Showtime's "The Borgias"

Is anyone going to watch this Showtime series by the creators of he Tudors, called “The Borgias?” The series is about about Rodrigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI) and his corrupt family? It starts April 3rd.

The Borgias

From Wikipedia: “The Borgias, also known as the Borjas, were an Italian noble family of Spanish origin; they became prominent during the Renaissance. The Borgias were patrons of the arts; thanks to their support artists of Renaissance could ‘spread their wings’ and realize their artistic potential. The most brilliant personalities of this era regularly visited their court. The Borgias became prominent in ecclesiastical and political affairs in the 1400s and 1500s. Today they are remembered for their corrupt rule when one of them was Pope. They have been accused of many different crimes, including adultery, simony, theft, rape, bribery, incest, and murder (especially murder by arsenic poisoning[1]). Due to their search for power, they made enemies of other powerful families such as the Medici and the Sforza, as well as the influential Dominican friar Savonarola.”

Yes, I know it’s going to be full of sex and violence, but I’m going to share a little secret.

What first got me interested in Catholicism was the Showtime Series - theTudors. Before that time, the only Catholics I knew were those who attended weekly mass maybe, but otherwise did their own thing. I loved the beautiful churches and masses in the Tudors and was amazed at how devout Queen Catherine of Aragon and her daughter Mary was.

So God can use whatever he wants to lead someone to him.

I have to be honest… It looks very cool =]
As long as you understand its entertainment I see no problem why not to watch it. Pope Alexander IV belongs to one of the stains on linen cloth of the church’s clergy-theres no harm in revealing the fallen character of all people including clerics.

I will be watching.

Well, knowing its from the creators of the Tudors I wont be :D. I tried to watch the Tudors. Being a fan of A Man for All Seasons and loving the history I tuned in eagerly. I just could not get past how so much time was spent on showing Henry’s six pack of abs that it lost a sense of history.

I am curious to see if the Borgia series furthers the fairly common misconception that Jesus is actually Cesar Borgia, in other words the model of Jesus for art is Cesar Borgia.

showtime airs mostly garbage
the Tudors committed at least 3 major historical bloopers in each episode
expectations for the Borgias to reflect even dimly anything more historically accurate than the fact that this family did exist and includes some nasty characters is slim to none

No I watched a bit of the Tudors and it wasn’t very historically true. Henry had 2 sisters for example not just one. Ironically one of them was divorced almost as many times as he was the other Married the Elderly King of France then Ran off with Henry’s best friend when she was widowed. …I can’t see the Borgia’s is being more then very light entertainment. I do love True Blood though and can’t wait for season 4 :cool:

This show is premiering. Perhaps the forum (or even the site) can have a special assessment thread (or feature) about the show’s historical accuracy, and most importantly, portrayal of Catholicism.

I’m not watching though, I don’t have cable.

The first episode repeats the myth of the use of a sede stercorarium (a relic of the Pope Joan myth) for a a gender check on newly elected popes – in this case, used to check that Rodrigo Cardinal Borgia upon his election as Alexander VI did, in fact, have male genitalia (the well-known existence of his illegitimate children, apparently not being good enough proof.) Not sure what other dramatic liberties that episode took.

Scratch this show.

I’ve been watching The Tudors and after what they did to Woolsey and More, I figured I’d only watch it for entertainment value as a fantasy kingdom kind of show and not as anything remotely historical. I tend to fast forward through the sex scenes (yawn). The show makes numerous mentions of the church’s wealth especially the monasteries as if these places are hoarding money and fail to show they were money making factories and farms that also supported hospitals and orphanages. They were in essence England’s charity base. Once Henry gutted them the people had no access to free health care, food and clothing. It was centuries before the poor recovered because of Henry’s greed.

I don’t have show time so don’t know if I will watch The Borgias. I fully expect to see every protestant myth about the Church shown as fact. The Church will be shown as overwhelmingly greedy, rich, cruel to the poor and artists, politically hungry, hypocritical when it comes to sex and celibacy, with the occasional, long suffering reforming cleric persecuted by the inquisition and eventually killed, thrown in for good measure.:mad:

I’m a history buff is this worth a look on DVD. I saw it at blockbuster and was thinking of renting it.

