Monday, February 13, 2017

Warning: NSFW

A heavily fictionalized story based on historical persons, Da Vinci’s Demons explores the early life of Leonardo da Vinci during the Renaissance in Italy. He is an eccentric genius who has struggled to deal with his inner demons and unruly imagination, as he yearns for acceptance from his estranged father. Their sometimes antagonistic relationship results in Leonardo’s working for the House of Medici. While doing so, he becomes embroiled in a political scheme to control Florence, as he hunts for a spy who is revealing information to the Catholic Church and the Pazzi family. He also begins an affair with Lucrezia Donati, Lorenzo de’ Medici’s mistress. The series depicts many of Leonardo’s inventions and subsequent works as a military engineer for the Duke of Milan and the Borgias.

These events coincide with Leonardo’s quest to uncover the Book of Leaves. He is guided by a mystic to unlock the hidden areas of his mind by accessing the Fountain of Memory, as he becomes involved with a mysterious cult known as the Sons of Mithras. They inform him that he has the power not only to see the future but also to shape it.

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci. Portrait by Francesco Melzi.

Da Vinci’s Demons was conceived by David S. Goyer and stars Tom Riley in the title role. It was developed and produced in collaboration with BBC Worldwide and was shot in Wales, United Kingdom. The series has been distributed to over 120 countries. Other than Riley, Da Vinci’s Demons main characters include: Laura Haddock as Lucrezia Donati (Seasons 1-3), Blake Ritson as Count Girolamo Riario (Seasons 1-3), Elliot Cowan as Lorenzo de’ Medici (Seasons 1-3), Lara Pulver as Clarice Orsini (Seasons 1-3), James Faulkner as Pope Sixtus IV — Francesco & Alessandro della Rovere (recurring: Season 1; main: Seasons 2-3), and Gregg Chillin as Zoroaster da Peretola (recurring: Seasons 1-2; main: Season 3).

The series premiered in the United States on Starz on April 12, 2013, and its second season premiered on March 22, 2014. The series was renewed for a third season, which premiered on October 24, 2015. On July 23, 2015, Starz announced that the third season would be the show’s last. However Goyer has left it open for a miniseries return.

Season 1 has received favorable reviews from critics. It holds a 63% approval rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 30 collected critic reviews, with an average score of 6.2/10. The sites consensus reads: “Despite its preposterous plotting and lack of historical accuracy, Da Vinci’s Demons is energetic, enjoyable escapist television.” It also holds a Metacritic score of 62 out of 100, based on 27 critics reviews, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.

Season 2 has also been received well. It holds a 78% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 6 critics reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10. Furthermore, it holds a Metacritic score of 69 out of 100, based on 4 critic reviews, indicating “generally favorable reviews.”

Da Vinci’s Demons received three nominations for Outstanding Main Title Design, Outstanding Main Title Theme Music and Outstanding Special Visual Effects at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. The series won Main Title Design and Main Title Theme Music, but lost Visual Effects to the Cinemax series Banshee.

Lead actor Tom Riley won best actor for his role as Leonardo da Vinci at the 2014 Bafta Cymru awards, where the show was also nominated for best production design and best costume design.

In Australia, Da Vinci’s Demons was rated MA 15+, whereas in New Zealand, it was rated R18 for graphic violence, offensive language and sex scenes. Source.

Watch Da Vinci’s Demons S1, S2 & S3 online.

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