Episodes: Ongoing (hour)
TV show dates: April 3, 2011 – present
Series status: Has not been cancelled
Performers include: Jeremy Irons, Francois Arnaud, Holliday Grainger, Lotte Verbeek, David Oakes, Colm Feore, Peter Sullivan, Aidan Alexander, Ronan Vibert, Joanne Whalley, Sean Harris, Ruta Gedmintas, Luke Pasqualino, Mickey Sumner, Simon McBurney, Michel Muller, and Mark Noble.
TV show description:
Set in 15th century Italy at the height of the Renaissance, this history-based TV series chronicles the corrupt rise of patriarch Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons) to the papacy, following the death of Pope Innocent VIII. Once in power, Rodrigo proceeds to commit every sin imaginable to amass and retain power, influence, and enormous wealth for himself and his family.
Aiding him in his endeavors are his two sons, Cesare (Francois Arnaud) and Juan (David Oakes). Cesare was forced into the priesthood by his father and yearns to be released from it. Unlike what one might expect from a priest, Cesare is violent, cavalier, and a master schemer. He serves as his father’s Consigliore and carries out the most heinous crimes to advance the family’s cause. He’s often aided by Micheletto (Sean Harris), a low-key but incredibly devoted, cold, and dangerous assassin. Cesare is well-aware of his brother Juan’s faults and believes that he is his father’s favorite.
Juan is a feckless dilettante whom Rodrigo appoints to head the papal armies. He’s filled with swagger and bravado, but in reality is a hopelessly inept coward. More interested in the brothels and taverns of Rome than with defending his family, Juan resents that his brother Cesare is the more apt warrior son.
Daughter Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) and son Joffre (Aidan Alexander) are married off in early adolescence to members of powerful rival families -– pawns in their family’s fortunes. Lucrezia is a beautiful young girl who is wise beyond her years and the apple of both her father’s and brother Cesare’s eyes. Though she appears to be the the picture of innocence, she has learned much from her her brother and father. Joffre is barely pubescent when he is married off to Sancia of Naples (Emmanuelle Chriqui), a lusty beauty who quickly captures the attention of Joffre’s brother Juan.
Waging their own heated contest for Rodrigo’s affections are Vanozza (Joanne Whalley), his long-time mistress and mother of his children, and the younger Giulia Farnese (Lotte Verbeek), whose cunning is matched only by her astonishing beauty.
Naturally, Rodrigo has many enemies outside of his house as well. The most devoted of these is rich and powerful Cardinal Della Rovere (Colm Feore), Rodrigo’s chief rival for the papacy. When Della loses, he devotes himself to unseating the Pope, whom he sees as lewd, blasphemous, and his vast moral inferior. He becomes so obsessed with his quest that he ends up stooping to the Borgias’ level — and beyond — to achieve his goal.
Image courtesy Showtime.
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