As we take a dip in the riches of cinematic opulence, a gradual but radicle change happens in the television front where the same artists and creator with some obvious new additions, bring about a stunning change in the way television series’ are viewed. Series’ like The Human Target, Person Of Interest, Arrow, Numbers, Elementary have brought about some refreshing changes to the tried and tested soaps and routines which we had so gleefully taken down over the years. However with DaVinci’s Demons, one of my favorite writers, David S Goyer has stretched the envelop and limits quite a bit further. It cannot be said that we wont see anything more novel than this but it sure as hell deserves to be written about. This is for the first time that a series has insipid me so much that I cannot help but write about it. This is less of a review and more of an insight into why DaVinci’s Demon is so special and should be watched by one and all.
The story revolves around Leonardo DaVinci(Tom Riley) in his formative years. The narrative explores the untold story of Vinci while he was working at a local Art Gallery in the city of Florence. The period shows the city of Florence as a center of art and cultural development under the rule of Lorenzo, the magnificent(Elliot Cowan). Leonardo is shown torn between his love for his art and science and a chance encounter with a Turk who gives him a chance at understanding the secret of the universe through the discovery of a book known only as the Book Of Leaves. The political upheaval in the city of Florence and their conflicts with the strict Vatican doctrines creates some further hurdles for Leonardo, who first has to out grow his status of a bastard child and then his bad reputation at being a dismal finisher.
The political undercurrent in Florence also introduces the character of Lucrezia Donati
(Laura Haddock) who is working as a Roman spy bedding Lorenzo and DaVinci at the same time. Her faithfulness to the cause is tested to its fullest as her brother’s growing indifference and her attraction towards DaVinci. By the time the season ends with the 8th episode, the tale is nicely poised in a way that it might take the narrative in any direction in the next season. The season takes Leonardo through the discovery and unveiling of some of the weapons mentioned in his journal which was discovered post his death and now remains with the royal Archives. these include the Musket, the flying kite able to hold a person, the modern projection system and a catapult cannon.
In an interview, David S Goyer sighted, DaVinci’s journal saying that it was around 13000 pages of which 700 pages survived the test of time. He made it abundantly clear that he was going to put the weapons, machines and other discoveries of DaVinci mentioned in the journal on the series. If he is to keep his words, we are looking at atleast 5 seasons for the series’ run. The series works wonderfully well in the sense that Goyer takes material from history and then runs amok with his fantasies to construct a thoroughly entertaining and satisfying show. The fact that there remains hazy details about the period in which the story is set gives Goyer enough liberty to fantasize without loosing the authenticity or grounding of the narrative. The show is complete with a meeting of DaVinci with Vlad, the Dracula.
The narrative has a trademark Goyarish orgasmic feel to it as the story
builds up from scratch and leaves the viewer guessing at the pinnacle of excitement by the eight episode. The setup is painstakingly constructed creating a real world feel. Some of the scenes which have CGI rendered constructions and props just look as real as they can. The biggest hero again is the narrative which hops back and forth spinning an intricate web of happening which is bound to get the viewers glued. Each episode is complete in itself even though the Eight episodes put together makes up the timeframe and develops the story arc preparing it for the further seasons. It may not be exactly light on the mind but sure as hell is thoroughly entertaining.
The performances are authoritative. Every actor looks the part and essays the role effortlessly. led from the front by Rom Riley, the rest of the supporting crew including Haddock, Cowan, Bateman and Ritson bring their characters thoughtfully to life. While Haddock and Hera Hilmar up the oomph quotient with their exquisite beauty and sensuality, they also have stellar roles in the narrative. Haddock is shown manipulating a democracy using her sexuality as a bait for most of the part. Hera Hilmar plays a liberated nun who initially works as a muse for DaVinci but as the narrative progresses, her character achieves significance turning into the love interest of one of the royals. Tom Riley essays the obsessed and driven by his own genius, DaVinci with finesse. His interpretation of the character is bound to striker a chord with one and all. Elliot Cowan as Lorenzo is apt.
Overall, DaVinci’s Demons will easily rank as one of the most imaginative series
‘ to have come out in the recent years. It has everything going in its favor. Be it the edge of the seat thrills, the dark humor, wonderfully orchestered set pieces, great performances and never seen before sexuality on the small screen. Aesthetically done and with penchant to details, DaVinci’s Demon can be watched and re-watched for a number of reasons with entertainment being the biggest of them all. A highly entertaining and thought-provoking series.