Totally gonna geek out here, but this is the kind of stuff that inspires me. If you don’t give a shit about my winding mental processes or shows like The Borgias and Borgia, then I’m sorry. Feel free to skip to the end for my summation/epiphany, lol:
I just finished The Borgias (Showtime version) about a week ago and I liked it, but it ended in a way that made me interested to learn more.
So then I noticed Borgia (European series) on Netflix. I started it and at first I was like, “No.” Purely for aesthetic reasons mind, because I was looking for a similar feel to The Borgias. I got caught up in seeing those characters a certain way for three seasons and Borgia is another animal for several reasons.
It has a smaller budget (actually because the Showtime version screwed them over, but I digress) and various accents due to its international cast. Its gotten some shit for having an American Pope Alexander, even though he’s more suited to the role than Jeremy Irons. It’s not as visually sleek. BUT, something told me not to write it off. Maybe it’s the theatre geek in me, the person who revels in interpretation, who knows that a character played by different actors can be an inspiring thing to see in large part because of the differences.
I did my research and found out that what I suspected was true. The Borgias on Showtime was a glossy version that was missing a sense of historicity. It is thoroughly Americanized (not an insult mind, just true), with an emphasis on rooting for a particular side and romance. Which means much of what made the Borgia family interesting enough for modern audiences is lost for the sake of plot.
Borgia on the other hand, makes you feel like you’re IN Renaissance Italy. Some of it is sexy, some of it is downright disgusting. The sensibilities are different, the characters are neither evil or good. There is romance, but it’s not central to the plot. It’s just a motivating factor like the desire for power, anger, lust, fear. And here’s the kicker: that to me makes it better, and I’m not even finished yet.
All this to say that, had I taken the second series at face value, I would have missed out on a helluva experience. I’m almost done with season two and all I can think is, it taught me a valuable lesson about the experience of creating and ingesting art. It’s subjective. It’s all relevant. Someone can literally use all the same ingredients and make two different cakes that are delicious for different reasons.
Maybe it would be nice if the series I prefer had gotten the acclaim and budget of the one I saw first. But at the end of the day, as long as you make something you love, someone out there will see it. They might even PREFER your interpretation. And that’s a beautiful thing.