The Borgias on Showtime

2011, TV Show

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From Masters of Sex to Boardwalk Empire: How Accurate Are Fact-Based Dramas?

Halfway through the pilot episode of the Showtime series Masters of Sex, which is based on the story of real-life sex researchers Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson, Masters leaves his wife, Libby, in the care of another doctor as she undergoes infertility treatments so he can slip into a neighboring examination room and watch a prostitute masturbate... It's an amazingly rich six minutes of television that manages not only to set up most of the first season's major plotlines and underlying emotional tensions, but also to explain the story's historical import. In a strictly factual sense, it's also mostly made up.

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Season 3, Episode 10
Alexander and Cesare are reconciled at last, and the Pope reveals that the Papal Armies have been strengthened and re-equipped with the money saved from the Crusade and the proceeds of the Jubilee. Now, the Borgias are ready to move against their enemies the Sforzas and are ready to take their first step towards their ultimate goal: to carve out a hereditary kingdom across the heart of Italy. Cesare marches his fearsome army to lay siege to Catherina Sforza's castle at Forli. Catherina is determined to resist despite the artillery bombardment and the danger of starvation in the bitter winter. Micheletto (Sean Harris) reappears from the shadows - his broken heart will not yet let him return to Cesare's service, but he does advise Cesare of weak spots in Forli's defences. Back in Rome, Cesare finds that Alfonso (Sebastian De Souza) has become even more aggressive and Cesare plans to murder him. But circumstances become deadly when a scuffle breas out between Cesare and a drunk Alfonso. The doctor reports that Alfonso will certainly die, slowly and painfully over several days. Devastated, Lucrezia turns to her potions to end his life painlessly with Cesare vowing that now she will be his for good.

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Season 3, Episode 9
Devastated by his betrayal by Pascal, Micheletto kills his lover and subsequently disappears. Devastated by the loss of his loyal lieutenant, Cesare races to Naples to rescue Lucrezia, but she has already escaped her captors - with the aid of a sleeping potion. Brother and sister are reunited on the road back to Rome, and are so overjoyed to see one another that Alfonso (Sebastian De Souza) begins to suspect that their relationship seems more than that of ordinary siblings. Back in Rome, Alfonso becomes sullen and almost abusive, drinking heavily. Alexander, meanwhile, has come up with another plan with his friend Mattai (Brendan Cowell): they scheme to corner the market in Italian sulphur, thus denying anyone else the ability to manufacture gunpowder. Still, Alexander does not trust Cesare, who quickly uncovers his father's plot, but it is Mattai who persuades father and son to reconcile.

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Season 3, Episode 8
Pilgrims are flooding to Rome for the Jubilee year celebrations, and the Spear of Longinus is the centerpiece of the show. However Catherina Sforza has a plan to frustrate Alexander's lucrative festival. Across the sea in Kefalonia, the Turkish fleet is destroyed by Mattai's (Brendan Cowell) Jewish contacts - Alexander shows his gratitude with a Bull exempting the community from taxes. Meanwhile, Lucrezia senses a change in newly crowned Frederigo, and realizes that she is under constant watch from the royal guard. The Borgias have walked into a trap: Lucrezia learns that Frederigo faked his near death to get Raphael out of the way, while at the same time in Rome, Cesare and Micheletto discover that the latter's lover Pascal is a spy working for Rufio (Thure Lindhart), reporting to a conspiracy of Catherina Sforza and King Frederigo of Naples. Lucrezia is not an honored princess in Naples, she is a hostage against any military moves against the Sforza family.

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Season 3, Episode 7
Cesare burns Constanzo's palace - and the Cardinal with it - in order to contain the plague, while Micheletto is love struck with the beautiful young Pascal. Lucrezia, aware that the political wind has changed towards France and away from Naples, seeks a Neapolitan power base for herself and her family. There are two candidates to replace Ferdinand as King: arrogant and hostile Prince Raphael and kind and friendly Prince Frederigo. When Frederigo is apparently poisoned and almost dies, Lucrezia finds evidence of Raphael's guilt and blackmails Raphael into giving up his claim. Her ally, Frederigo, is crowned King. But has she made the right choice?

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News

From Masters of Sex to Boardwalk Empire: How Accurate Are Fact-Based Dramas?

Halfway through the pilot episode of the Showtime series Masters of Sex, which is based on the story of real-life sex researchers Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson, Masters leaves his wife, Libby, in the care of another doctor as she undergoes infertility treatments so he can slip into a neighboring examination room and watch a prostitute masturbate... It's an amazingly rich six minutes of television that manages not only to set up most of the first season's major plotlines and underlying emotional tensions, but also to explain the story's historical import. In a strictly factual sense, it's also mostly made up.

read more

Find Out How The Borgias Ends in New E-Book From the Series Creator

The Borgias may not be coming back for a fourth season, but that doesn't mean fans can't find out how the Showtime series was supposed to end.

The Borgia Apocalypse: The Screenplay was released Tuesday as a new e-book available on... read more

Showtime Boss: "Of Course" a Dexter Spin-Off Is Possible

Not ready to say goodbye to Dexter? Then get ready to overreact to this news.

After revealing that Showtime had signed a "rare" two-year overall deal with Dexter showrunner Scott Buck, network president David Nevins was asked whether a spin-off series was still being considered.

Get all the latest TCA news

"Of course," Nevins told reporters at the Television Critics Association fall previews Tuesday. "We announced a deal with Scott Buck today. Draw your own conclusions."

Pressed for details after the panel, Nevins clarified that nothing is actively in the works and that no deals with cast members have been extended. (The Hollywood Reporter previously reported rumblings of a spin-off centered on Jennifer Carpenter's Debra.) "We have a deal with Scott and we're going to develop a bunch of different things with him," he said. "All options will be explored. We're really not dealing with it at all until we're through this season and maybe for a while thereafter. It's all about the satisfying ending to the show."

To that end... read more

Showtime Cancels The Borgias After Three Seasons

Showtime is ending The Borgias earlier than anticipated.

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Ask Matt: Orphan Black, Merlin, Borgias, Nashville vs. Smash

Send questions and comments to askmatt@tvguidemagazine.com and follow me on Twitter!

Question: After finishing Saturday's season finale of Orphan Black, many thoughts come to mind, but the most obvious is that if Tatiana Maslany doesn't walk away with the Emmy for best actress — or is it five nominations in the best supporting actress category? — then the people who vote just aren't watching TV. Every character she plays has such varied distinction from hair, voice, even walks, and other minor mannerisms and played them all with a determination like it was her only character. It might have been easy to phone one or two in and at times you could forget it all one person. Matt, I know you enjoy the show, but I was curious: Did you ever at any time find yourself picking a favorite? I think mine came to be Alison, because while they all have a dark side, the one who seemed to be the most sunshine and light was probably the darkest of all with a heavy dose of comedy thrown in. Can the show sustain excellence in Season 2? — Jeffrey

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Premiered: April 03, 2011, on Showtime
Rating: TV-MA
User Rating: (117 ratings)
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Premise: Historical drama about the infamous Renaissance-era Italian family, one of whom became head of the Catholic Church as Pope Alexander VI. His son Cesare was the subject of Machiavelli's classic "The Prince."

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