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Showing 1-10 of 21 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on March 12, 2012
I had watched the showtime version of "Borgia" and then again on Netflix. In both versions there are 12 one hour shows. When I watched the "Disk Set from Amazon" (Borgia) I received 3 disks. The math suggets that there would be 4 episode per disk. This not the case. Disk one had episodes 1,2,3: Disk two, had episodes 6,7,8 Disk three has episodes 10 and 11 but not episode 12. I even played the disks in the hopes that even though the first disks had 3 episodes that there may have been a 4th unlabled episode. No such luck. I sent this set back, got another set with the same results. Case for both copies clearly says on the back that there are 12 episodes. PLease note the same episodes were missing both times
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on December 29, 2014
I admit that before watching this I saw the Showtime version so I may be a little biased. But I love Italian history and was curious to see how a different director would interpret the same historical events.

I am totally ok with how these actors look and I don’t care whether they look like the historical portraits or not, so for me it is not really a matter of “who is the best Pope – Jeremy Irons or John Doman?”, but it was more like “What on Earth is this?!”.

The pilot starts with a map of Italy and a monotonous voice describing the political situation of the moment. A bit too obvious, but ok, why not. But what follows seems like a chain of poorly connected short scenes, mostly of unexplained violence and passionless but very graphic sex. The whole thing mostly resembles a rehearsal of a school play where instead of proper dialogues actors loudly and flatly read paragraphs from a history books . Many people here criticize the accents, but the main problem is not really the accents – it is the weird way the lines are delivered – no emotions, no drama, no feeling behind them, no connection to the actions. Are they even real actors? For example, the actress who plays Vanozza seems to uncontrollably laugh all the time when she speaks.

Characters’ motivations are almost absent for some reason – no built-up, no development, nothing to explain why they do what they do. Why does Cesare cut off that guy’s fingers? Why Lucrezia is always yelling at Giulia? Looks like the authors just wanted to put as many things as possible in each scene, not bothering with any development or revealing dialogues.

People’s feelings are not shown through cinematographic means, but are bluntly stated by the actors, almost turning to the camera and flatly pronouncing something like, literally: “I am suffering, because I want what my brother has”. Seriously?! Compare how the same jealousy was expressed in the Showtime version – very subtle, slowly building up, a glance, a teasing word… Hey, you have a whole arsenal of cinematographic means to show and express things, so why with all that budget and beautiful costumes do you make an amateurish school play with boring lines, bad lightning, no varying or interesting camera angles, no drama and unnatural and wooden actors?

Also, the gore factor. I am not a hypocrite, I love European cinema and I am against over-glossing and excessive glamourizing, but this was too much even for me. Of course those were cruel and dirty times, but why do sex/blood/feces take up about 80 percent of screen time? Why not balance them a little with something beautiful and nice to look at? Also, why make the sex scenes so un-erotic and unattractive? Seems like the authors just wanted to put naked bodies (especially breasts) in every scene, even where no sex was involved: breastfeeding a dying Pope - ???!, Cesare threatening the witch with no sexual subtext whatsoever suddenly touching her nipples – why??? And where there was no possibility to put naked breasts, it had to be compensated with an unexpected brutal fight and lots of blood.

As the authors overdid with sex and grisliness, they also overdid with the evilness of characters. There is literally no-one you can root for in this show, everyone seems pretty much one-sided, downright selfish jerks, ready to sell or kill anyone at the first possibility. Of course they were no angels, but the audience needs to prove some positive emotions too while watching, not only disgust… Also, as I already said, the feelings expressed by the actors seem so unfounded and not believable that it makes it even harder to feel any sympathy for them.

