THE BLOG
04/15/2013 09:45 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Nurse Jackie : Yes; The Borgias : No

It is time for the return of Nurse Jackie and The Borgias. Both of these series have their core fans. I can understand it with Nurse Jackie but what are they seeing in The Borgias that I am not? I have tried and tried to study the acting, direction, setting, music and everything else in The Borgias but it still comes across to me as one of the most boring shows ever made.

This new season of The Borgias starts with the attempt to poison Pope Alexander/Rodrigo Borgia (Jeremy Irons). All of the members of his family are gathered around trying to do something miraculous. This includes his sons Cesare (Francois Arnaud) and Juab (David Oakes), his daughter Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) and his former mistress Vannoza Dei Catannei (Joanne Whalley), who is also the mother of his children.

While waiting to see if the Pope will die, those who are on his side plot ways to save his life. Those who are against him plot ways to make sure his life ends. That is what this series does constantly -- plot. There are schemes and plans and plots all over the place and to do this the characters in this show have to talk and talk and talk. It is exhausting.

Occasionally there are some bits of action or romance that take place but not enough. The chapters of the show seem to be filled with tedious occurrences which wear the audience down. To counter this the acting is good, the sets are lush, and the overall look of the show is above average. Still the direction is turgid and the movement of the plot is snail paced.

Irons has never been an overly charismatic actor and in the role of Rodrigo he is bland. The character is pompous and pretentious and always one to talk more than he should. And he does it slowly, very slowly. The rest of the cast revolve around him and his lack of energy drags them all down too. They play their roles adequately but they need to be more animated.

Nurse Jackie is everything The Borgias is not. Edie Falco and company move their series forward with breakneck speed. Plus they create characters that draw you in, not push you away. At the heart of everything is Falco as nurse Jackie Peyton. This woman has had more than her share of problems over the past few seasons and at the start of this one she is clean and sober. There seems to be some lights at the end of her tunnels, and the audience is rooting for her all the way.

Each episode builds on the past one and it all moves forward at a breakneck pace. Merritt Wever manages to match Falco's talent in scene after scene as she plays Nurse Zoe Barkow. Zoe has grown so much as the show has gone forward. She is now an integral part of Jackie's life, but also influences other people who are on the staff at the hospital where they work.

A good addition to the cast this season is Morris Chestnut as Dr. Prentiss. He is the new head of the ER at All Saints Hospital and brings military experience to the job. He is immediately summed up by Jackie to be a good guy but he and hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith) bump heads. Both Chestnut and Smith are excellent actors and they add a salty flavor to the mix.

This is also a good year for young actress Ruby Jerins who plays Jackie's oldest daughter Grace. Grace has a major role in some of the crises facing Jackie and Jerins nails the performance each and every time.

The bottom line is Nurse Jackie is TV entertainment at its best while The Borgias is TV entertainment at its worst.

Nurse Jackie airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on SHOWTIME while The Borgias is same day, same channel at 10 p.m.

Nurse Jackie:
Sampling Period: 4/15/2013 at 12:01AM - 5/15/2013 at 11:59PM



The Borgias:
Sampling Period: 4/15/2013 at 12:01AM - 5/15/2013 at 11:59PM