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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Borgia
As most will know, there are 2 Borgia series running parallel with each other. The Borgias starring Jeremy Irons is the one most watch or know; it being stylistically similar to the 'The Tudors'.

'Borgia' by comparison, is slower paced and grittier. What flashes by in half an episode on 'The Borgias', is detailed over an episiode on 'Borgia'. I make no pretence...
Published 16 months ago by Nathan

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars European TV series charting the heights of Borgia power in 15th Century
It's an interesting comparison, to see this series following the machinations of the Borgia family from 1492 onwards, so soon after the somewhat higher profile seemingly identically pitched Jeremy Irons starring version. While the two cover pretty much exactly the same ground story wise, they do dwell on different aspects of the Borgia and although I had seen the Irons...
Published 23 months ago by Mr. Stephen Kennedy


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars European TV series charting the heights of Borgia power in 15th Century, 7 Oct 2012
By 
Mr. Stephen Kennedy "skenn1701a" (Doha, Qatar) - See all my reviews
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It's an interesting comparison, to see this series following the machinations of the Borgia family from 1492 onwards, so soon after the somewhat higher profile seemingly identically pitched Jeremy Irons starring version. While the two cover pretty much exactly the same ground story wise, they do dwell on different aspects of the Borgia and although I had seen the Irons version, I still enjoyed this.
I would suggest the performance of Pope Alexander here is a little more nuanced.. as I started watching it, I felt his performance was too reserved, but as the character developed it really did have layers.. not just an inhuman Machiavellan character, but someone who can order heinous crimes one moment, and cherish their family and show a soft spot for them the next. The supporting cast all work well, and the character of Cesare in particular is well developed here.
There is certainly an abundance of sex, but then there appears to have been in the Papal household at that time.. and if it seems "unattractive" to watch the pensioner Pope thrusting himself at a beautiful young waif.. well perhaps you're supposed to be uncomfortable. And on the other side of the scale, some of the tortures / executions are quite horrific, to the point of feeling voyeuristic rather than informative. Production design works ok, it's not as convincing and varied as the Hollywood version, but enough quality to keep you from being distracted from the plot, and the sparingly used cgi in establishing shots is pretty good by TV standards.
All in all a perfectly interesting historical series worth watching,though on the sensationalist side.. and if you've seen the Irons version, it does cover much of the same ground. Both of them, it has to be said, have been accused of not being terribly close to the known facts. It's fair to say these are more pulpy entertainment than serious historical opus.. but at least it got me going to the internet and books to find out a little more to separate the fact from fiction. For my future TV watching pleasure however, I'd be hard pressed between the two Borgia series to decide which one I would like to carry on watching into Season 2, if I have to choose between them..

p.s. - take care when picking your series, the Jeremy Irons versions is the Borgias with an s, and this European version is Borgia, with no s.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Borgia, 16 April 2013
By 
Nathan "Mod" (UK) - See all my reviews
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As most will know, there are 2 Borgia series running parallel with each other. The Borgias starring Jeremy Irons is the one most watch or know; it being stylistically similar to the 'The Tudors'.

'Borgia' by comparison, is slower paced and grittier. What flashes by in half an episode on 'The Borgias', is detailed over an episiode on 'Borgia'. I make no pretence at being a historical expert on either Italy or The Borgias, but of the 2, 'Borgia' appears more authentic. This might have to do with the quality of writers on board, including Larry Cohen (In Treatment) and Gina Gionfriddo (Law & Order). About the accents: I readily confess, it took me an episode to attune myself to John Doman who sounds like he just stepped out of The Godfather (actually he stepped out of The Wire), which I suspect was the producers intention, as there are obvious comparisons between The Borgias and The Corleones.

To sum up I am enjoying both series, but if I had to make a choice as to which one I would invest my time in, it would be 'Borgia'. That said my instinct tells me 'Borgia' might be cancelled before the story is finished.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Borgia, 18 Feb 2012
This set contains the complete ist series split into 12 episodes of "Borgia" (not to be confused with the much tamer version with Jeremy Irons called "The Borgia"). It was made for the German and Austrian market but also shown in France and Spain. The quality is almost as good as the HD version shown on Spanish Canal+. Historicaly speaking some gross liberties have been taken with the subject matter, but this seems to be the prevailing trend nowadays (i.e. The Tudors, Rome, Spartacus...). It does however portray in a rather realistic way a gruesome period of Italian history when life was cheap and people did almost anything to get to the top (not much change here from the current corporate or political world then). All in all a rather disturbing and very realistic look at the world of the so-called Rennaissance, which combined terribles crimes on the one hand and a flourishing of art and culture on the other. Highly recommended viewing for people who want to get a feel (in more ways than one) of a turbulent period.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Story of the Borgia family, 10 Nov 2013
By 
Laura Isabel Furtado (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) - See all my reviews
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If you are "Roman Catholic" and don't know History, you might be chocked. But I think it's a very interesting point of view on the story of Borgia, a family that "ruled" the church in the XV century. I think it's based in History, but I can't tell for sure, because I don't know very well History in this period. For what I know, it's fair and this version tells better, in my opinion, what had happened at that period.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-see drama!, 2 Jun 2013
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I rate Borgia five stars because I love this gritty, interesting tail of the Borgia family enormously. The cast and the scrips go beautifully together and I sincerely hope they relase season two soon. I need to know what comes next.I'm hooked!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic series, 20 Dec 2012
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Speaking as someone who doesn't know anything about about the period of time that the series is set in I found it very really engrossing and enjoyable. As with many TV series, I prefer to watch on DVD so there aren't any adverts or week long waits for the next episode. Definately worth a watch if you are a fan of the tutors or romans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More Cheesey Burgher than Cesare Borgia, 29 July 2012
By 
S. J. Williams "stevejw2" (Leeds, West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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PLEASE NOTE THIS REVIEW IS OF 'BORGIA', NOT 'THE BORGIAS' WITH JEREMY IRONS!! (Amazon, get your listings sorted.)