It’s history through the eyes of HBO.

I never bothered watching it because I knew it would be as sensationalized as possible and would lack any true historicity. :shrug:

Actually, the show was actually pretty good. It was less anti-Catholic and more anti-Alexander VI. Also, it was pretty good at showing how, despite all the things Alexander did, he was pretty normal compared to the dukes of the Italian city-states. The show also did a good job depicting how Alexander’s actions were more for political reasons.

It was a different period in the political sphere; the show does a good job having the audience understand that.

I liked the first season a lot. I’m planning to watch season two whenever it comes back on. Take this from a medievalist and ecclesiastical historian. :slight_smile:

I agree, I don’t know how historically acurate it may be, but if it’s anything like The Tudors, it’s very entertaining. I enjoyed The Tudors, I just kept in mind that it was criticized as being “based LOOSELY on historic fact”. LOL

So, if you are just going for the entertainment value, you shouldn’t be dissappointed.

Did you see The Tudors? If so, what did you think of it?

I’m not an historian, but I felt like they didn’t “go after” all things CAtholic. Seems to me like they showed good and bad sides of both protestant and Catholic (being that the "de"formation was a big part of the story line).

THe factual history was bad enough. HBO didn’t really need to sensationalize it but they still did. They simplify many aspects of the political climate of the time and through in some silly stuff.

It’s entertaining for what it is I suppose.

But, let’s now pretend that the few Papacies of the period were the shining examples of Papal piety through the ages.

I thought the same as you. When it ran on HBO I turned in one night…and turned out so after. Though the series may have some truth in it, it seemed that HBO was more interested in the scenes that would “sell.” If you are interested in accurate information on this era I would recommend you read about them as I did - from a trusted source.

I’m actually watching that right now. I just got done with season 1, and watched the first episode of season 2. Even though it’s loosely based on Henry VIII’s life, I think they did a good job on being fairly neutral. Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher, and Catherine of Aragon are depicted as pious people who put their faith above political pressure.

They also did a great job on showing how Henry’s reasons for separating from the Catholic Church - no matter how terrible of an action that was – wasn’t just because he wanted Anne Boleyn in his bed. Although that was probably the main reason, it wasn’t the only one.

Again, I’m still watching the show, but so far I’m not disappointed.

I bought the DVD of Season 1 back in August through Canada’s Amazon.

The Borgias is on Showtime, like Dexter (lol), not HBO.

Overall, it is a very solid show. Of course, it isn’t accurate (and I think more liberties are taken with the historical record when compared with The Tudors). But it would be hard not to embellish given the source material.

The most annoying example of this was the “poisoning” of Prince Djem. He died with King Charles on the way to Naples (I think it was before he arrived in Naples, but I could be wrong on that).

Jeremy Irons is very good as Pope Alexander.

I wonder how they are going to handle the syphilis thing with regard to Cearse?

The “history” in The Tudors is too often unnecessarily plainly wrong. E.g., Henry’s older sister Margaret married the King of Scotland who was young and virile. Hence, Mary Queen of Scot’s claim to the throne. Henry’s younger sister Mary, who does not exist in the series, married the King of France, not Portugal, who was old. It was through her that Lady Jane Grey, through Mary’s second marriage, claimed the throne. Those errors are only the most glaring and unnecessary. Indeed they are puzzling.

Henry wanted a legitimate son because his father had fought a civil war, The War of the Roses, to become King and no woman had successfully reigned in England in her own right. The Empress Matilda (aka Maud), daughter and heir of Henry I, claimed the throne but a civil war started and her cousin Stephen of Blois held the throne with Matilda more an historical footnote. Granted HVIII “wanted” Anne - but he really wanted a son to try to head off civil war.

If you want entertainment, The Tudors is fine - just don’t expect much reliable history.

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