Check It Out TV Pick: ‘Medici: Masters of Florence’

medici-5The Medici family, also known as the House of Medici, first attained wealth and political power in Florence in the 13th century through its success in commerce and banking. Beginning in 1434 with the rise to power of Cosimo de’ Medici (or Cosimo the Elder), the family’s support of the arts and humanities made Florence into the cradle of the Renaissance, a cultural flowering rivaled only by that of ancient Greece. The Medicis produced four popes (Leo X, Clement VII, Pius IV and Leon XI), and their genes have been mixed into many of Europe’s royal families. The last Medici ruler died without a male heir in 1737, ending the family dynasty after almost three centuries.

Netflix has rolled out a visual feast. The cast is stunning and visuals are mesmerizing. Sure, there are a few  small historical inaccuracies, but there are small enough to ignore and lose yourself in the story.

I watched all episodes of season one and couldn’t turn away. The opening scenes of the show will suck you in as you get lost in a tale of politics, faith and love.  It  opens with Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici’s  untimely death. Giovanni’s elder son, Cosimo (1389-1464), rises to political power in 1434 and influences  Florence as an uncrowned monarch.

The series is set in the 15th century Florence, the protagonist is Cosimo the Elder, who was elected head of the Florentine Republic in 1434. Cosimo has inherited the Bank of Medici from his father Giovanni, who has been mysteriously poisoned. Through various flashbacks (20 years ago), we are introduced to a Florence at the time of Giovanni and his relationship with his sons, Cosimo and Lorenzo.

You are shown the complexity of a young man’s development through a spiritual, emotional and psychological way. That alone is a unique enough approach to make you tune in. It is  a rich tapestry of the Renaissance comes to life.Despite the recorded evils of this infamous family, you see that they did  try to live good lives.

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The acting is superb on the show. The woman, Frances Barber, who plays the matriarch Piccarda Bueri, Cosimo and Lorenzo’s mother,   delivers in every scene she is in.  She just steals the scene! Dustin Hoffman as patriarch Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici, commands the camera and the audience to be present. Richard Madden is believable as Cosimo. The cast just works! There are very few historical television shows that deliver on emotional levels the way this one does.

Season One’s cast is as follows:

  • Dustin Hoffman – Giovanni de’ Medici
  • Richard Madden – Cosimo de’ Medici
  • Giorgio Caputo – Federigo Malavolti
  • Guido Caprino – Marco Bello
  • Stuart Martin – Lorenzo de’ Medici
  • Tatjana Nardone – Emilia
  • Annabel Scholey – Contessina de’ Bardi

Now here is your taste. Happy Binge!

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