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on June 19, 2012
I think people say this is better because there is more nudity and bloodshed. The acting is alright compared to that of "The Borgias" which has me glued to my seat. Both good depictions in their own way.
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on November 9, 2014
For me, it is impossible to try to compare Borgia and The Borgias. Both are excellent and aside from the subject matter, very different. I first watched The Borgias and absolutely loved it. I stumbled upon this presentation and thanks to some informative reviews, I had to leap - and so glad I did.

In some other reviews, much has been made about the "accent issue," most specifically John Doman's American accent. Because his accent is so different from that of the other actors, I did notice it initially, but after half an hour or so, it didn't matter at all. In fact, I thought John Dorman did an excellent job portraying Rodrigo Borgia and looked so much more like him as well.

As in The Borgias, great detail was taken in costuming and set detail. And, in some of the retelling of stories based in murky facts, some liberties were also taken. Borgia requires much more viewer participation, I think, because there are more characters to keep up with. One thing that struck me about Borgia is how the film-makers portrayed the people, cast and extras. There were men and women of all sizes and physical descriptions. There was tremendous realism in Borgia, all the way through.

After watching The Borgias, it took me a minute to "accept" the actors in Borgia, as I am so fond of the ones in the former. What allowed me to enjoy Borgia equally is that these two series are SO completely different. Each one stands by itself and should be appreciated that way. These characters are so interesting and both gave me a completely different understanding and appreciation for the Borgias and their times.

If you are intrigued by the Borgia family, I recommend BOTH versions of their story. Each paints a different view of the same story and makes a highly entertaining experience in the bargain.
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on July 8, 2012
I suspect that more heads may have rolled at Canal+ Studios after this debacle than in the series itself -- and there were plenty there!

The Borgia story is fascinating, and this version pretty much sticks to facts. The sets are sumptuous. The music is nice, too (lovely 'a capella' choral music in the main). But that is where it ends.

The cast is a giant hodge-podge of European and American actors and, as every other reviewer has stated, no attempt was made towards any uniformity of accent. This is not too much of a problem as everything is in English and there is just a general, generic European sound to their jabbering. The high-flutin', rather stilted renaissance dialogue, though, sounds even more stilted with accents in the wrong place.

All this could be forgiven, but there is one huge, unforgivable, glaring exception that spoils what might have been a decent affair: American John Doman in the leading, pivotal role of Rodgrigo Borgia. He may have been acceptable in his role as a NY cop (The Wire), but he is out of his depth here in every conceivable way. His acting is monochromatic and deplorable. His desey-dosey Bronx accent is shockingly out of place and distracting, and destroys whatever atmosphere the sets create. Unlike other reviewers, I could never get past this giant flaw because he continually tops himself in lingual absurdity.

The cast is certainly attractive, but one can never believe beautiful Cesare's supposed 'conflict' between the physical and the spiritual in his life, or just about any of his decisions. Lucrezia is completely implausible as well. Like other cast members, she looks the part (if available descriptions and paintings are accurate), but is just too 'innocent' for words -- certainly there is nothing in the histories to indicate this, and is, therefore, simply a 'dramatic conceit' on the part of the producers and writers. Juan Borgia is, quite simply, a boor, a complete sociopath, and a monstrous sadist.

The producers' misguided choice of Doman as Rodrigo may have been made to match Showtime's "original crime family" theme. In one sense, at least, they may have succeeded: he sounds like an American gangster of the 50's. It's just that nobody else does! This is, however, as unscrupulous, immoral, power-hungry, and thoroughly hypocritical family as was ever presented on screen. Think John Gatti worshipping at St. Patrick's and hob-nobbing with Cardinal Spellman, after chopping off a few fingers and fitting several of his victims for cement galoshes.

