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The Borgias - Season 3 [DVD]
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All ten episodes from the third season of the drama starring Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia, the head of the powerful family that dominated Italy during the Renaissance. In this season, Rodrigo, having survived an assassination attempt, works to maintain his power and influence in the church and his son Cesare (François Arnaud) struggles to prove his worth to the family. The episodes are: 'The Face of Death', 'The Purge', 'Siblings', 'The Banquet of Chestnuts', 'The Wolf and the Lamb', 'Relics', 'Lucrezia's Gambit', 'Tears of Blood', 'The Gunpowder Plot' and 'The Prince'.
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Top Customer Reviews
Welcome ten more episodes of plotting, double-dealing, sex and destruction.
As always, the series is visually stunning. Again one appreciates how much the scripts and acting have improved since the uneven first season. Jeremy Irons impresses as the beleaguered Pope, as does Gina McKee as his archenemy, the siege of her castle an awesome highlight.
Gore continues to be interwoven with passion. Lucrezia spends her wedding night with brother Cesare rather than her husband. Demises are sometimes spectacular - one victim aflame as he runs, another destroyed by lampreys. Sly humour abounds - as with the Pope's "shocked" discovery of cardinals' debauchery (at an event he masterminded). Shameless money-raising tactics include blatant blackmail, indulgences, "holy" relics, con tricks very much a speciality.
Although enjoyable, it shocks to reflect how those in control of Christianity are as far from Jesus' teachings as can be.
Interesting bonuses include features on the food and drink of the time, plus historical backgrounds of key figures.
The series had a lot of life in it yet (unlike many of the characters involved). It thus saddens the plug has been pulled. No more decadence, alas!
But it was great whilst it lasted.
It is obvious that no cost was spared in producing this series. It is also obvious that great care was taken in casting all the roles - all the actors are serious professionals, making every person seem important (as they are) to the telling of the story. It's a pity this series didn't receive more media attention and awards.
The story line of the Borgias in this series is based primarily on the worst poisonous rumors about their lives, but understandable since it makes the story easier to tell, and in some ways, far more interesting. However, some of the outlandish scenarios that seem too ludicrous to be true did actually happen - but just did not involve the Borgias!*
The packaging was a disappointment. The season 1 and season 2 DVD sets consisted of 2 plastic boxes each containing 2 discs each, so that you wouldn't have to wrestle with all four discs (being layered on top of one another) at once, as is the case with this season 3 set.
It also would have benefitted from more information about who played which roles, as well as production credits.
*For a well researched and astonishing look at the real lives of the Borgias, try "The Borgias, The Hidden History", by G.J. Meyer, also purchased on this site. A riveting book that is hard to put down! The Borgias: The Hidden History
The action follows on immediately from the nail biting finale of Season two with our Borgia pope fighting for his life following Della Rovere's poisoning as the avaricious cardinals vie to become Alexander's successor.
The depth of political intrigue makes West Wing look like a kitten playing with string and it is impossible to describe any of the goings-on without completely spoiling the season. Suffice to say that Cesare continues to be unappreciated as he strives to further cement the papacy's hold over the squabbling family states while Lucrezia struggles with the consequences of her conflicted amorous feelings. Throughout the seemingly endless labyrinthine plotting, shifting allegiances and messy deaths, the splendidly reliable and implacable Michelotto continues to shine as the apparently only trustworthy person in the whole country.
With the same obsessive production values, huge cast and sumptuous costumes & locations it is sadly no surprise that again, the network bean-counters axed the show before the fourth and final planned season citing the financial cost as the main reason. Also, I somewhat cynically & perhaps pretentiously suspect that the writing and plot design were just too elegant and complex for the American mass audience. Whatever the reason, it is a shame that they wouldn't even finance a final two hour `wind-up' episode to satisfy the enthralled audience as the extant season three does end somewhat abruptly. Notwithstanding the ending, this season is a must for anyone gripped by the intricacies of 15th Century Italian politics.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Big fan, despite the authors' poetic license regarding historical facts. Was crushed to find out that there wouldn't be a season 4 finale...Published 1 month ago by olga sorokina