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  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 12, 2013
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Da Vinci's Demons Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 93 Ratings

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  • Summary: Twenty five-year old artist/inventor Leonardo da Vinci (Tom Riley) works for Lorenzo Medici (Elliot Cowan); attracts the attention of Medici's mistress, Lucrezia Donati (Laura Haddock); battles Count Girolamo Riario (Blake Ritson); and seeks the mysterious Book of Leaves in this historical fantasy series. Collapse
  • Genre(s): Drama, Fantasy
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 27
  2. Negative: 2 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Apr 11, 2013
    The mystical mumbo jumbo nearly derails the proceedings, but Goyer reins in the hookum in favor of frolicking adventure that's more fun than fact.
  2. Reviewed by: Clark Collis
    Apr 5, 2013
    We see promise in Tom Riley's Leonardo da Vinci. [12 Apr 2013, p.68]
  3. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Apr 12, 2013
    No one should base a term paper on it, but Da Vinci's Demons is at least an entertaining lie.
  4. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    May 3, 2013
    To work, this overheated alchemy needs a magnetic Leo, but Tom Riley is miscast--too smart-alecky and brash. [13 May 2013, p.46]
  5. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Apr 12, 2013
    It feels at times like part “Da Vinci Code,” part “National Treasure,” part “Borgias” and part “Sherlock,” all with its own underlying tongue-in-cheek bemusement.
  6. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Apr 12, 2013
    Ultimately, I found Da Vinci's Demons ridiculous but fairly amiable.
  7. 30
    Series creator David S. Goyer seems to be going for exuberance; but Da Vinci’s Demons is never exuberant enough to overcome a crippling combination of leadenness, silliness, and mediocre storytelling.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 23
  2. Negative: 5 out of 23
  1. May 26, 2013
    10++++++++ out of 10+. A very good show and Tom Riley is dreamy in it. The actors give stellar performances. I don't need to say anything else about this wonderful show. Expand
  2. Nov 25, 2013
    It's not a factual account of Leonardo's life and has never claimed to be, but it's a lot of fun and very refreshing. It takes off rather weakly, so bear with the first two episodes. It picks up wonderfully as the plot thickens. Also, amazing performances! Expand
  3. Apr 21, 2013
    I was too excited when I first heard the news that they're releasing Da Vinci's Demons. Honestly though, when I first heard of it, I was scared that it wouldn't be as successful as I want it to be, considering the fact that it's more of a renaissance series. Based on recent reviews though I have to say that Da Vinci's Demons is getting better reviews. I really liked the show, it has a cunning storyline and the cast is easy to love. It might have some R rated scenes, but honestly, what recent show doesn't. Da Vinci's Demons is an easy to recommend show, and an easy show to give a 10. If you've read some of Dan Brown's work, and loved it, then Da Vinci's Demons could be your new favourite show. Expand
  4. Apr 24, 2013
    From its very beginning, we are told that this is loosely based on Leonardo's actual life story.

    Above all, it's a sci-fi fantasy show and
    it will deal with the current suspected mythology of the era: secret societies, a masonic Catholic church and religious mysticism.

    Leonardo's character is a sort of clever swashbuckler pirate than can invent as well as love beautiful women; he can also slow time to pick details up and abstract reality in the form of mental blueprints: similar to the detective mode found on the new Batman Arkham game series.

    As a Stars production [Spartacus], the creators wanted to grant us with some skin on the screen but they do not go as far as it has been done on the gladiator show; probably due to most of the actors' being English and respectable instead of New Zealanders and carefree.

    The city of Florence has been virtually rendered to offer the series setting, which does not look as well [real] as it should but it's fine [pretty].

    I've just finished watching the second episode so I cannot tell more yet the plot has thickened a bit more and the main characters have begun to interestingly evolve as well.

    It's a fun show with some pretty CG environments, costumes and people on it to look at, specially the female lead character.

    It deserves a try.
  5. Apr 4, 2014
    Even a "historical fantasy" has to have some internal logic, and Da Vinci's Demons is frequently dragged down by ludicrous writing. Apparently, it's easier to let random innocents hear your secret plans and then kill them for dramatic effect than it is to talk in private. Someone walks in on you doing a job you were paid to do? Hide, because it's dramatic. And while Da Vinci's real inventions are pretty wild, I'm pretty sure the automated flying metal birds in the pilot were not among them. Likewise, the other gratuitously salacious elements, including multiple pedophile priests, and nudity (which, unlike many shows, is fairly egalitarian) and violence aplenty, are simply too much.

    The series' high points derive from its engagement of the real Da Vinci's contradictory and unique character, a whimsical score by Bear McCreary, and the female lead. Despite being frequently nude, she seems to be having the time of her life playing dress-up in fancy costumes the rest of the time, and effectively conveys a sense of being both vile and appealing at the same time. The show is quite cynical about religion, and to anyone easily offended it may offend. Me, I count that as another high point.

    Shot in Britain with largely British actors (despite being said in Italy and elsewhere), the series lacks a sense of authenticity. The intrigue and splatter are sometimes interesting, but given that the guy who wrote The Dark Knight is in charge of it, the series is something of a disappointment. It'll never be great, but it may get better.
  6. Jun 24, 2013
    Ultimately I was disappointed with Demons considering it's creator. When the show was announced I wondered what 'demons' the title was referring to and it's these demons that for me detract from the narrative's stronger elements. The show is strongest when Da Vinci is caught up in the power struggle fought between the Medici's and the Pope through his sly nephew Count Riario.

    The 'demons' element weakens Da Vinci and has him fighting a repressed childhood memory while hunting for clues of his mother. He is contacted by the Son's of Mithras, who instruct him to access the Fountain of Memory to find the Vault of Heaven where he will find the Book of Leaves. Seriously, you couldn't make it up. The Book of Leaves will probably be followed by the Turd of Glory.

    In terms of historical accuracy the show is tongue in cheek and pretty good fun. For me Da Vinci is a bearded old man, but here is he reinvented as a cool, fast talking, talented sword fighter. I wondered if Goyer would stay true to dialogue of the time but this was answered in the first ten seconds of the opening episode when Hugh Bonneville, in a cameo as the Duke of Milan, responds 'Balls!' to be told he was late! Tom Riley is charismatic as Leonardo and is well supported by Elliot Cowan as Lorenzo de Medici and Blake Ritson as Count Riario.

    The production is glossy and features some decent CGI used to illustrate Da Vinci's brain at work as he plots and develops his inventions.

    The finale was disappointing finishing not just following a cliffhanger but midway through one which I found incredibly unsatisfying. At only eight episodes, the season was the perfect length, short and punchy and the show has been renewed for another round in 2014.
  7. May 11, 2013
    I am disappointed with this show. I wrote a historical fiction about Lorenzo Medici so I know a lot about them. None of this show is historically correct. Lorenzo wasn't even the patron to Leonardo he was to Michael Angelo though. The actors seem too British to me and not at all Italian. Historically Lorenzo's brother, Giuliano, was murdered at 17. It is what I call fluff, sex and violence using a low budget. The Borgias have better actors and cosutmes while staying more true to historical fact. Expand

See all 23 User Reviews