Friday, December 16, 2016

Better than Fiction: The Borgias

I knew of The Borgias when it originally aired on Showtime, but finding out its historical foundations were a muse for Game of Thrones (debuted in the same year) convinced me to I give it a try. This is hands down the best TV show I have ever seen. I'm a big can of Game of Thrones, and a bigger fan of The Walking Dead, but episode to episode this show was stellar across the board.

This was a gorgeous show to watch. The sets, costumes, and art direction were carefully crafted scene to scene to imitate the style and feel of period paintings, right down to where characters stood in relation to each other. Such thoughtful design is rare.

Picture perfect - from TV Envy

Comparing it to the GOT series is useful, because it highlights all the things this show did right. All the members of the Borgia family, including the detestable Juan, are people you sympathize with, people you root for. No matter what dastardly thing that they're planning-incest, deception, murder, more murder, theft, pillage, you name it-you want them to succeed. Each character-especially Cesare Borgia and his henchman henchman Micheletto, are badass through and through. Lucrezia was spectacular. It was exciting to watch their machinations, and it was a much more positive watching experience than GOT, which has plenty of the same things, but is much more depressing in its tone.

I loved his acting before, but this performance takes
the cake

The other side effect of this flipped approach in GOT is that there is plenty for fans to hate. I hate Cersei-not just love to hate, simply hate. And the Tullys. And Jon Snow. The list goes on, because we're pulled in so many directions. The Borgias is much tighter storytelling, and not for lack of being epic. We meet the royal families of Naples, Milan, Forli, France...and it still is infinitely more cohesive.

My only regret is that they never got their fourth and final season. If you only ever watch one piece of historical fiction in your life, make it this.

K rating: 10/10

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