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Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Borgias 1x01 - Pilot

Wow, who knew religion could be so dirty?  They're marketing this show as "The Original Crime Family" -- somehow I severely doubt that... but these guys sure do want a run at the title.

Let's get Religulous!

What we have here is a 58 page script written (and directed) by Neil Jordan and dated 08/26/09 (download here).  Again, no Acts, Teasers, Tags, etc.

So, I'll preface this whole thing by saying that I'm not much of a religious person these days, and, being that I've never been Catholic, I don't really 'get' the Pope.  I mean, I get that he's supposed to be 'God's Voice On Earth' sort of thing... but I never really bought into that.

Long story short, I didn't really find this show to be all that scandalous.  I mean, if you don't really care how powerful the Pope's station is then it's not all that shocking to see that the position can be bought and paid for.

That said, my Roman Catholic aunts and uncles on my Dad's side would probably lose their collective shit over a show like this.

The reality of this Pilot is that, well, not a lot happens.

Well, a lot happens in that the would-be Pope buys enough votes to ascend to the Papacy... but other than that and an attempted poisoning from an embittered rival... that's pretty much your 60 minutes.  Sure, there's lots of ruminating about what the 'right' thing is -- whether it's 'God's will' or not that he would even be allowed to cheat his way into getting the Papacy in the first place and a bit of strutting/infighting amongst his children.

But this Original Crime Family sure did have some humble beginnings.

Granted, a quick glance at the history books tells me that things are going to get much more crazy... and probably quite fast.

There's lots to like about this script -- it moves quite fast and still ensures that you understand all you need to know about these characters.  Also the dialogue is wonderfully artful in its jabs and ripostes.  Sometimes it borders on flowery... but hey, we're translating Italian to English here... it's not called a Romantic language for nothing...

On a technical level, the stage direction here is elegantly Spartan (ha! See what I did there? *sigh* moving on...) with most of it being kept to one or two lines at a time whenever possible.  It tells you exactly what you need to know without getting too detailed.  It also helps to keep the script moving briskly and I think that, for newbie writers, it really is something worth taking a look at.

There are a number of things I could say about this show, about how the current strife of the Catholic Church probably helped to bring it about or about the truly sordid Pa(y)pal history that I was able to pull up with a simple Google Search.

** Odd note: A Google search for the word Papal actually returns the first hit as PayPal.com... odd, coincidence or creepy?  I leave that to you. **

All-in-all, it's a good, fast-paced script that'll probably hold far more scandalous/shocking themes/reveals for those of a religious bent.

For those of us who understand that all Humans have the potential to be dirty, lying, evil, scheming lil' bastards... it won't send any tingles up your spine.

Tomorrow I'll be checking out Shit My Dad Says 1x01 - Pilot.  I actually saw this when it aired, attracted by the news that a Twitter feed had earned its own show (and thus was surely a sign of the impending Ragnarok).  I didn't much care for the Pilot, but I'm interested to see what the script looked like.

More to come!

Cheers,
Brandon

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