Da Vinci’s Demons is not the first historically based drama on television today. It is however, one of the best. And now thanks to Starz and Anchor Bay, those that aren’t lucky enough to have Starz network can experience the first season of this hit series for themselves on DVD and Blu-ray. The first season of Da Vinci’s Demons is so entertaining first and foremost because of its clever writing. Unlike so many other historical dramas, this one is more centered on action and adventure than drama. It’s one part Indiana Jones and one part…well…Da Vinci’s Code tied into one. Audiences will also appreciate the work on the part of the show’s cast throughout all eight of Season One’s episodes. And of course what box set would be complete without at least some bonus features? The bonus features included in Da Vinci’s Demons Season One are relatively brief. But they play their own part in making the overall presentation of Season One enjoyable. These aspects taken into consideration, they work in tandem to make this debut season one that is a must see for any fan of historical dramas.
The most important element of Da Vinci’s Demons Season One is its writing. Credit where credit is due. Series creator and writer David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Blade Trilogy) has crafted in the series’ first season that is a more akin to Indiana Jones than say Game of Thrones. It just used setting in question as the backdrop for all of the action. Goyer and his staff of writers are more than deserving of respect for balancing the story of his search for the “Book of Leaves” with his being wrapped up in the political and religious turmoil of the time. It would have been so easy for the two separate story lines to step on one another, especially considering the depth of each story line. Keeping in mind the depth of the story arcs throughout Season One, viewers will have to be fully invested in each episode in order to fully appreciate them. One cannot simply have any of Season One’s episodes playing while one does housework, etc. and expect to have a full appreciation for the writing. This is a good thing, too. It is good because in being fully invested in each episode, audiences will see the value of and originality in each episode and the first season overall.
The writing behind any TV show and movie is the backbone of each. It can make or break the given TV show or movie. By direct correlation, the work of the show’s cast makes the show even more of a joy to watch. Actor Tom Riley aptly fills the role of a young Leonardo Da Vinci opposite his equally talented cast mates. He shows his acting chops quite well with this subtle wit and control over his character’s deeper emotions. There are those actors that tend to ham it up on both ends of that spectrum. But Riley doesn’t do that. It makes him all the more fun to watch. He and his cast mates collectively make suspension of disbelief easy, too. This should come as no surprise considering the resumes of some of the main cast. The cast is comprised of rather well trained theater actors that are just as experienced in their craft as they are trained. Elliot Cowan (Lorenzo Medici) is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He also holds a degree in Drama from Birmingham University. He has starred in a number of major films including Alexander (2004) and The Golden Compass (2007). Viewers will recognize Gregg Chillin (Zoroaster) from his roles in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. And those that have seen Nanny McPhee Returns will likely recognize actor Eros Vlahos. Vlahos played Cyril Gray in that movie. He has also starred in none other than Game of Thrones as Lommy Greenhands. The collective resume of the cast of Da Vinci’s Demons goes on for quite some time. But one can tell from this microscopic look at that resume just why suspension of disbelief was so easy and why the cast gelled so well together. It’s one more aspect of the show that makes it such a surprise hit.
The casting and writing behind Da Vinci’s Demons are integral to the show’s success. Also noteworthy in this triple-disc box set is the bonus features. The primary bonus features included in the set take viewers into the recording studio, where the show’s soundtrack was recorded. Also included among the bonus features are the standard deleted scenes, and a look behind the scenes of the show. Each feature is a short vignette. But they do their own part to make the overall experience richer. Even more important to Season One is the inclusion of bonus commentary as well as the option to play each episode with a recap of the previous episodes. The recap is especially helpful regardless of whether or not one missed any of the episodes presented in this set. Even if a person has seen each episode, a recap helps remind viewers of what has already happened. Considering that each episode is just over an hour in length, it makes the recaps even more important an addition to each episode. It is the proverbial cherry on the sundae that makes Season One of Da Vinci’s Demons such a surprise hit. Along with the show’s writing and its acting, it makes this box set all the more worth picking up. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from Anchor Bay Entertainment’s website at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com/detail.aspx?projectID=fd093f1f-88ae-e211-b6d4-d4ae527c3b65. More information on this and other releases from Anchor Bay Entertainment and Starz is available online at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com and http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.