Starz new period series, Da Vinci’s Demons, is from show creator David S. Goyer. (His other credits include the Dark Knight trilogy from Christopher Nolan, in which they’re not shy in letting us know.) It stars Tom Riley (Monroe) as Leonardo Da Vinci and the breathtaking actress Laura Haddock (Upstairs Downstairs, The Inbetweeners Movie) as his sexual focus of conquest.
Leonardo Da Vinci is an actual person, but with the word demons in the title, it’s a bit of a heads up, or warning if you will. And being on Starz, well, there will be skin. Of that they make no qualms and instantly let you know it as the show starts.
But this series premiere planted so many story plots into the first thirty minutes, and even more plots in the closing minutes, that some might call it overwhelming while others call it a warning. And one of my test viewers hanging out with me looked at it and almost instantly dismissed it because it looks or felt just like Spartacus. (Upon initial reaction.)
Da Vinci’s Demons starts with a hint of gay sex and nudity (man butt) right off the bat… just in case you weren’t sure that gratuitous nudity wasn’t going to be a part of this new Starz series. Hey, if it’s a premiere subscription channel, that’s the trademark.
Then we watch Da Vinci experiment with a new invention… on his poor victim… I mean assistant.
The show jumped right into multiple plots of mystique, deceit and power plays, layered with a super quick expose of Da Vinci’s character traits or flaws.
We’re shown some mysterious factor of magical curiosity. Davinci can’t remember his mother’s face, and something odd seems to possibly guiding his hand, as he meets a fellow who says time is a circle. Actually, this mysterious man of magical insinuations is Al-Rahim, has eye-linered eyes delivering the atmosphere of intrigue… and is played Alexander Siddig (Clash of the Titans, on TV: Primeval, 24 and Dr. Bashir on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
The story jumped around the various plots, touching on many facets of this new franchise from Starz. It seemed a bit busy and to me, as if someone is worried that you need to know it all now so you don’t drift off.
Normally, shows that try to shove a lot of detail at the viewer up front have historically not had much to stand on after that. But who knows. But for Da Vinci’s Demons, we are fully aware of subversive espionage plots, murderous schemes, Da Vinci’s flippant moods and his instant understanding of how things work in the world and his ugly relationship with his father.
And in one of the closing scenes, his sexual conquest is heralded and culminated by fireworks going off outside the castle or abode or whatever he and his conquest is in. I smacked my head on that one.
Yes, David Goyer’s resume also includes working on the scripts for the upcoming Godzilla 2014 & Man of Steel movies. But I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.
All I do know is if they’ve already told us all this, either:
A: What is there left to develop
B: Wow, if there’s more, this is going to be one busy series!
I’m not impressed, but hey, I’ve seen shows from this network make plausibly entertaining stories from slaves in gladitorial dungeons, so anything is possible. But right now, if put on the spot, I’d not suggest going out of your way for this fanciful take on this historical figure.