The Borgias : Season 1

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  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 3, 2011
Season #: 1, 2, 3
The Borgias Image
Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 121 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: The rise of power by the Borgias clan led by Pope Alexander VI (Jeremy Irons) and his children (Cesare, Lucrezia, and Gioffre) is examined in the Neil Jordan series.
  • Genre(s): Drama

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 25
  2. Negative: 1 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Mar 31, 2011
    88
    If it plays a bit fast and loose with facts, it's nowhere near as outrageous as its Showtime cousin The Tudors, whose ever-young, ever-fit Henry VIII was an affront to history and to common sense. Irons may not look anything like the real Pope Alexander, but he makes you believe in him - and for The Borgias' purposes, that's what matters.
  2. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Mar 30, 2011
    80
    What makes for a mixed stewardship of the Roman Catholic Church can also make for lively television.
  3. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Apr 7, 2011
    80
    Murder and sexual predation sure look fun when they're done by pretty people in luscious gowns. Jeremy Irons is splendidly depraved as Rodrigo, and Holliday Grainger (Robin Hood) so sunnily sweet as Lucrezia that it's damn near impossible to hold a little arsenic against her.
  4. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Mar 30, 2011
    70
    The fact is, these kinds of grand historical reimaginings can be a scrumptious combination of costume drama acting, soap opera theatrics and pay cable promiscuousness. That'll make the hours fly by. And it doesn't mean your pleasure needs to be all that guilty.
  5. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Apr 1, 2011
    70
    Like the notorious family that bribed its way into the Vatican's papal chamber while sullying many a Roman bedchamber, we want our money's worth. And The Borgias wickedly delivers, serving up an operatic feast of delicious malice and unbridled lust: for power and wealth, for carnal pleasure and vulgar theatrics.
  6. Reviewed by: Phillip Maciak
    Apr 4, 2011
    50
    The Borgias is merely the network's most recent, shallow exploration into precisely how murderous, horny, and fabulously costumed the wealthy were at the turn of the 16th century.
  7. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Apr 8, 2011
    30
    Some shading aside, some occasional twinges of remorse, nothing can hide the fact that these people have no souls to lose, no character to develop. Apart from looking for "Godfather" homage moments, there isn't more to root for here than there is at a cage fight.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Jun 6, 2014
    10
    It is like ... or actually my conviction is: Michael Hirst is trying to celebrate every cultures' 'greatness' ...
    And now he is expression my
    It is like ... or actually my conviction is: Michael Hirst is trying to celebrate every cultures' 'greatness' ...
    And now he is expression my cultures' greatness, legends, mythes and much, much more!

    For me! Michael Hirst, and the actors, and the Co. behind ... proving top class "new morden" art!

    Deepest respect, if my conviction is true!

    (review's source: "Vikings")
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  2. Feb 27, 2014
    10
    I was a bit undecided about following this series as I thought it was going to be disappointing compared to The Tudors. It turned out muchI was a bit undecided about following this series as I thought it was going to be disappointing compared to The Tudors. It turned out much better for several reasons, among which the fact that the cast is much larger and the story does not focus mainly on one character (such as Henry VIII). Besides, the story of this family is a lot less known, so it is intriguing to discover a fictional version of historical facts. Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia is intriguing and decadent enough. His two sons, Cesare and Juan, are played by excellent actors; the women (ex-lover Vannozza, new lover Giulia, daughter Lucrezia) are all interesting characters. Even Michelozzo, the “bad boy” assassin serving Cesare is intriguing. A special mention to the gorgeous costumes, much nicer than anything seen in the Tudors. Collapse
  3. Apr 4, 2011
    10
    I'll admit I was predisposed to like "The Borgias" by the subject matter, by the network, by the involvement of Neil Jordan, and by theI'll admit I was predisposed to like "The Borgias" by the subject matter, by the network, by the involvement of Neil Jordan, and by the casting of Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia. And I do like it, very much. As usual with historical series, the show edits the facts quite a bit, but some of the editing is doubtless in the interest of fairness, given the blackening of the Borgia name after the family's downfall. Cesare, promoted to elder brother in the series, is a more conflicted, self-aware thug than his historical counterpart, and, played with intelligence and charm by François Arnaud, serves as a strong foil to his menacing father. And no one does menace like Jeremy Irons. Even when he's not saying a word, just staring into space, his face advertises his cruelty and depraved ambition. Then he speaks, complicating the portrait with a dark charisma that lures and repels simultaneously. From top to bottom, the casting is unusually good, as should be evident from the participation of heavyweights Colm Feore and Derek Jacobi, who play rival cardinals. Also first-rate is the overall look of the show, which is sumptuous in the extreme. One critic complained that Rodrigo's reason for seeking the papacy was obscure, but, for me, it was obvious in the buildings, the clothes, the ornaments, the art, all of which proclaim the massive wealth and power of the church in Rome. "The Borgias" is splendid, in at least two senses of the word. Expand
  4. J_B
    Nov 5, 2011
    9
    The cast is great, especially Jeremy Iron, playing the Pope, and Francois Arnaud, who's Cesare. I bought the season on DVD and watched itThe cast is great, especially Jeremy Iron, playing the Pope, and Francois Arnaud, who's Cesare. I bought the season on DVD and watched it within a week. And while the facts are stretched a bit, the main parts are true. The only thing is that some episodes are pretty fast paced. Expand
  5. Aug 22, 2013
    8
    Liked it! There were some faults, but none that hindered it so much I would write about. I enjoyed watching it, it's lewd, kinky andLiked it! There were some faults, but none that hindered it so much I would write about. I enjoyed watching it, it's lewd, kinky and interesting. A well done look into the curroption religious factions tend to have, I liked the characters (Juan and Chizera were awesome, most of the time) as well as the plot, I'd recommend this to anybody over eighteen who doesn't wince at some indecent acts. Expand
  6. Apr 16, 2013
    7
    I just wanted to say that I love the series, but I do think that the history should be checked before the put it on TV. In Season 1 EpisodeI just wanted to say that I love the series, but I do think that the history should be checked before the put it on TV. In Season 1 Episode 8, a Cardinal speaking with the French King by the water, makes reference of three popes. One of those popes was Pope John the XXIII, who was actually born in 1881- died 1963. this is not good since the Borgias takes place in the late 1400's

    ckelly
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  7. Oct 29, 2013
    4
    Absolute, utter garbage. I came across this crap after searching for shows staring Derek Jacobi (Caligula, Cadfael). Yes, this greatAbsolute, utter garbage. I came across this crap after searching for shows staring Derek Jacobi (Caligula, Cadfael). Yes, this great historical actor has his name is in the credits but his character graciously dies in the second episode. Good for him, he must have decided the show was too crap to continue. So what's wrong about it?

    The acting is crap, the accent are aweful or non-existent, the history is exaggerated and butchered. The characters and historical setting are stereotypical to an almost comical level. Just look at the French king, he looks like the hunchback of Notre dam and acts like one too.

    Worse than the history being butchered is that fact that every five minutes there is raunchy act of butchery followed by some murder. Very accurate stuff for a show about the vatican

    If you read the other reviews you will notice one thing- they were written by el idiots or Americans. The show was made for an audience used to Jerry Springer. Of course they are going to like it.

    If you are looking for a show with Jacobi, don't go anywhere outside of BBC. This cable-made, American crap can stay put.
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See all 16 User Reviews

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