Papal history, now with added boobs.

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Now that most TV is over for the summer, the world of Netflix beckons the casual TV viewer. Netflix is both a joyous playground and a time sink of the highest order. Whenever I turn on Netflix I am reminded of the scene in Moscow on the Hudson where Robin Williams’ character, fresh from cold war Soviet Union, enters a grocery store for
the first time. He is so blown away by the vast amount of choice on display that he actually cannot make a decision. I’ve seen my SO, the nominal curator of Netflix in our household, decide to watch something. Half an hour later he’s still flipping through choices, unable to settle on anything. I know this happens to others too.

Once in a while though, we do settle on something. We are currently watching season 3 of Borgia. This is not Showtime’s The Borgias, with Jeremy Irons (which I’m sure is very good, though I’ve not seen it yet). This is a European production with European sensibilities (i.e. boobs) and actors of all nationalities and accents. It’s a little jarring at first to hear an American Pope Rodrigo, a Russian Lucrezia and a British Cesare, but you quickly get used to it, since the whole thing is so, so good. The supporting actors are equally compelling.

As with most historical productions, liberties are taken. It seems to be based on the most sensationalist of Borgia historiography, but when you have Game of Thrones to compete with, you don’t dare leave out the incest. And it does seem like a Christian Game of Thrones, what with the casual violence, rampant sex, gorgeous costumes and olde worlde architecture. All the famous licentious rumours are paraded front and centre in full colour and without shame. The ambitious Cesare is delightfully over the top, and looking ironically Christ-like. I’m not sure I’d recommend this to everyone – it’s certainly not for the devout Catholic not familiar with church history, or the easily shocked. But for those that like their historical drama LARGE, this is definitely worth a binge-watch.

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