TV Show Review – Da Vinci’s Demons, season 1

Da Vinci’s Demons, season 1
Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment & Starz
Release Date: September 3, 2013

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When I first heard the title for this series, I immediately thought of demons in the literal sense and knew it would be a must-watch for me. But when I discovered the demons in the show were actually more figurative than literal, my interest grew. Granted, I would have loved to have seen Da Vinci fighting hell-beasts, much like Abraham Lincoln and his vampire foes, but a part of me wanted to see what the producers of this show could do with such an unique premise. I’m happy to report DA VINCI’S DEMONS is original and thoughtful, a whip-smart show with plenty of sinister plans and vicious characters.

If you are not familiar with DA VINCI’S DEMONS, here is the show’s plot synopsis courtesy of the Starz press release:

In a world where thought and faith are controlled, one man fights to set knowledge free. Leonardo Da Vinci is tortured by a gift of superhuman genius. He finds himself in a conflict between truth and lies, religion and reason, past and future. His quest for knowledge nearly becomes his undoing, but Da Vinci’s genius prevails and he emerges as an unstoppable force that lifts an entire era out of darkness and propels it into light. His story becomes a mirror into our own world, calling us all to join his fight to Free the Future.

As you’ve probably garnered from my comments above, this show is not what I was expecting. It is so much more. It’s chocked-full of history, but combines fiction throughout existing events. The result is a colorful, vibrant storyline set against the backdrop of a vividly-depicted 15th century Europe.

DA VINCI’S DEMONS is shot very well and the production value of each show looks very high. The backdrops are CG-heavy, but they are lavish and look beautiful. Many of Da Vinci’s inventions are computer-generated as well, of particular note being a clockwork bird that he creates in the first episode. But only the trained eye can tell what is real and what is not…no expense was spared when it came to the special and visual effects, and the artistry shown onscreen is the reward.

I particularly like the actor who portrays the titular character, a Brit by the name of Tom Riley. Riley brings a unique flair in his portrayal of Da Vinci, showing us what a younger, more ‘action-oriented’ version of the genius inventor would have been like. I think many people, when they think of Da Vinci, think of the older, more docile painter. But I would imagine, as do the producers behind the show, that Da Vinci could have been a historical adventurer, full of passion and intelligent wit.

DA VINCI’S DEMONS is a definite win for me, and I suggest you check it out. Fans of historical fiction and fantasy should enjoy this engaging show. The first season hits store shelves tomorrow, so be sure and give this a look.

MSB

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