Showtime Drops The Guillotine on The Borgias


The epic saga of papal backstabbing and incestuous relations, The Borgias, has been canceled.  The series was not renewed for a fourth season, nor did Showtime order the proposed, two-hour, stand-alone movie. The June 16 Season 3 finale, “The Prince,” will also serve as a series finale.

Starring Jeremy Irons, The Borgias followed Rodrigo Borgia’s rise to Pope of Rome.  It also heavily focused on the love affair between his Cardinal-turned-mercenary son Cesare (François Arnaud), and dutiful daughter Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger). 

According to Deadline, when a fourth season became unlikely over concerns of there not being enough material for another 10 episodes, Showtime commissioned a movie script by creator Neil Jordan.  This was to conclude all character arcs. 

Unfortunately, for the series that shoots entirely on location in Budapest, a movie proved too costly.  With The Borgias wrapping up, Jordan will return to filmmaking. He hinted he’d still like to do the two-hour script as a feature one day.  

Still, both Showtime and Jordan promise “The Prince” will serve as a satisfying series end.  Said Jordan:

“The Prince,” when I wrote it and shot it, did seem like the end of a journey for the family. Whatever bonded them as a family dies in this episode, and the center of the drama for me was always the family. I want to thank Showtime and [President] David Nevins for their unstinting support over the last three years, and look forward to working with them in the future.

This is a shame.  Not only is The Borgias getting some of the best ratings of its tenure this season, it is also creatively the best the show has ever been. 

It’s frugal moves like this that tend to turnoff TV fans.  No one wants to become invested in a show and its characters, and then have the story end prematurely.  I’m always hesitant to get into shows that are on networks that have spurned me before.  Call me crazy for wanting to have a beginning, middle, and end for my stories!

Historically speaking, Rodrigo was survived by his children after he died as Pope.  It stinks we won’t get to see that play out, or the addictive romance between sibs Cesare and Lucreiza (No matter what Jamey Giddens thinks!). (Editor's Note: Nasty!)

On a scale of one to starting a Kickstarter campaign, how bummed are you to bid farewell to The Borgias?

Photo credit: Showtime