The tagline for Showtime's The Borgias, about the very powerful, very corrupt clan that dominated Renaissance-era Rome, is "The Original Crime Family" — just the sort of super-competitive, bald-faced attempt to steal some of HBO's mob thunder (what, you have Tony and Atlantic City and ancient Rome? We have their ancestors. Well, not the very last one's ancestors ... ) that we like to see from a network that could just as easily have positioned The Borgias as a follow-up to their own The Tudors (which it also is). The tagline is basically a promise, not of quality, but of decadence: There will be as much violence, nudity, scandal, extravagant sets, and backroom scheming as can be crammed into a period show that takes place before the regular deployment of gun violence. Even better, there will be blasphemy. Jeremy Irons plays the pater familias, Rodrigo Borgia, a powerful, ruthless, ethically moribund priest with multiple children and mistresses who became Pope Alexander VI in 1492, when the show takes place. Two of his children in particular, Cesare and Lucrezia, went on to become cutthroat legends in their own right. (And though dogged by incest rumors, in the trailer we think Cesare's not making out with his sister, but a love interest who just has the exact same shade of blonde hair.) It's these three Borgias — led by Irons, who does chilly, sensual over-the-topness better than just about anyone — who will dominate the sordid goings-on. Whether the result will make for good television (it's being executive produced by Neil Jordan), or lusty, fetid, campy good television, we'll have to wait and see.
Trending Video on Vulture
Most Watched on Vulture
Most Viewed Stories
Will & Grace, and Jack & Karen, Are Back With a New Scene About the 2016 Election
Every Current Suspect for ‘A’ on Pretty Little Liars, Ranked by Plausibility
Glenn Frey Bronze Statue Is Taking It Easy, Standing on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona
The Big Bang Theory Recap: Miniature Concerns
Leslie Jones Live-Tweeted the Presidential Debate: ‘It’s Like a Nightmare!!’
Let Seth Meyers Give You the Play-by-Play of the First 2016 Presidential Debate
Vulture Asks: Which TV Couple Do You Anti-Ship?
The Fight Over Prince’s Estate Continues to Be a Purple-Tinged Nightmare
Porn! Murder! James Franco! Watch the Exclusive King Cobra Trailer
Is This the Best Fall TV Season in Recent Memory?
Latest News from VultureSeth Meyers Breaks Down How Trump Supporters Think He Performed in the Debate
"All Trump had to do was be a normal person and he would have been declared the winner, and yet he still managed to lose."James Corden, Owen Wilson and the Late Late Show Staff Must Love Losing, Challenge Usain Bolt To a 100 Meter Race
Guess who really is the fastest man on earth.Stephen Colbert, America Ferrera, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, George Takei and Other Celebs Make Dramatic Promises About Voting
"Voting is better than losing your virginity on Christmas morning."CBS Announces Date for 2017 Tony Awards
Start emotionally preparing yourself now.Sia Uses Her Song 'The Greatest' To Describe Hillary Clinton in New Video
Sia knows a thing or two about stamina.Halt and Catch Fire Recap: Crossing the Line
"The Threshold" is a truly magnificent episode.Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Who Ya Gonna Call?
The new S.H.I.E.L.D. director is no Phil Coulson.This Is Us Recap: Let's Twist Again
Okay, This Is Us. I see what you're doing now.In a Tale as Old as Time, Timeless Creators and NBC Are Sued For 'Ripping-Off' the Show's Format
Bet they wish they had a time machine to fix this situation.Atlanta Recap: Black Bieber
"Play your part. You're a rapper. That's your job."
Sources describe the film as “The Devil Wears Prada” meets “Broadcast News.”Andrew W.K. Can't Contain His Enthusiasm for Partying to One Music Genre, Ventures Into EDM With New Song
"Always and forever party till we die."New Girl Recap: Booze Girl Wants Your Vote
Jess is fired up about Hillary Clinton.NBC Orders Full Season of This Is Us
After only one episode.Brooklyn Nine-Nine Recap: The Worst Kind of Duck
The NYPD: "We caught the Son of Sam, Ice-T plays us on TV, we keep the Tonys safe!"Solange Knowles Announces Release Date For New Album A Seat at the Table
The tracks feature Lil Wayne, The Dream, Q-Tip, Kelly Rowland, and more.You Can Get Some Satisfaction Watching the Trailer for the Rolling Stones’ Havana Moon
Forget shelter, gimme this trailer.We Asked Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, and Mamrie Hart About the Secret to Writing Accurate Female Roles for Dirty 30
The YouTube stars told us about their relatable characters in the new film Dirty 30.Danny Brown’s New Album Atrocity Exhibition Is Streaming Three Days Early
Really doe.8 Best New Songs of the Week
All the bands you loved ten years ago are back! And so is Scarlett Johansson.