How To Wrap Up A Show – Try An E-Book
Showtime’s recently canceled series The Borgias will get an official ending, but don’t expect to tune in to see it. While The Borgias will see a conclusion it will be in the form of an e-book, Neil Jordan — the show’s creators — and Showtime announced this week.
Clearly Jordan doesn’t have even a fraction of the power or influence of Pope Alexander VI (played in the series by Jeremy Irons). While the real Borgia Pope was able to make and break alliances and, failing that, threaten excommunication, Jordan wasn’t even able to get a two-hour wrap up.
Indiewire reported that “The Borgia Apocalypse” will be based on Jordan’s original script for the two-hour finale. It will be available this week via major e-retailers.
The network even took to social media to proclaim the news:
“Breaking #Borgias News! SHOWTIME and THE BORGIAS creator Neil Jordan are excited to announce the release of his new e-book, THE BORGIA APOCALYPSE, based on his original script for THE BORGIAS two-hour finale. THE BORGIA APOCALYPSE will be available this week via major e-retailers. We’re thrilled that the series’ loyal fans will have the opportunity to read Neil’s final farewell to one of history’s most infamous families.”
This followed a fan-based effort to save the series that included a plane that flew over the Television Critics Association with a banner that said “D Nevins: Sho fans you care – save The Borgias.”
David Nevins, president of the paid TV network, responded that he felt bad about canceling the show and suggested that the economics of a two-hour finale didn’t make sense.
The question is whether a TV show can really “wrap it up” in book form. This has been done before, as Buffy the Vampire Slayer moved to comic book and J. Michael Straczynski supervised several novels – and even included notes and story outlets – as way to complete the Babylon 5 saga. Star Wars, of course, has spawned so many post-film novels that many of these plots might even be woven into the upcoming series of films that Disney will soon produce.
However, these are for franchises with hardcore, even rabid, fans. Those who watched Showtime’s The Borgias are likely far less likely to pick up a book, but not because they don’t read. In fact, The Borgias might appeal to readers of The Godfather and similar works. What they aren’t as likely to pick up is a book based on a TV show!
As The Borgias was just one of many historical dramas on TV, the fact from the fiction often blurred so much that it barely resembled history at times. This could make it hard for someone to merely read about Pope Alexander VI and his family and understand where things might have gone.
However, as with much in history, things aren’t always so neatly wrapped up. The Borgias did end on a high note, and offered a reasonable conclusion. The e-book could thus serve to tie up some loose ends, but those loose ends aren’t really all that loose. It is a shame that the final episode didn’t offer some recap, which in even 30 seconds or a minute could have been as rewarding as a full book based on an unproduced script.
For those who want to know where this is headed (spoilers ahead), it should be known that Pope Alexander VI lived about five more years after the events in the series, during which time there were more broken treaties, more threats to Rome and finally a short illness that called the Holy Father home to God.
Prodigal son Cesare was set up as prince in territory carved from the Papal States and continued to stay one step ahead of his rivals. However, after the death of Alexander VI in 1503, Cesare’s luck ran out. He was unable to win favor with the new Pope and, without Papal backing, couldn’t maintain control of his lands. He was exiled to Spain, then imprisoned and died while trying to escape just four years after the death of his father. Daughter Lucrezia Borgia’s second marriage wasn’t much better than her first – second husband Alfonso was likely murdered by Cesare after falling out of Papal favor, and yet another marriage was arranged for her by Alexander VI, this time to another Anfonso; Alfonso d’Este (Duke of Ferra). She outlived her father and brother by many years, but died in childbirth at age 39.
All of that could have certainly made for an exciting season or two, or even a nice two-hour movie. But something tells me it is easier to read in two paragraphs than an e-book.
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