The Borgias (2011)

The Borgias is a 2011 historical fiction cinematic television series created by Neil Jordan.

The series is set around the turn of the 16th century, and follows the Borgia family, an Italian dynasty of Spanish origin. It stars Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI with François Arnaud as Cesare, Holliday Grainger as Lucrezia, David Oakes as Juan and Aidan Alexander as Gioffre Borgia. Derek Jacobi and Colm Feore also star as Cardinals Orsini and Cardinal della Rovere.

It premiered on April 3, 2011, at 9 pm ET on Showtime in the United States and 10 pm Eastern (UTC−04:00) on Bravo! in Canada, and received its first major television network premiere on June 21, 2011 on Canada’s CTV Television Network.

On April 25, 2011, Showtime ordered a second season of The Borgias. The second season premiered on April 8, 2012.

On May 4, 2012, Showtime ordered a third season of 10 episodes to air in 2013.


The series follows the rise of the Borgia family to the pinnacle of the Roman Catholic Church and their struggles to maintain their grip on power. The beginning of the first season depicts the election of Rodrigo Borgia to the papacy through simony and bribery with the help of his son, Cesare. The triumph in the papal conclave of Borgia, who becomes Pope Alexander VI, enrages his rivals in the College of Cardinals, some of whom decide to plot against him. With the help of his family, Alexander takes on his enemies while striking alliances with other European powers to strengthen his position.

Meanwhile, Alexander’s great rival, Cardinal Della Rovere, travels across Italy and France to seek allies to depose the pope. He manages to persuade King Charles of France to assist him in removing Pope Alexander in exchange for supporting the King’s claim to the throne of Naples, an ally of the Borgias through marriage. Season one culminates with Charles and his army, accompanied by Della Rovere, marching to Rome and finally coming to a head with the Borgias.

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