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Borgia: Faith and Fear (The Other 2011 Borgia Show)


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#1

blackwing

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Posted Jan 3, 2012 @ 11:15 AM

Is it OK to start a thread for a show that I'm not sure has aired in the U.S. yet? (I know TWoP has allowed threads for Asian soap operas and the like that have aired only in Asia and are available in the U.S. only on DVD.) This Borgia, not to be confused with the Showtime version, was produced by a French and German team. I just discovered it on Netflix while looking for the Showtime version, and started watching it yesterday.

Seems to have a mostly European cast, with the noticeable exception of the American actor John Doman (of "The Wire") as Rodrigo. His American accent is completely out of place and really bothers me. It's particularly odd when he talks to family members. You have a Spanish family living in Italy, and most speak English with various European accents with the exception of Rodrigo, who sounds like he stepped right off the streets of 21st century America. I was trying to figure out how he got cast and then saw that Tom Fontana (of "Oz") is the producer so there must be some HBO connection.

I haven't seen the Showtime version yet, but so far I'm liking this French version. I'm wondering if this was designed for a French audience if they shot scenes twice, once in English and once in French.
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#2

greyhorse

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Posted Jan 3, 2012 @ 1:53 PM

I found this show on Netflix as well over the New Year's holiday when I was bored and looking for something to stream. I thought it was the Showtime Borgias and couldn't figure out why there were no actors I recognized. Now it makes sense. And since there are no actors I recognize, I find it even harder to figure out who is who and just what exactly is going on. Wish the first episode of these period type series would have character text overlays on the screen (sort of like Survivor) when they appear on screen for the first several times so I could get my bearings.

Now realizing that it's not the Showtime version, I think I'm going to abandon this futile quest...
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#3

Cream Cheese

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Posted Jan 5, 2012 @ 4:53 PM

Ahhh, the joys of Netflix! I just found this as well and have caught two episodes thus far. I admit, it's not as lush as the Showtime version, but I like the cast. There are few actors that I find as stimulating as Jeremy Irons but not being familiar with any of this casts previous work is making viewing enjoyable. The accents, or lack of them, is a bit jarring but what I have seen to this point is pretty easy to follow and intriguing.

I'm in!
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#4

blackwing

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Posted Jan 10, 2012 @ 1:13 PM

Not sure how many people watched this or if we are even allowed to talk about it... it doesn't look like it is ever going to air on TV here in the U.S. and is available via Netflix only.

But I just finished all 12 episodes, in a week. Loved this series, despite its flaws. The accents were still a weak point for me, and I agree with greyhorse that there were a lot of characters. I particularly had trouble with the cardinals and some members of the noble houses. It would have been helpful if someone had addressed them by name more frequently than they did. Many times I couldn't tell who was a Colonna or Orsini or Sforza or who was allied with the Pope at any particular time.

The series spent a LOT of time on political intrigue, which isn't surprising. But it got slightly confusing at times. An entire episode was spent on the papal conclave. Then the rest of the series was about strengthening and defending the Pope's position.

If I had a complaint I wish we could have seen more corruption and lawlessness and depravity. The Wikipedia entry for Borgia notes that the Borgia were infamous for their crimes and corruption. However, maybe I am a bit jaded with everything on TV but I didn't really think they were that over the top. I just saw a normal family for the times doing what they could to protect the family. So they killed a few people. So did every other noble Italian house shown in the series. So the Pope has a mistress or two and many children. It's hard to criticize him when even one of his most noble cardinals, Alessandro Farnese, has a mistress and child.

I knew that Lucrezia Borgia was supposed to be this infamous poisoner, but that's about all I knew and wasn't aware of any details. So I was expecting a character more like the she-wolf Atia of the Julii, and I didn't see that in this series. She was just a confused girl trying to make a better life for herself.

I'm wondering if this series has been renewed by Canal for a second season. I'm also eager to watch the Showtime version to compare and see a different interpretation. All in all, I think Tom Fontana did a great job with this one.

Edited by blackwing, Jan 10, 2012 @ 1:18 PM.

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#5

bluvelvet

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Posted Aug 13, 2012 @ 10:31 PM

Glad to find this forum. I watched this season over the course of a week and enjoyed it. Very different from SHO version which I have also seen. It has been renewed for a second season.

