Premium Channels and Their “Old” Shows–The Borgias, Camelot, Game of Thrones

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a trend has clearly developed (at least among premium channels)–to make shows set before 1600AD. Starz, HBO, and Showtime have all made at least one show in the last year that fits the bill.

Starz has done: The Pillars of the EarthSpartacus: Blood and SandSpartacus: Gods of the Arena, and most recently, Camelot (they are also in production of a second season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand).

Showtime has done: The Tudors and, of course, The Borgias.

HBO will premiere Game of Thrones on April 17th.

The Borgias

The Borgias premiered last night on Showtime, and it was pretty close to what I’d been expecting–similar to  Showtime’s The Tudor(political historical drama). If you’re looking for a show filled with fight scenes and action, then you probably won’t be happy with The Borgias; but if you’re looking for a show  where you get bits of historical info mixed with some drama, this might be for you. While it is certainly slow, I never found myself bored—the variety of relationships and agendas kept things interesting.

In case you didn’t know, The Borgias tells the story of the House of Borgia, and the corruption, sex, and scandals that are its companions (yup, there’s nudity). The newly appointed Pope, Rodrigo Borgias, and his eldest son, Giovanni Borgias, work to ensure that he retain the position he paid so much for… The show actually inspired me to take a quick peek into what actually happened. Granted, I only went so far as Wikipedia, but that is something. The House of Borgia was an Italian noble family of Spanish decent that consisted of many influential people throughout time. Popes, Cardinals, Dukes and Duchesses, even a Prince and Princesses were members of the House of Borgia. As we all know, people tend to remember the bad over the good, and this is no exception. Though the Borgias were patrons and supporters of artists, even contributing to the Italian Renaissance, they are most known for the corruption of Rodrigo Borgias–obviously, the show is about him. Check out the trailer for the show below, and if you like what you see you can watch the two episode premiere here for free.

Camelot

Camelot officially premiered Friday. After watching the first episode some time ago, I was ready for the second episode to air. Once it did, I had mixed feelings about the experience. In my first post on Camelot you can see that I really enjoyed the first episode. It was fresh, visually entertaining, and the acting was where it should be. The second episode was certainly visually entertaining–the CGI is great–but not everyone seemed to pull their weight when it came to their performances. I actually don’t mean everyone. One person in particular seemed…weak. Jamie Campbell Bower, who plays King Arthur (the main character), did a bit of a shoddy job. Not all the time did it seem disingenuous, but there were certainly times when he seemed to be overacting, and times when he didn’t put enough into it. It won’t stop me from watching as I’m just as interested in the story itself as I am in how it’s told, but it’s definitely worth noting. The story seems sound–it draws you in, and brings you back to their time. Criticism withstanding, I encourage you to check it out if you are a fan of the round-table and all that goes with it.

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones has me at full attention. I found out about the show more than six months ago while perusing hbo.com to see if there were any promising new shows on the horizon. And what do I find? Exactly the kind of show I was looking for. If you didn’t know, Game of Thrones is based on the books of George R. R. Martin. Knowing that it came from a fantasy series raised it above the other shows in my position. It comes from a proven story that is known to sell. The author is also involved with the production of the show. I recently purchased “Game of Thrones” the book and plan to read it before the premiere of the show so that I have some more background. It can also be fun–or agonizing–to read a book and then see the movie or TV show based off of it. I could tell you what it is all about, or I could show you…

If you enjoyed the trailer, you will probably like this as well. George R.R. Martin and the cast talk about the show along with some clips.


Wrap-Up

With all of these great new shows coming out, it’s a great time to be lazy and plop down in front of the flat-screen. I can’t get enough of all of these historical genre shows, and America must like them too since more and more are being produced. This is a trend that I am completely on-board with.

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