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The Borgias: The Complete Third Season(TV) (2012)
The saga of a crime family in the Vatican in 1492 Italy
For more about The Borgias: The Complete Third Season and the The Borgias: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray release, see the The Borgias: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on August 3, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger, Joanne Whalley, Colm Feore
Director: Neil Jordan
» See full cast & crew
The Borgias: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review
"God or the devil? Whatever it is, it overwhelms..."
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, August 3, 2013
If power corrupts and corrupts absolutely, imagine the potential for corruption within a man considered infallible. The Borgias is House of Cards by way of 15th century Rome, and in creator Neil Jordan's final season, Pope Alexander and his insatiable children are forced to face the one enemy Alexander can't thwart, bribe or manipulate: the wages of sin. But while death is ever a certainty, the nature of the Pope and his family's fates are anything but certain, and the thrill of watching the third season is finding out what will become of the devilishly devious Borgias. Will Alexander, having survived an attempted assassination, gain the ultimate upper hand and secure his children's future? History offers no solace; the series has made regular, at-times dramatic departures from history, meaning anything can -- and does -- happen. Will Cesare ever accept the mantle his father so desperately wants him to embrace? Will his true feelings for Lucrezia ever be dragged into the light? Whose blood will flow? Whose power will be solidified? Whose soul will be redeemed? Whose soul will be damned? The Final Season is a wild, twisted descent into darkness, and series fans will hang on every episode, flaws and all.
In Season Three, Pope Alexander (Jeremy Irons) survives an attack on his life and comes back stronger than ever, reaching the pinnacle of power, influence and wealth. Cesare (François Arnaud) marries a French noblewoman, defends Rome and his family against the very determined Caterina Sforza (Gina McKee) and fights to prove himself to his father. Lucrezia's (Holliday Grainger) marriage to Alfonzo (Sebastian de Souza) falters as she and Cesare draw closer than ever, and she successfully dabbles in the black arts. And Micheletto (Sean Harris) finds love and faces the ultimate betrayal.
Unfortunately, all is not well in House Borgias as it nears its end. The third season wasn't meant to be the show's last, and Jordan's planned four-season arc has all but been decapitated. The final episode, "The Prince," functions reasonably well as a series finale, but much more so as a season finale; one that poses irresistible questions Jordan and company will never have the opportunity to answer. Thematically, it serves as a fitting end of sorts. Realistically, though, the knowledge that it wasn't meant to end so soon leaves one racked with burning curiosity. There's also something to be desired about the season in its 10-episode entirety, as it fails to charge ahead as confidently as Season Two. If another ten episodes awaited, the underlying disappointment might be minimized, or even eliminated altogether. If nothing else, the Borgias would be put in a position to seek forgiveness, pay penance or be greeted by the flames of hell. Instead, The Borgias joins a growing list of shows cut short in their modest-ratings prime. And while it all ends up feeling more complete and fully realized than other prematurely canceled series, it still lacks the sense of closure and finality it deserves.
The Final Season features the following episodes (minor spoilers ahead):
The Borgias: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Though it lacks the filmic disposition of a more notably cinematic historical drama, The Final Season impresses with a slightly flat but undeniably crisp, clean and precision-crafted 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation. Colors are often yellowed, browned or aged, contrast is unassuming but effective, and black levels range from muted to absorbing -- all as intended -- and the series' photography and the showrunners' stylistic choices have been paid tremendous respect. Detail is outstanding, with exacting edge definition, masterfully resolved fine textures and revealing delineation, and every inch of Jonathan McKinstry's production design, every stitch of Gabriella Pescucci's costumes, and every nuance of Judit Varga's set decoration is showcased beautifully. Better still, the encode is free from serious issues. Artifacting, banding, aliasing, ringing... you'll find none of it here. Only crush takes a toll on the image, and it's easy enough to overlook. Ultimately, The Borgias' final Blu-ray release is as satisfying and proficient as its predecessors.
The Borgias: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Borgias may revel in historical fiction, but its sets and locations are wholly convincing. The subtlety of the series' sound design is perfectly apparent in Paramount's Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track, which is as engaging and enveloping during the quietest conversations as it is during the bloodiest clashes and assassinations. Dialogue is clear, intelligible and realistically grounded in the mix at all times, and the rear speakers broaden the 15th century locales with an immersive soundfield that values natural ambience and believable acoustics. Directionality isn't aggressive per se, but it does have deadly aim. Likewise, the power of the LFE channel and the excellence of the track's dynamics aren't immediately obvious, but prove themselves time and time again, episode after episode, scene after scene. All told, The Borgias boasts an effortless lossless experience. Fans of the show will be most pleased.
The Borgias: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Once again, a Borgias season release offers very little in terms of supplemental content. The Final Season includes the first episode of the increasingly addicting Ray Donovan (HD, 57 minutes), starring Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight (and unfortunately presented here with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 audio), and "Borgias Bloopers" (HD, 7 minutes), a "thank God it's finally over" extra with more F-bombs than laughs.
The Borgias: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Borgias has been cut short by a full season, but its final episode works reasonably well as a series finale. Enough to eliminate the sting of the show's early execution? Not quite. But enough to make for a decent, at-times riveting end to a decent, at-times riveting drama. Paramount's AV presentation is better, with a striking video presentation and engaging Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track that prove far more reliable. I still wish Paramount would grant its Showtime series Blu-ray releases more special features (particularly a final season release like this one), but at this point, fans who've purchased previous seasons (or other Showtime Blu-rays) shouldn't be surprised. If you own Seasons One and Two, it's time to complete your collection.
The Borgias: Other Seasons
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The Borgias: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway - The Borgias: The Complete Third Season - August 3, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Paramount Home Entertainment are offering three members a chance to win a copy of The Borgias: The Complete Third Season. The Showtime original series stars Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI, head of the Borgia family and manipulator of Renaissance-era ...
• The Borgias: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray - May 14, 2013
Paramount Home Entertainment and CBS have announced the Blu-ray release of The Borgias: The Complete Third Season. The Showtime original series stars Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI, head of the Borgia family and manipulator of Renaissance-era Italy's political ...
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