ETA: anyone watching season 2

Edited by bluvelvet, Mar 15, 2013 @ 10:18 PM.

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#6

bluvelvet

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Posted Mar 15, 2013 @ 10:17 PM

-delete double post-

Edited by bluvelvet, Mar 15, 2013 @ 10:18 PM.

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#7

coppersin

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Posted May 1, 2013 @ 7:48 AM

FYI, Season 2 is now up on Netflix. I think we had to wait for it to finish airing in France. My only real impression thus far is that Cesare's hair is much better.
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#8

bluvelvet

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Posted May 1, 2013 @ 7:44 PM

Thanks for the info coppersin. I did watch S1 so I have been waiting for S2 to become available.
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#9

Allia

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Posted May 19, 2013 @ 8:26 AM

I love this show. It isn't perfect but it's so interesting I can't stop watching. I finished season 2 and there's no place to really talk about it.

I love the humor running through the show as well as the violence. I find myself chuckling at the blatant court intrigue and all out enmity between the great families that it's endearing, like a huge mob family so used to each other that it becomes a type of fondness.

The acting is superb, even John Doman's amazing work. I like his American accent, connivance, and mob boss mannerisms. The secondary characters are strong and well acted as well.

Mark Ryder should get an award. He IS Cesare - how a man of history destined for greatness would be and act like. He's also very charismatic, he eats up every scene he's in with his 200% energy, his deadly conflicts and passions.

It's amazing to see how far he has grown as an actor, as a man, and as the character of Cesare.

When you watch Mark in the very first episode of season 1 and compare it to Mark in season 2, the difference and huge increase in the amount of confidence and gravitas is staggering which fits the character arc as well.

Amazing show and I can't wait for season 3!
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#10

peridot16

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Posted May 19, 2013 @ 4:55 PM

I saw the first season last year and thought it was hilarious and silly.  I loved all the side characters and the little moments that make them stand out. 

 

This season, I was glad to see more of the Farnese family.  It was interesting to see Giulia and Alessandro try to be independent.  I felt kind of sad for her when Rodrigo poisoned and framed the guy trying to marry her.

 

The guy who announces the titles of the cardinals had some funny moments too, it was good to see him have more lines this season.

 

The second season was much better than the first.  The people playing Cesare and Lucrezia have gotten better.  I can't wait to see what's next for the 3rd season.


Edited by peridot16, May 19, 2013 @ 4:57 PM.

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#11

Allia

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Posted May 21, 2013 @ 2:18 PM

@Peridot - I agree, I like how there was more focus on the Farnese family, especially when they emphasized the family as a whole with the strong and plotting mother as well as the bond between Giulia and Alessandro and how they keep getting PULLED BACK IN!

 

SPOILERS!!!

 

I LOVE Victor Shefe as Burkhardt (sp), the announcer, he's hilarious.  And I was so very sad when King Charles died - he was one of my favorite characters.  Really interesting.  I need to check out more of the actor's work. I can also see why Carlotta would be attracted to Cesare but would not want him because Cesare is so unpredictable and passionate, it's scary.   I winced when he was stood up at the altar.  In fact, all the Borgia family had wince-worthy moments - Cesare at the altar, Lucrezia having to display herself during her wedding night, and Alexander embarassing himself in public.

 

The second season is really good.

 

The scenes between Savonarola and Cesare are riveting - all that conflict - you can tell Cesare really believed in him...that is, until Savonarola, being Savonarola, did not heed Cesare's warning about forcing his hand. Very tragic. And with the death of Savonarola, Cesare's interest in the peace of God was extinguished.  It's no wonder he saw Juan in the crowd as a vision and was propelled into the path of violence against Savonarola.

 

The show makes us conflicted as much as Cesare is conflicted.  We see these men of God doing despicable acts in the name of God, but at the same time, it shows us miracles performed here and there which restores God's presence.  Everyone underestimates Cesare's passion for God because he does depraved acts.  Machiavelli was surprised by Cesare actually open to the belief that Savonarolla would survive the fire.  It's a common misconception of Cesare that some characters pay with their lives.

