The Maestro’s secret story
Thanks to Roadshow Home Entertainment we had a look at the fantastic first season of Da Vinci’s Demons on DVD.
Created by David S. Goyer, co-writer of the Dark Knight Trilogy, Da Vinci’s Demons is a re-imagination of iconic Renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci (Tom Riley), as we see his untold story as an eccentric mastermind and religious sceptic, who fights to set knowledge free.
In order to achieve his goals, he must hold hiw own against two powerful rivals, the Vatican and the Medici family. Both want Da Vinci’s knowledge on their side, mostly for military purposes. However, Da Vinci fights a battle of his own, against his traumatic past and his uncertain future. The scientific and creative genius is hoping to discover the ultimate truth, which he hopes to find in the “Book of Leaves”. Da Vinci’s quest will have him fighting to protect his life, his sanity and his knowledge from the forces linked to the Vatican.
Da Vinci’s Demons provides a clever but quirky take on the iconic maestro, as we see him as a brave and quite arrogant artist. He knows how to handle a sword without problem in order to take down experienced enemies, and improvises his way out of complicated situations thanks to his genius mind. However, thanks to the experience of David S. Goyer, the formula works perfectly as a fictional adventure based on true events from the Renaissance, as we see iconic names coming to life, like brothers Giulino and Lorenzo Medici and Pope Sixtus IV, just to name some. Moreover, the series include some hints at other artists like Donatello and Sandro Botticelli.
Each episode is constructed in an extremely clever way, and it reminds us of BBC’s Sherlock, since both shows have a similar structure as well as a genius that can solve any mystery. What’s more, every time Da Vinci needs to find a solution, a well made animation pops up with simple lines that draw the different gadgets or buildings, emulating what is going on in the maestro’s mind.
The art direction is flawless, with extreme eye for detail, especially while showing Leonardo’s workshop, papers, inventions and world famous prototypes such as his iconic flying machine. His obsession with flying is perfectly represented during the show, with Da Vinci extensively observing birds.
Performance wise, the cast is solid and we don’t find any flaws, with a fantastic Tom Riley in the lead and Elliot Cowan as Lorenzo Medici, who carries most of the weight of a story full of twists. Both men are linked to their common forbidden love interest Lucrezia Donati ( Laura Haddock). You might expect the fact that a love triangle is included to put an end to all the good things in it, but this is not the case as this is part of a bigger storyline that you must see with your own eyes.
The show also features possibly the best TV-villains in recent history, especially because they seem to be invisible and barely make contact with the protagonists. The Vatican attempts to exert its power by hiding the truth and keeping it to themselves in order to manage it at their own will. The manipulative Pope Sixtus IV (James Faulkner), orders the sadistic Girolamo Riario (Blake Ritson) to seek the same book as Da Vinci. This dubious pope will sure cause controversy among conservative viewers, as he has a taste for men and women (Nudity and sexual references included).
The DVD version also includes a couple of interesting extra features, starting with a Making of the series featuring an interview with series creator David S. Goyer, who explains his ideas and motivation to create this version of Leonardo Da Vinci in great detail. In addition, the home entertainment release includes a behind the scenes featurette, deleted scenes and audio commentaries.
Overall, Da Vinci’s Demons might not be suitable for everyone, especially more conservative viewers may be offended. However, as a work of fiction is a solid tale, with a fantastic cast and beautiful art direction. The mix of drama, mystery and adventure will surely get many viewers addicted to the series just like us. The rich symbolism from the Renaissance era and the clever reimagining of one of the most brilliant minds in human history as a peculiar hero in search of the ultimate truth makes this a must Watch series!
Da Vinci’s Demons – Available on DVD from April 9, 2014