The Borgias 3 Seasons 2011

Amazon Instant Video

Season 1
Available on Prime
(155) IMDb 7.9/10
Available in HDAvailable on Prime

1. The Poisoned Chalice AGES_15_AND_OVER

In the season one premiere, Rodrigo successfully bribes and intimidates his way into an election as Pope Alexander VI, making him the new leader of the Catholic Church.

Starring:
Jeremy Irons,Joanne Whalley
Runtime:
49 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

The Poisoned Chalice

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Season 1
Available on Prime

Product Details

Genres Drama, Crime, Historical
Director Neil Jordan
Starring Jeremy Irons, Joanne Whalley
Supporting actors Francois Arnaud, David Oakes, Holliday Grainger, Colm Feore, Sean Harris, Lotte Verbeek
Network CBS Studios International
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Theo on 30 Oct. 2011
Format: DVD
There is a great deal to admire in this series. Visually it is superb. The costuming and sets manage simultaneously to be both beautiful and realistic to the period; or at least, they seem so to my untutored eye. The actors uniformly do an extraordinarily good job. So much so that it is difficult to know whom to focus upon in this review, because whatever choices I make I will be omitting mention of some truly outstanding performances.

However, I am going to begin in the obvious place: with Jeremy Irons' interpretation of Rodrigo Borgia. I do so if only because so much hinges on this pivotal character. The Telegraph critic Rachel Ray criticised this series on the grounds that it "lacks the amoral aura of a psychopathic family", and specifically criticised Irons' own performance as "disappointingly undiabolical". On a strictly literal level Ray's perception of this series is entirely accurate. However, I would argue that it also entirely misses the point.

The Rodrigo Borgia we find in this show was never intended as an inhuman monster who would not have been out of place cackling maniacally atop Snake Mountain. Rather, what we gaze upon here is far closer to the true face of evil as it most often exists in the real world: ordinary, resigned in the face of the dictates of Realpolitik, and when confronted with the moral reality of where such dictates lead, by turns a true believer, actively self deluding, and at times even self doubting. Not unlike a concentration camp guard who can go home at night and be a loving father to his children. I am very much reminded here of political theorist Hannah Arendt's famous phrase "the banality of evil".
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130 of 154 people found the following review helpful By Dancer on 25 Aug. 2011
Format: DVD
It is 1492 Columbus has just discovered the America's, Ferdinand and Isabella have kicked the moors out of Spain, and with the pope on his deathbed Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons) makes a power play to ascend to the Holy See. The stage is set for another Showtime historical Drama.

Coming off the back of the very successful Tudors series (even Henry ran out of wives in the end), Showtime have stuck with their audience and lavished the Borgia's with the big budget treatment. The story will be less familiar here in the UK, but in Renaissance Italy the Borgia's were a dynastic family (from Spain), contemporaries of the Medici's and Machiavelli. The tag line for the series is `The original crime family' and with good reason - Rodrigo and his family will stop at nothing in their quest for temporal and spiritual power, even Tony Soprano could admire their black manoeuvres, indeed the family's reputation for ruthlessness inspired Mario Puzo's to mold the characters featured in "The Godfather" after the real life Borgia's, yet like Tony they have to grapple with the reality of their actions.

The first season runs to just nine episodes, setting the stage, inviting us into Renaissance Italy, and introducing the players. The premiere starts with the death of the reigning Pope, which leaves a vacancy that ambitious Cardinal Rodrigo (Irons) intends to claim at any price. Through back room deals and other nefarious deeds, Rodrigo ascends to power while making a firm enemy of Cardinal Della Rovere (a solid Colm Feore)--an act that will have long range repercussions as the exiled Cardinal aligns with outside forces to unseat the Pope.
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. L. Rees TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Dec. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Corruption on high, debauchery, treachery, much slaughter - what gifts for a major television series! The notorious Borgias would seem ideal. The 1981 version thought it was on to a winner, but proved ludicrous and invited ridicule. This 2011 production also disappoints, the reasons different.

Visually, it is a stunner - sumptuous sets a treat for the eye. Battle scenes are spectacular, horrifying too, especially when those chained cannon balls cause so much carnage. Sadly, though, it is not enough simply to look good. The script (several times in the bonuses described as "beautiful") is all too often heavy handed, bogged down with words - scenes dragging on when key points could have been far more deftly made. The acting also proves uneven. Most unexpectedly Jeremy Irons fails to impress, his character prone to prolonged actory utterances. Other key characters (daughter included) fail to make necessary impact. Cesare has charisma, the Pope's wife and mistress appealing dignity. Although somewhat over-colourful, the King of France at least makes his presence felt. Some of the best acting occurs in smaller roles - not least Sean Harris as assassin Micheletto - he simply IS whom he plays, totally credible.

Generally interesting bonuses also can prove cumbersome. Note that Q&A section. Why so often the need to press keys for the next bit? Why not simply "PLAY ALL"? (On a more lighthearted note, there are recipes inspired by leading Borgias. It is tempting to observe, given their track record, each course seems to lack a certain ingredient.)

Critics declare the show over-hyped. I did not wish to believe them but have now to agree. "The Original Crime Family"? So far at least, the Borgias are not a patch on the "I, Claudius" lot.
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