 

And how amazing were the scenes between Machiavelli and Cesare, about how Cesare is too extreme and must know evil to get things done sometimes. I wish we could have seen more discussion between them before Machiavelli had to run off with his life.

 

And I was almost afraid for Michaelangelo, when he surprised Cesare by kissing him.  But, Cesare, always very unpredictable, found inspiration in it to combat Savonarolla.  Intriguing.

 

I can't wait for more DaVinci.  I'm not disappointed in these famous characters portrayal on this show.  I just wish we could get more and that there was more budget to show more.

 

Now I'm worried when Cesare started to exhibit signs of epilepsy in the last episode.  And with his French disease, will he now wear a mask to hide some deformity in Season 3? 

 

And Lucrezia now as acting Pope?  Now I have to read some books about the family to find out what was written in history and what was not.


Edited by Allia, May 21, 2013 @ 2:26 PM.

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#12

Allia

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Posted May 22, 2013 @ 3:22 PM

What I am confused about, and wish they had touched upon further, is why Cesare keeps DelaRovere near him during his campaign with King Louis of France.  I know he was ordered to take DelaRovere with him, but given their rocky history, I would think Cesare would be paranoid of any nefarious intentions he may have and would take measures to keep him at a distance of his inner circle.


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#13

Lilybee

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Posted May 22, 2013 @ 11:07 PM

Kudos to the casting. Both the actors playing Cesare and Lucrezia looked like they could have stepped out of a DaVinci painting.
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#14

Aeolusdallas

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Posted May 24, 2013 @ 7:24 PM

What I am confused about, and wish they had touched upon further, is why Cesare keeps DelaRovere near him during his campaign with King Louis of France.  I know he was ordered to take DelaRovere with him, but given their rocky history, I would think Cesare would be paranoid of any nefarious intentions he may have and would take measures to keep him at a distance of his inner circle.

Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.......


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#15

Allia

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Posted May 28, 2013 @ 9:28 PM

@LilyBee, I agree, they do look like they stepped out of a Renaissance painting or sculpture.  As well as the other characters like the French King Charles who is really interesting to watch.

 

@Aeolusdallas, good point.  I just wish they could've showed more about that from Cesare's pov.  I can't wait to see how Season 3 will handle the betrayal of Della Rovere which leads to Cesare's ultimate downfall.  Also can't wait to see how Cesare's death is handled as well - if he rode  ahead alone because of his disease making him reckless and crazy, his own mind thinking he's a God and can't be killed, or if he sees Juan in a vision, or if he was tricked.  I don't know how I can wait until January 2014 when Season 3 starts!



Since this is Television w/o Pity, although I love this show, I will point out a glaring mistake that really weakened the later half of Season 2. 

 

For me, it was the casting of the French King Louis.  After charismatic King Charles died, the actor who followed was disappointing.  English accent aside (because most everyone has accents that do not match their characters), the actor can not act.  Not sure why they chose him for such an important role.  If the character is meant to be a lightweight king, hiding his ambitions from Cesare, then a better actor could have pulled that off.   This actor looked like he was trying too hard to look intense without having any substance and that always pulls me out of the scene. He also has the same exact way of acting - squints his eyes, then tries to make loud speeches with gusto, then laughs his way through lines.  He always ruins the scenes with Mark Ryder, who is a brilliant actor.


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#16

bluvelvet

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Posted Sep 29, 2013 @ 10:07 PM

Loved the second season, it was so much better than season number one. Glad to hear season two is coming in January 2014 and I don't have to wait for another year see how it all ends. Mark Ryder did an excellent job as Cesare, the scene where Louis gives back on his word after Cesare delivered the annulment, the slight facial nuances he went from being angry to smiling was well done.
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#17

Cynic

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Posted Sep 29, 2013 @ 10:34 PM

Oh good, I didn't know there was a season 2 much less a season 3 coming. I'll definitely be putting that in my queue.

 

Regarding the accents, I read somewhere a while back that this production was produced for the European market and was supposed to be dubbed in different languages before release. The original audio wasn't going to be used and it was just filmed in English out of convenience as a common language among the various cast members. Presumably, the hype surrounding Showtime's Borgia's prompted a change in plans.


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