I really wanted to like this show because the historical material is so rich and interesting, but after watching 2 episodes of this and struggling (in vain) to find anything remotely attractive or captivating, I gave up, sorry… Maybe they just wanted to put too many events and shocking details in the first two episodes to attract certain type of viewers, and after that it gets more reasonable, coherent and gripping, and dialogues and acting start to make sense?
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on January 9, 2014
This is perhaps the worst acting I have ever seen, in what must be, a major financial film production. High school dramatics teachers could teach these guys a thing or two. To even speak of the two recent releases of The Borgias together is blaspheme. There is no similarity on any level. Who ever told John Doman he should leave advertising at 46 and pursue acting? He is painful to watch and worse to listen to. It makes one wonder if he even understands what the lines he is delivering actually mean. He brings a new meaning to the word "wooden". His fellow cast is not much better. The international cast all speak English in their native tongues---accents that are in some cases, almost impossible to understand. The story is as dramatic as The Real Housewives franchise and about as believable. Useless and horrific violence and forced nudity for the simple, shock value. Really, you don't want to see most of these actors nude! Had I not actually purchased the DVD, mostly based on other Amazon reviews, I would have stopped watching it after the first episode, but as I suffer through it, it is much like a train wreck--- I simply can't believe my eyes and ears.
The worst insult is that the other production, (brilliant) starring Jeremy Irons, was cancelled after Season 2 and this abomination goes on.
Just saying-----
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on October 28, 2014
horrific, slow, bad acting, annoying characters with no redeeming or likeable qualities...I understand they wanted to separate themselves from the other Borgia show- but making it so crappy its unwatchable was not smart planning. The history lover in me was excited and I really gave it a shot- but wow...this was bad.
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on December 29, 2013
Very disappointing. I was most distracted by the variety of accents, the actor playing Borgia had a grating American accent which seemed both anachronistic and implausible. The sets were supposed to be realistic, but looked shabby for a pope in the 15th century. The story line played havoc with history, but since Pope Julius hated the Borgias and stated that rumors about them were reality, going so far as to destroy papl records, history is hard to find.
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on July 8, 2013
John Doman might be riding on the laurels of "Major Rawls", the character he portrayed successfully in "'The Wire' (a full-bodied series with full-bodied characters).
However, his 'lack o' luster" performance as the male lead in this series, 'The Borgia's', is downright insulting..
...and his "crack o' plenty" act in an opening scene was jarring...
so, here's a question for the stellar cast of writers, editors, designers etc..on this production
...what were you thinking?
with all fairness(begrudgingly) to Doman his performance was often no more unpleasant than the film itself..
...now take a look at your sets, costumes and landscapes. Boring.
...and the vast array of dialects used, were all of those really in the script?
...what about the ginormous amount of worthless detail thrown in so abundantly...it makes watching the film feel like watching a series of bad out takes!

...maybe being in beautiful Italy was too much of a distraction, maybe some production costs were spent on........
.....wine?

a good deal of new talent, actors and supporting staff, got lost in this "big picture"....
if there is a second season, l hope it's done in a way we can appreciate their craft!
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on March 17, 2014
If your the kind of person that needs a director to go to great lengths to show you why you should respect the characters, love them, hate them, etc etc, then you'll hate this show. If your imagination is vivid and you can easily fall in line with whatever you are watching without questioning the plot, then you'll love this show.

Poor Acting:
Perhaps the worst acting I have ever seen on a large scale series. There are plenty of moments where it feels like your watching the bloopers but your not. Not to mention, so many situations are forced. Forced tears, forced sadness, forced joy, the actors do a terrible job at switching from one emotion to the next.

Poor Acting:
There are numerous Americans on the show who are speaking with absolutely NO attempted European accents of any kind, that includes the main character. Everyone around him is using an italian, British, spanish, or danish, accent yet himself and one other Cardinal speak like their straight from Boston. I got over that after a while, but if your a history nut it would be hard to.

Violence and Gore:
Far more violent and graphic than it needs to be. There are shows that have been more violent but they allow the plot to justify it much better than this one.

The other version with Jeremy Irons is on a completely different plane. You cannot compare the two. I loved that show. This one was quite possibly the worst series I have every watched of all time. Its only saving grace was that the character Giulia Farnese might have the best buttocks every filmed on camera. After you get the opportunity to see it, stop watching this show.
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on March 12, 2012
I also purchased this series and found 4 of the 12 episodes missing completely from the discs. They were episodes 4,5,9,10. Pretty hard to follow the story line when 1/3 of the series is missing. I returned the set for a refund and have no plans to re-order it as I fear a repeat performance of the missing discs. I'm happy to see that Amazon has discontinued selling it at this time.
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on January 1, 2013
I like Showtime Borgia's better. I saw two versions of it liked this once least.
Sorry I couldn't believe Borgia and Borgia's had to even bee made.
Augustus Prew is fine discovery in Borgia's.
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on January 14, 2013
episodes 4 5 6 are msiing from thisproduct this is unacceptable what is going on???? I am very unhappy this is not right
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