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He [Hirst] says his dramas are not documentaries but the details are rooted in history: “Just like Shakespeare’s history plays, they only start with some historical facts, then the drama takes over. You can’t have both.”

I disagree. History has plenty of drama and doesn’t require artificially injecting it with pointless love triangles and sex. Its the big reason why this past season of Vikings was incredibly boring despite plenty of history to draw upon. I’m cautiously following this development.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/feb/11/martin-scorsese-romans-tv-series-caesars-british-writer-michael-hirst?CMP=share_btn_fb

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In short the answer is no. The Young Pope is a miniseries set in modern times in Vatican City. A young American named Belardo is entrusted post-conclave with the new leadership of the Catholic Church. The ensuing episodes display his reign as the youngest and first American Pope. So why is the show poor you might be wondering? For starters the story and writing is quite poor. The motivations of the various players within the Vatican are made pretty clear from the start rather than slowly revealed over time. Furthermore those motivations are not very strong nor provide any serious conflict between the various characters.

The Pope rather than coming across as the complex character torn between the desire to be loved and the desire to be self reliant comes across as simply a petulant child with parent issues due to abandonment. He seems hellbent on destroying the foundations of the Church while placing himself in a place of absolute control. Belardo seems content with going on and on about some conceived plan but having witnessed half of the first season thus far I have yet to understand any semblance of a plan being formed. He appears to like the idea of being mysterious though which he presumes will give him more control and cement his authority over the Church. The show could be summed up in the following dialogue breakdown of essentially various Cardinals stating particular tasks that need to be attended to with Belardo declaring that it will be taken care of later.

I was pretty excited for the prospect of the show. The camera work and dialogue are actually pretty well written. The fact that it takes place in Vatican City which brings back my own memories of my time living in Rome around the corner from the Basilica is a wonderful treat. But questions and dogmatic discourse are essentially not even being covered which is deeply disappointing and in my opinion its a missed opportunity. Would people really rather see a random naked woman praying in her room than address the questions of faith, salvation, and Catholicism today? I find that hard to believe.

The final nail in the coffin for me was the lack of a decent story. The dynamics of the main characters and behavior of Belardo could easily be substituted into another setting and the show renamed The Young CEO or something.