The bastards at King’s Landing and the Vatican

Photo credit: Bravo! & Showtime

The last TV series I watched were Fringe, The Newsroom, Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey. Fringe ended after the fifth season (and a terrible fifth season it was). The second season of The Newsroom premiered in the US two days ago but we won’t get to see it in Asia for a while. I don’t know when the fourth season of Boardwalk and Downton will air.

After Fringe ended and the other three went “on break”, so did I from watching television. That is, until I discovered Game of Thrones and The Borgias. Initially, it was only I who was interested in watching Game of Thrones but Sam had gotten more obsessed about it than I. We discuss it, we read up on the characters and even trivia, and we’re eagerly waiting for season four. We talk dragons and direwolves and three-eyes ravens, and we get strange looks from Speedy and Alex.

The Borgias? I love it. No one else in my family seems to. Speedy says it’s slow, he falls asleep half the time but I stay glued. He always seems to be awake though when Holliday Grainger (who plays Lucrezia Borgia) appears and he even commented one time that one only has to put wings on her to behold an angel. Yep, really angelic face.

Showtime’s The Borgias took place in Machiavelli’s Italy at the height of the Renaissance. It was the politics of the time that inspired him to write The Prince. Sure, The Borgias is “historical-fiction” — but all the major characters in the story are not fictional at all. Rodrigo Borgia who became Pope Alexander VI is one of the most infamous Catholic popes. Not only did he openly acknowledge his bastards, he showered them with titles, political power and wealth too. His daughter, Lucrezia, ranks among the top femme fatales in history. And there was his son Cesare, a bishop at 15 and a cardinal at 18, the first person in Catholic history to resign the cardinalate and (probably) the first man in history to be nicknamed “Valentino” for his amorous liaisons.

What can be more riveting? Too bad that after season three, there’s nothing more to see. It would be nicer if the originally planned four-season arc had pushed through as that should have ended with a good closure. I read that there’s an ongoing petition by fans to have Showtime bring back the show.

What’s the common denominator in my choice of TV shows? It can’t be grand visuals because Fringe and The Newsroom have no outstandingly memorable visuals to speak of. Political intrigue? Fringe and Downton Abbey have none of that although all the rest do. Still not a common denominator. Sex and violence? Only three of the six series I mentioned have graphic sex and violence.

Perhaps, it is what all six DO NOT have that is the common denominator. None have a reality show format. None have the American Idol competition-style format too. And that says a lot about what I avoid like the plague when watching TV.

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There's more to movies and TV shows than the story and the characters. Sometimes, the jewelry and costumes are the real stars.

Except for quotes, stock photos and screen grabs, all text & images © Connie Veneracion. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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