I'm all for a bit of gratuitous nakedness on tv. But when a programme embeds it in its title sequence it tends to make me a little suspicious about its prime selling point and its target audience. (Not being sniffy; I like a glimpse of bosom as much as the next man - hence, perhaps, the second star.)

Sets are impressive, costumes, when worn, are admirable, and I suppose if throwing money at a project would guarantee success then this would be a winner. Unfortunately, for me, it's a bit of a disaster. The script is awful, weighed down with the clunkiest exposition: characters so frequently address each other with reminders of precisely what their relationship is, that it is exceptionally irritating. Knowing who's who and what they have done, plan to do or dream of doing to each other is always a problem in this sort of series, but rarely has it been handled with such awkwardness. Characterisation, too, is dire: Cesare's struggle between spirituality and the world of brutal political intrigue is incredibly crudely represented. It's like televisual painting by numbers.

I'm not going to get started on historical accuracy, as it really doesn't matter in a programme that clearly simply aspires to be entertaining. But there's the rub: it ISN'T, at least to this viewer. It is deadly dull and couldn't even lure this non-sporting type drowning in Olympic coverage to continue watching it after episode three. Acting is pretty poor on the whole too and is not aided by the absurdity of no one seeming to have given a thought to agreeing a rule of thumb accent to be used by everyone purporting to be Italian, just to give it a touch of authenticity: Lower East Side, Cockney, RP or local pizza parlour would do rather than this Tower of Babel.

I could go on, but Lady Fancifull has so carefully itemised its weaknesses that I haven't the will to add to her thoughtful catalogue. Absolute pants! Despite the appeal of bare breasts, it really does have to go down to 1* (And how sad to see the director of the marvellous film 'Downfall' guilty of at least some of this tosh.)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior to "The Borgias", 28 Jun 2013
By 
L. Robinson (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The European "Borgia" series is far superior and much more intelligent in every way when compared to the shallow and completely fictional "The Borgias" series starring Jeremy Irons.

"Borgia" isn`t perfect by any means, but once you get past the amusement of a Spanish pope with an American accent, the episodes become more and more watchable and highly addictive. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the main stumbling block is the portrayal of Rodrigo Borgia as a violent, aggressive, mafia boss, who displays a constant morose, intimidating coldness. He shows no warmth or charm whatsoever and there is nothing likeable in him. He is constantly berating and threatening those around him, especially his children Historical records clearly reveal a sly, sensual, charismatic man, who was very laid back, fun loving and who loved to spoil his offspring excessively. This does reduce the authenticity of the story somewhat, but fortunately the rest of the characters more than make up for this distortion. Cesare is portrayed as an intelligent, vindictive, moody character who develops nicely as the series progresses and although the series does take huge liberties with the truth and invents several incidents which never took place, thankfully for the majority of the time, it does manage to follow the facts.
The script is excellent and the crucial events which occured during the Borgia reign are covered in detail. The filming, the costumes and the scenery are amazing. A lot of thought and research has obviously gone into this production and a beautiful, brutal, artistic, yet grotesque era is starkly brought to life.

Personally, I can`t wait to watch a season 2 and for this reason, I give "Borgia" 5 stars.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting proposition, poor casting, 8 Oct 2012
By 
J. Chandler (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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A historical drama based in the vein of 'Rome', this drama covers a fascinating period of medieval Italian history.

The sets and acting are good, it seems fairly well directed, and the story line is engaging. As such, it ought to be an enjoyable watch.

However, I couldn't really get into it. I think this is because, while all the other characters seem quite believable, the central character's American accent constantly jarrs one out of believing in the story. By way of example, "Italian" is pronounced with a New York "Ita-yan".

If you can get over this (and I'm sure that I'm missing out because I can't) the series would be enjoyable and entertaining.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Accents all over the place but grittier than The Borgias, 17 Jun 2013
By 
Having watched The Borgias seasons 2 and 2 (and I'm eagerly awaiting the DVD version of season 3), I decided to watch this series for comparison's sake. Only three episodes have been seen and I am intrigued by the difference in style and the casting of the main actors. John Doman sounds like a Mafia don (intentional, I'm sure) and his American accent grates at times and the rest of the cast seems to be German, British, Spanish and probably Central European too which would befit a Europudding-type production.

The actor who plays Cesare Borgia, Mark Ryder, is blue/green eyed and fair skinned which I found disconcerting as he looks, at times, like a public schoolboy let loose in a fencing school. The Borgia family was originally Spanish so would probably have been dark haired and eyed so this was peculiar casting. The interiors look wonderful, just like Renaissance paintings, and the costumes are also superb. The action is grittier than in The Borgias and there is one horrifically brutal execution of a man being broken on the wheel which is not to be viewed on a fully stomach. The style of direction is very European, so hence the earthiness as opposed to the luxury of the papal court.

Art Malik is wasted in a supporting role as he deserves much more recognition in a series of this kind - if it lasts.

Finally, having watched Borgia I much prefer The Borgias as the acting is far superior and the characters are credible. Borgia has some plus points but loses out to The Borgias.
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Borgia: Season 1 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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