VI. Rome in 1492 is far more intriguing than America in the 21st century. Maybe its that Pope Alexander VI had uncooperative members of his enclave assassinated if they didn’t play on his team. He did offer bribes of money and power before resorting to violence. Usually.

What is most fascinating is remembering Pope Alexander VI was originally a Cardinal who rose to power while illicitly having many lovers, openly, one who bore him four children, three of which, Cesare (Francois Arnaud), Juan (David Oakes) and Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger), figure prominently into the storylines of the series. Borgia essentially made the papacy a family business during his rule and there’s nothing like watching a dysfunctional family attempt to rule the world.

The Borgias was created by film director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game).

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