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Da Vinci's Demons: not exactly good TV, but addictive, nevertheles....
Anchor Bay / 466 Minutes / 2013 / Unrated / Street Date: September 3, 2013
A long-form series delving into the complex (if, perhaps, entirely fictional) life and times of Leonardo da Vinci has basic merit, but a show like Da Vinci’s Demons falters under the weight of rampant television cliché. In short, as good-looking and escapist as the show sometimes is, around every corner is a blank reminder that Da Vinci’s Demons is just like ten other shows you’ve watched recently: even new episodes feel like reruns.
There’s maybe a little Game of Thrones here, some definite costume similarities to The Borgias, and maybe even a little Spartacus sprinkled on top. Of course, TV doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel stylistically in order to retain a devoted audience, but Da Vinci’s Demons feels plain when it should be revelatory. We spend a lot of time trying to get inside the head of our titular protagonist (played by Tom Riley), but nothing on this Complete First Season set has any convincing nuance to it.
Yet the creative forces behind Da Vinci’s Demons know how to dig their hooks into unsuspecting audiences. This TV-on-BD set is capable enough that it inspired this writer to complain and nitpick… while marathoning through the season over the course of just a couple days. This doesn’t necessarily defend any narrative missteps, but every once in a while you need a TV show that simply gives you an opportunity to visit a strange place for an hour at a time, and this is something Da Vinci’s Demons provides.