Outrageous, audacious, seductive, sexy and byzantine, to say nothing of visually voluptuous. ... “The New Pope,” which opens with Lenny Belardo, aka Pius XIII, still on life support, is about the writing—writing that, for most of the series’ nine episodes, is pure mischief.
The payoffs of “The New Pope,” whether you enjoy them or not, are mostly in the visual flourishes and conceits, often set to pointedly secular pop songs. ... It has strong elements of workplace sitcom, but it even more closely resembles another venerable genre: the Mafia movie. Voiello and his ecclesiastical associates, bickering and maneuvering, are like the members of a crime family, making offers that maybe, with eternity in mind, you shouldn’t refuse.
Despite the three-and-a-half-year gap between The Young Pope and The New Pope, the nine-part sequel series feels remarkably contiguous with its predecessor. ... Occasionally, The New Pope flirts with transcendence.
As fun as it is to watch Malkovich inhabit him, he’s not as compelling as Pius, whose presence hovers over the season despite his being unconscious for a lot of it. ... The New Pope would be much more enjoyable if it were streamlined into the five or six episodes necessary to effectively tell the story that needs to be told. Instead, we get nine, at least three of which just tread water.
It's good but not great:
- Some truly beautifully shot scenes and 2 or 3 great episodes.
- Writing is suspensful, coherent and engrossing
- Jude Law is mesmerising
- John Malkovitch is good
- The first two episodes are idiotic.
- The acting of the European actors is very bad. The worst are the two French-speaking actresses (Cecile de France and Ludivine Seignier) (must have been required by Canal + to sell to the French market). Especially when playing in front of Malkovitch and Law.
- Some of the side story lines are entirely superfluous
- The badly accented English of some of the aforementioned actors is atrocious. Very grating. Almost ruin the show for me.
PS: I'm French
Loved The Young Pope and I really regret watching this one... You wouldn't see any conflict of Popes(you will have a looong wait until Lenny arrives), just kaleidoscope of perversions and useless story lines which would come and pass without meet their ends. The series looks aimless as whole and in parts.
Still, old characters give it some relief, especially Voiello.