Monday, April 11, 2011

The Borgias - The Draw

The risk of a program like The Borgias, Showtime's new drama, is that it will promise intrigue, violence, and lechery, but will only deliver people flouncing around in period costumes doing and saying nothing more shocking than we could have seen on some piece of crap like Men of a Certain Grey Anatomy, CSI: Cougar Town, or Housewives of Special Victims Unit.

Having seen the first two episodes, I am happy to report that The Borgias delivers on its promise. These people are deeply, deeply vicious, and by that I mean the show breezes to and quickly past the fact that the Pope has multiple children and onto more interesting material: that the rulers of Naples let their dead enemies decompose in a Last Supper pose in a dining hall set aside for the purpose; quick lessons on the garotte, flagellation, and the ritual of validating the Pope's manhood; and the casual dispatching of servants and bystanders for the smallest of reasons.

We get the clear sense the debauchery and machinations are only beginning, and notwithstanding what I might have implied here, they serve the story being told. For my part, before I can begin to care about historical accuracy and deviations from it, I have to be drawn into the drama, and the drawing in is well underway.

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