The Borgias 3 Seasons 2011

Amazon Instant Video

Season 1
Available on Prime
(133) IMDb 7.9/10
Available 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

The Poisoned Chalice

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

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Theo TOP 1000 REVIEWER 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By shazbutxanda on 6 Jun 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
pretty dramatic and sexy stuff all the actors played their parts t perfection well worth the money and time welldone all
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By AM VINE VOICE on 27 Sep 2011
Format: DVD
These Americans/Canadians are really stepping up their game with how TV series are shot. There's Spartacus, Camelot, this - all with presumably large budgets and tackling folklore or historical fact in a way that was only ever seen in a movie previously.

Not everyone will love this show - it's really not that graphic (in comparison to Spartacus: Blood and Sand/Gods of the Arena) but don't tune in hoping to see a whiter than white Pope. There's sex, violence, plotting, battles, etc. Basically a reasonably accurate depiction of life during this time - the Pope was 'king of kings' and Borgia was all about gaining power by trying to bribe others or marry off his family into the different Italian provinces.

As someone else said, Jeremy Irons is ok. He plays the role in a very subdued way, he's always very contemplative but I quite like it.

It's very interesting as I previously wasn't too aware of this period in time. From the Wikipedia entry on the House of Borgia, it would appear that the producers have taken some artistic licence as Giulia Farnese and Lucrezia were actually a lot younger than is portrayed in the show.

It's all very cloak and daggers - religion is but an after-thought and way of keeping people under control.

The series ends well with the promise of more but it seemed to accelerate time quite quickly towards the final episode.
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