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The Borgias: The Second Season Blu-ray Review

borgias-S2-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 3 (3  x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 520 Mins.
  • Studio: Showtime Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 26, 2013
  • List Price: $65.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4.5/5]

Borgias-Second-Season-BD_01

“The original crime family” returns for a second season of Showtime cable network’s big-budget period drama, The Borgias. To think that historical fiction based on the infamous Borgia family and the notorious Spanish Pope (Jeremy Irons) would prove such an enticing guilty pleasure on the level of predecessors like The Tudors or Rome might at first seem a stretch, but once one settles in to this series, it can become an addiction. Season two only deepens the intrigue, melodrama, and Vatican corruption as the Pope does battle with the King of France (Mike Muller), continues his rivalry with the Sforza family, and faces down the onset of the plague spreading across Europe, even as he tries to tackle poverty within Rome. Meanwhile, the discord between Borgia brothers Cesare (François Arnaud) and Juan (Juan Borgia) rises to a fever pitch, especially after Lucrezia’s low-born lover Paolo (Luke Pasqualino), father to her child, is found dead in the city and blame falls on Juan. Cesare begins to assert himself; using his battle skills and henchman Michelletto (Sean Harris), he turns more war-minded and violent, determined to secure his father’s and family’s position. Of course, this is premium cable and The Borgias, so there is plenty of sex, murder, and torture to go around as well. As with the first season, season two continues the beautiful production values, gorgeous set design, and meticulous period details that make the series just as great to watch as the salacious and intriguing story lines.

Episodes:

  1. The Borgia Bull
  2. Paolo
  3. The Beautiful Deception
  4. Stray Dogs
  5. The Choice
  6. Day of Ashes
  7. The Siege at Forli
  8. Truth and Lies
  9. World of Wonders
  10. The Confession

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Borgias-Second-Season-BD_02

The Borgias is an original high definition production using a variety of high definition cinematographic HD cameras including the Arri Alexa and Sony CineAlta F35, plus other high-end digital cameras like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, and 7D. The Blu-ray is given an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement that nicely captures the series’ color palette that is rich with primary colors like reds and blues, and warm, like sunny Rome. Detail is strong, but the image does tend to soften and show heightened levels of noise in the numerous darker, shadowy sequences. That said, it is without doubt a step up from the 1080i broadcasts of the series as compared to my Verizon FIOS account. It is cleaner, with better white levels and more consistent blacks as well.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Borgias-Second-Season-BD_03

A Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is supplied that has decent balance of sounds across the front and surrounds, which are occasionally populated with some discrete effects such as the ringing of church bells, horse carts riding through streets, or general chatter of crowds. There isn’t much low frequency extension, but there’s a sufficiently punchy midrange, and the mix has more than enough weight beneath it. The dialogue is clean and lacking any clipping.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Borgias-Second-Season-BD_04

In keeping with the Showtime Blu-ray releases, a number of episodes from other series are offered via BD-Live, as well as featurettes pertaining to The Borgias series.

The supplements:

  • BD-Live Extras:
    • Californication Season 5 Ep 1 – JFK LAX
    • Californication Season 5 Ep 2 The Way of the Fist
    • House of Lies Season 1 Ep 1 – Gods of Dangerous Financial Instruments
    • House of Lies Season 1 Ep 2
    • The Borgias:
      • Showtime Original: Interviews and Behind the Scenes
      • World of Borgia – Vicar of Rome
      • World of Borgia – Gunpowder Revolution
      • World of Borgia – Love
      • World of Borgia – Renaissance
      • World of Borgia – Sex

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Borgias-Second-Season-BD_05

The second season of Showtime’s The Borgias is an almost perfect ten episodes of guilty pleasures. The costume drama goes behind the walls of the Vatican for a peek at the corrupt Borgia family, and in this season, they really get their hands dirty. You won’t want to stop watching when you put this series in your player, so set aside a slow weekend for a marathon viewing session.

 

Additional Screen Captures

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BestBuy.com:
Borgias: The Second Season (3 Disc) - Blu-ray Disc

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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[amazon-product]B0060MYKTY[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Borgias: The Second Season (3 Disc) - Blu-ray Disc

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

 

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