Starz is blasting the home media market this week with two offerings: the first volume of Outlander (Diana Gabaldon’s novel-turned-adaptation) and the second season of Da Vinci’s Demons on Blu-ray/DVD. In the first, Claire Fraser/Randall travels through time to 18th century Scotland; in the second, Leonardo da Vinci (Tom Riley), uses his medicinal and technological prowess to fight off the advances of Count Riario (Blake Ritson) and assist the Medicis, in the midst of court intrigue and outright violence.
Da Vinci’s Demons is a period piece that carries the court intrigue of Outlander or Game of Thrones with the wily technology-out-of-time of Hell on Wheels or Murdoch Mysteries. Sure, it’s on Starz so it’s a bit more violent and sexual than what you’d find on network or cable, but it’s significantly better than some of the other shows of its general ilk (like Black Sails). But it also lends itself to some more creative power thanks to the input of the likes of David S. Goyer.
I’m not going to lie: there are times that DD confuses me. There are a wealth of characters that come and go, and about seventeen side stories at once, making keeping up with GoT seem like a cakewalk. But it’s still intriguing to see the religious tie-in that comes with the times, and Da Vinci’s search for the Book of Leaves. And the science, like the first episode’s bloodletting/transfusion makes The Princess Bride’s version look like the joke it is…
Da Vinci’s Demons is splashy, sometimes convoluted, but almost always awesome to look at. It’s an interesting character study of Da Vinci himself, but the split story lines often fail to allow him, the most interesting character on the show, to get enough time to develop from episode to episode. Still, it’s a fun ride.
Fans of the show will appreciate “The Journey Begins” recap, as well as the behind-the-scenes take on creating and developing the ‘other continent’ in “Creating The New World.” I’d still strongly encourage you to unpack the first season just to get urged to who is who… Rating: borrow it