The Borgias is a Canadian/Hungarian/Irish historical drama television series created by Neil Jordan and based on the Borgia family, an Italian dynasty of Spanish origin, which follows the rise of the Borgia family to the pinnacle of the Catholic church and their struggles to maintain their grip on power.
The series premiered simultaneously in the USA on Showtime, in Canada on Bravo! and in the UK on Sky Atlantic on 3 April, 2011.
The Borgias premiered in South Africa on M-Net and M-Net HD on Tuesday 9 August 2011, at 22h00. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 1 aired on M-Net and M-Net HD from 9 August to 4 October, 2011, on Tuesdays at 22h00. New episodes broadcast weekly. There are nine episodes in the first season.
The Borgias is the sordid saga of one of the most remarkable and legendary families in history.
Set in 15th century Italy at the height of the Renaissance, The Borgias chronicles the corrupt rise of patriarch Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons) to the papacy, where he proceeds to commit every sin in the book to amass and retain power, influence and enormous wealth for himself and his family.
The unbounded audacity of this original crime family went on to inspire Machiavelli's The Prince and Mario Puzo's The Godfather.
Outsiders from Spain, the Borgias go up against the most powerful and established families in Renaissance Italy and come out on top.
Through the masterful use of bribery, extortion, blackmail, and shocking forms of torture and murder, Rodrigo Borgia rises to the position of pope, the most venerated in the Western World.
Aiding him in his endeavours are his sons Cesare (François Arnaud), a ruthless operator who yearns fruitlessly to be released from the priesthood; and Juan (David Oakes), a feckless dilettante whom Rodrigo appoints to head the papal armies.
Daughter Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) and son Joffre (Aidan Alexander) are married off in early adolescence to members of powerful rival families – pawns in their family's fortunes.
Waging their own heated contest for Rodrigo's affections are Vanozza (Joanne Whalley), his long-time mistress and mother of his children, and the younger Giulia Farnese (Lotte Verbeek), whose cunning is matched only by her astonishing beauty.
The series begins on the eve of the death of Pope Innocent VIII in 1492, as a fierce political battle rages inside the Vatican walls over who will become the next pope.
The papacy has long been the exclusive domain of a handful of super-powerful and ancient Italian families, so outsider Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia seems like a long shot. But the staid, pious Italians vastly underestimate the ambitions of the wily, rapacious Spaniard.
Once ensconced on the throne, Rodrigo uses all of his power and influence to turn the papacy into a dynastic possession for his children, while his rivals plot with all their political might to unseat him.
The series is produced by Take 5 Productions in association with Bravo!, CTV and Showtime Networks USA. The Borgias is written by Neil Jordan. Executive Producers are Neil Jordan, James Flynn, Sheila Hockin, Jack Rapke, Darryl Frank and John Weber.
Series exclusive to M-Net and M-Net HD
Season 1 (9 episodes)
Premiere: 9 August 2011 | Finale: 4 October 2011 | Tuesdays, 22h00
Season 2 (10 episodes)
Premiere: 28 August 2012 | Finale: 30 October 2012 | Tuesdays, 22h00