The real life renaissance-era Borgia family was so ripe for scandalous story lines they justified two separate competing TV dramas. There’s the Jeremy Irons version on Showtime and the sadly overshadowed version that made its U.S. premier on Netflix. But don’t let the fact it got snatched up by an online network keep you from watching this series out now on DVD (hell Netflix even managed to outbid all others for the highly anticipated “Arrested Development” season premiering next year).
The European-produced “Borgia Faith and Fear” focuses on Pope Rodrigo Borgia, his flock of illegitimate children and current and former mistresses. The series is the brainchild of Tom Fontana, writer/producer for “Oz,” “Homicide,” and the Borgia patriarch Rodrigo is played to the tilt by “The Wire’s” John Doman.
Because of the International cast, there are a variety of different accents coming from the various actors, even those who are supposedly playing siblings raised in the same house. As a result it ends up sounding like a Benetton commercial, but you get used to the hiccup a couple of episodes into the series. The writing is so over-the-top salacious that you forget about anything other than the plot pretty early on in the series.
Immoral? Probably. Entertaining? Hell yes!