I waited a lot for I Medici – Master of Florence and I was full of hope.
Frankly, I don’t think that I Medici could mark a new era of Italian (national) television but let’s hope that these first impressions will change next week.
Let’s start from the very beginning. The writers (Nicholas Meyer and Frank Spotnitz) decided to add a thriller aspect to made the plot more appealing: someone (for the appareance, it’s Ezio Auditore) murdered Giovanni De’ Medici (played by Dustin Hoffman, who seems a random guy walking through a television set). As Vanity Fair points out, this is not true (I haven’t discovered how he actually died, yet, even though SerialMinders discloses an interesting truth), so I wonder: why? They are I Medici, rulers of Florence just before and during the Renaissance! Their story is interesting and appealing on its own, it doesn’t need random fictional addition. This inner complexity is made worse by the decision of using two different time-lines, just to confuse the audience. Praise the MakeUp Department and Cosimo’s white lock of hair, that made our life a little bit easier.
The weakness that the two main characters emanate is the other big problem. The two brothers Cosimo (monoexpression Richard Madden) and the-guy-I-do-not-even-remember-the-name (Stuart Martin, who plays Lorenzo – I had to look for it) are desperately insignificant. I imagined Cosimo as an “ancestor” of Frank Underwood, a smart and brilliant debater with profound political skills, but I was wrong. Or, if he is, it is just not showed. Let’s believe that he will improve after the exile.
Also the other characters aren’t shining, from the know-it-all wife, played by Annabel Scholey, always talking but not proving to be a mastermind at all, to the disenchanted lover Bianca (Miriam Leone, who seemed to be the new conquer of Hollywood while, in the end, she acts in just one episode, as IMDB says), whose role is used to explain that a rich/important guy like Cosimo de’ Medici couldn’t marry for love.
The shortlist of Italian actors open the issue of the dubbing, which has been one of the worst I have ever heard, with the exception of the presumptuos Brunelleschi (Alessandro Preziosi). Can’t deny of being scared of watching it in original language.
I Medici are undoubtedly a great achievement for the Italian national television, although it’s far from creating a product that could compete with other international TV series or with Italian Sky productions, like Romanzo Criminale, 1992, or the upcoming The Young Pope. Directed by the Academy Award Winner Paolo Sorrentino, The Young Pope will be broadcast from 21st of October (but I watched the first two episodes at 73rd Venice Film Festival), and, despite some flaws, it belongs to another level. To which I Medici don’t even get close.