Blu-ray Review: Da Vinci’s Demons: The Complete First Season

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Da Vinci’s Demons is a portrait of a young man tortured by the gift of superhuman genius.  Da Vinci is a man in the midst of a storm that has been brewing for centuries.  A conflict between truth and lies; religion and reason; past and future.  His aspirations are used against him by the opposing forces of the time – luring him into a game of seduction where those who despise his intellect need him most.

Leonardo must take up the fight against those who use history, religion and politics to suppress the truth. A hero armed only with genius, Da Vinci stands alone against the darkness within and the darkness without.

Facing an uncertain future, his quest for knowledge nearly becomes his undoing as he explores the fringes of his own sanity.  He throws himself into his genius and emerges as an unstoppable force that lifts an entire era out of darkness and into the light of understanding.

The series was created by David S. Goyer and stars Tom Riley as Leonardo da Vinci, Laura Haddock as Lucrezia Donati, Blake Ritson as Lord Girolamo Riario, Elliot Cowan as Lorenzo Medici, Gregg Chillin as Zoroaster and Lara Pulver as Clarice Orsini.  There’ are a number of familiar names that I noticed  in the credits like Scott M. Gimple who helped write a number of episodes with Goyer and a few others as well as Michael J. Bassett who directed some episodes along with Goyer and a handful of other directors. Needless to say, there are a lot of talented people working on this series.

First of all, I think I have a love-hate relationship with Da Vinci’s Demons. The first episode really did draw me in but then it slowed down some in the next few and then it picked back up again all the way to the finale. A few of these episodes almost felt like “filler” episodes and that could easily lose viewers, especially these days when nobody out there has any patience!  You have to blame some of the slow-paced writing and lack of action for this because the other episodes were just so amazing, so with that being said, they just need to tell better stories and add a little more action from beginning to end in season two. Let me also tell you that the final two episodes played out like a major motion picture, with exciting discoveries of long lost relics that the Vatican keeps hidden with startling revelations and betrayals plus a cliffhanger that will drive fans nuts until this series returns and I’m guessing it will. The coolest part here was seeing the sphere of destiny, the sword in the stone and a few other historical treasures from legend that stays safely hidden under the Vatican and its corruption.

Another cool plus to point out about this series is Leo Da Vinci the character and his genius. This young man is stuck in the middle of two wars (of sorts) and they all want to use his talents and inventions to one up the other side but he’s no fool and is on to a lot more than these people give him credit for. We already get to see the young Da Vinci begin to go a little mad in this first season but he never loses his smarts about him.  There are some animated sequences thrown in these episodes that serve as how he sees things and calculates certain things the way nobody else can. I also have to give major kudos to actor Tom Riley for bringing this character to life and he does it brilliantly too! He’s not alone because the entire cast is incredibly talented and believable along with the accuracy of the wardrobes, location and settings. Honestly, the only flaw to me was some of the writing!

The packaging is really nice just like many TV series releases that Anchor Bay has cranked on home video, they just go all out with this stuff! It comes with a nice slip cover featuring the key art on the front with the series details on the back along with some images and listing of extras. When you open up the package it completely folds out so all three discs are displayed and is a really nice touch by Anchor Bay.

Bottom line is, even though Da Vinci’s Demons: The Complete First Season had its ups and downs and was a little slow at times i can’t help but think this series will keep getting better. If you’re a fan of Indiana Jones, the National Treasure movies and even MacGyver then you will probably like this because it’s a combination of treasure hunting and artifact discoveries mixed with magic, gadgets and technology, some mythology that’s mixed in with real characters and actual historic events (loosely based on!) and some demons!  This Blu-ray set releases on September 3rd and is worth a watch. I think some will totally love it while others will probably fall asleep watching it but give it a chance because this series has so much potential!

Distributor: Anchor Bay

Run Time: 8 Episodes on 3 Discs @ 460 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated (TV-MA)

Special Features: All of the featurettes included are great but my favorite out of them is “Mastering Da Vinci” with composer Bear McCrady who talks about how he came up with the amazing score for the series and it’s one that will stay in your head like a number of his others. This guy’s musical gift simply makes everything better and I’m a fan!

  • Audio Commentaries with Writer/Creator/Executive Producer/Director David S. Goyer and Actors Tom Riley, Laura Haddock, Blake Ritson, David Schofield and Tom Bateman
  • Mastering Da Vinci
  • Constructing Da Vinci
  • Dressing Da Vinci
  • Worldwide Fanfare
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Second Screen Promo
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3.5
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