A colossal waste of time and resources. Doubly so because, with the same effort put into character development (through sensible script and casting) as they put into mere physical resemblance, this series might have been quite wonderful.
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on May 1, 2012
Having just finished the first seasons of both "The Borgias" (Showtime) and "Borgia: Faith and Fear" (Canal+, European), I have to say I enjoyed both equally well. The Showtime series is much more condensed (5 episodes) and might be best for the casual viewer. Plus, Jeremy Irons is outstanding as Pope Alexander VI, and puts a lot of character into the part. The Canal+ version is 12 episodes for the first season and fills in a lot of the blanks with subplots and development of key characters, such as Cesare, Juan and Lucretzia Borgia. There's much more family squabbling and back-stabbing (literally) in the European version. John Dolan comes across a bit dry as an actor, but later he really blossoms as a truly caniving pope and a survivor even when French troops are pointing their swords right in his face.
Both series cover the same period of time and were filmed almost simultaneously. Both are quite violent and bloody and delve into the ruthless politics of Italy's warring families. I did not feel the two series were anti-Catholic in any way. Rodrigo Borgia was a product of his environment and his ruthlessness and survival skills simply rose above his opponents, even in the most dire of circumstances.
I felt Showtime's version was more visually stunning and I liked that they "visited" Italy's other kingdoms - Florence, Milan and Naples. Machiavelli himself is introduced as a character, meeting Cesare Borgia for the first time, a person who he would later write about in "The Prince." The scene showing the king of Naples' dinner table is shocking, to say the least. You get a real lesson in Italian history from these shows.
The European version spends more time on the Borgias themselves, each a sociopath in their own right. Casare, the most historically interesting offspring, is a much more conflicted character and his own tit-for-tat battle with a Collona enemy leaves the viewer gasping with horror. Juan is a violent thug and a failed military leader. Lucretzia grows into her role as a sexually charged temptress. The pope is forced to periodically serve as family referee. After one episode of family strife, Alexander VI remarks "The only problem with being a Borgia is that your children are Borgias, too."
Viewers of "The Tudors" and "The Sopranos" will enjoy the Borgias.
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on April 15, 2012
Yea to the guy who said no not history but enjoyable nonetheless. As an antidote I had checked out a couple of books on the Borgia and of course found lots of poetic license had been taken with what I think are very simple facts in Borgia F&F (like birth order). I was relieved to hear from his review that he had not found any evidence of Cesar killing or attempting to kill his first born. He was bad enough without that. I haven't seen the Showtime version but if it ever comes out on Netflix online I will definitely watch it. I mean what is not to like ... nudity, simony, eye candy (see nudity), beautiful clothes, etc. The brutality (I close me eyes) is certainly graphic and may be historical. From what I have read about other times and families it would not be a stretch. It was such a relief to have someone write a review that did NOT praise the education value of this series. Don't watch TV or movies for history (unless History Channel or PBS and then double check); watch video for entertainment which is what this is. I am watching the first season on Netflix for a second time and can't wait for Season 2. I would seriously consider buying at some future date when I am not so broke.:))
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on May 14, 2013
After watching the first season of Showtime's "The Borgia's" I was left wanting more of this family, seeking out end after end until I stumbled upon this show while browsing Netflix one eve. I was curious so I gave it a click and lo-and-behold.. I absolutely loved it from the get-go. For the first two or three episodes, however, I was cringing at John Doman's very, very American accent.. But after watching over half the series, I came not to mind it whatsoever. (Although I still believe Jeremy Irons to be the more superior Rodrigo). I liked how early this series began so that it was actually there was actually mounting climax in the Alexander's succession to the Papal Throne. "The Borgia's" left me a little bereft. Other than that..? The acting was spectacular. Lucrezia was so much better in this one, as was Giulia! I wished I could have seen more of my favorite henchman di Corella, but.. Other than that.. This show quenches my thirst, and after watching the second season with mesmerized countenance on Netflix.. I find myself almost hysterically craving. Bravo, Borgia. Bravo.
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on January 17, 2012
I could write a 10 page review praising this version of the life of Rodrigo Borgia and his family. However I actually have a life thus I will not. I first saw HBO's "The Borgias"; and really enjoyed it. However when I saw "Borgia" I was truly speechless. This version is done by CANAL+ a European Channel strong in Spain and France. Well.,., all I can say is.,.,.,., if you are interested in this genre of cinema BORGIA IS A MUST SEE. Two thumps way up!!!!!!
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on April 1, 2012
My Wife is currently enjoying the series. I can watch it but being 50 percent deaf I can't understand it. There are no subtitles!!! With the problem with not being able to choose episodes 4 & 5 on disc one, and episodes 9 & 10 on disc two; you can select these episodes. On the menu, select Episode Selection. When the 1st three episodes appear, go down to main menu and you will see an arrow pointing right. Move the cursor under the right arrow (not under Main Menu) and press Enter. Ta Da!! There are the other two episodes.
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on August 23, 2012
Leaving aside historical accuracy - after all this is not a documentary, any more than is Star Wars - this is an involving yarn and well acted and directed. Much better than the awful alternative Showtime production, which is as bad as Camelot. It is only my personal opinion, of course.
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on December 20, 2011
Having now watched the first seasons of both the "Showtime version *the Borgias*". And this rendition " Borgia" both more than once... I can honestly say that there is no comparison. Borgia ( this version) is quite simply better in every aspect. Dont take my word for it, check it out on Netflix, you won't be disappointed.
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