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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 17 July 2013
I love this show, and series 3 was easily the best they've done. Everything was turned up a notch, and finally giving us a real romance with Ceserae (Francois Armund) and Lucrezia (Holiday Grainger) was just the icing on the cake. Micheletto (Sean Harris) having a real story line was also an amazing bonus, and proved just haw underused he previously was, knocking every single scene he was in out of the park. If this show isn't nominated for any awards for season 3, then it is a travesty of justice, as it was easily the best produced show on television this year (oh yeah, even better than Game of Thrones third series... I said it.) Anyway, amazing show, amazing actors, devastated it's been cancelled.
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All is not well at the Vatican. Incensed Pope Alexander VI vows revenge on those who plotted his death and annihilation of his family. Cardinals and other foes will be brought firmly back into line, at least the ones that are allowed to survive.

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.
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Having waited ten months for the next and sadly final instalment of this superb drama we have, as usual, gobbled the whole season up in unseemly haste. This review contains slight spoilers for the end of season two so if you've not seen it then skip the following paragraph.

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.
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on 27 November 2013
This series is worth seeing over and over again for it's outstanding acting performances from all the characters, the visually rich production (costumes, interiors and locations) and the intelligent and entertaining dialogues.

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
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on 30 June 2013
It doesn't get bitchier, nastier, bloodier or better made than this Showtime series. It's a huge disappointment to me that this series is ending after 3 seasons, because it's just it enough . This true life crime family wrote the book on itin the 1500's. They never had to stretch the truth here, I think the material is over the heads of most Americans which it ashame. Jeremy irons has never been better! For those who have not seen - pleasure awaits!
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on 6 July 2013
Enjoyable, well acted and lavish. This whole saga is very worth while. François Arnaud is exceptional and the best thing about it.
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on 8 October 2014
Great series, good price, quick delivery, only problem is, that I've read that this is the final series...
This I find confusing, as the ending left a few unanswered questions... No offence,
But you should make a fourth series, and tie it up, or fans won't be happy.
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on 1 March 2015
Fantastic, captivating series that captures the political manoeuvrings and violence of the times brilliantly. Shame there are only 3 series as you are left wanting more. Would recommend. Very happy :)
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on 4 November 2013
great value for money and completed the series. Purchased this in advance and waited to take receipt of the product, but well worth the wait
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on 3 March 2014
Whilst I love this series (Jeremy Irons is superb), it is yet another series I have come to love that has had its ending ruined by network execs pulling the plug early. Why can't they give the show makers more notice? At least that way they could do a re-write and tie things off properly.

Now I hear that they're going to release an eBook to finish off the plot threads - I don't want to read about it! I want to watch it. If I wanted to read about it I'd have bought a history book on the Borgias. I don't want historical accuracy - I want double-dealing and skulduggery from an excellent cast.

Brilliant third season, brilliant show overall - will be sadly missed in our household...
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