Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review - The Borgias Season 1 Episode 1 The Poisoned Chalice / 2 The Assassin

The Borgias is by no means one of the tawdry historical dramas we've seen in the past. There is sex, certainly, three instances in the first two episodes, to be exact, but the sex is not supposed to be super-erotic or titillating. Instead, sex, like everything else, is used for intrigue, whether to move the plot forward or set the tone for characters.

The result is a series that maintains an interesting premise without being trashy. The Borgia family is not made up of our modern conception of good people, but neither is everyone else. What comes out of Rodrigo's bribery to the papacy is an inevitable struggle between those who oppose this Spaniard and those who remain loyal to the family. Inside of that is family intrigue, with Vannozza feeling alienated after Rodrigo/Pope Alexander VI takes another mistress.

However, for all its potential, The Borgias has a hard time being consistently intriguing. The first episode felt like a total slog to get through and I had to shake myself after zoning out. The dialogue is great at times, but is usually people saying ordinary lines about ordinary things (in the context of what's happening). The plot, similarly, is predictable from beginning to end and at the end of "The Assassin," I didn't really care whether I continued watching or not.

The Borgias is one of those shows I might continue watching and not review. With a lot of shows soon to be cluttering Sunday, I'm not sure I'd be willing to sacrifice more sleep for a show I'm not that interesting in.

Score: 8.3/10
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