Between worries about dwindling viewership and Showtime's plan to launch another Vatican-oriented series later this year, it seems like the channel may be putting itself in a position to push out "The Borgias." And star Jeremy Irons isn't exactly making himself appealing to some of his fans, given his controversial comments about gay marriage (even if he did later clarify his statements).
If "The Borgias" is destined to get the ax this season, Showtime will likely put another period drama into production; this would grant the network some prestige and publicity during awards show season.
Showtime definitely has a signature approach to period dramas. Both "The Borgias" and "The Tudors" featured a blend of sex, politics, and religious conflict, so it's likely that the next Showtime period drama project will also highlight these themes. Bearing that in mind, here are some historical time periods that would be a perfect setting for Showtime's next historical drama.
"The Shoguns": Japan in the 1600sThis series would focus on relations between the Japanese and Dutch merchants in the 1600s, just prior to a Christian rebellion against the Tokugawa shogunate that the Dutch helped to quell. There was plenty of religious and political tension in this period as Eastern and Western cultures clashed, and the show has plenty of sexy potential between geishas and Dutch merchants.
"Charlemagne": Europe in the 700sThis isn't the first time this TV fan has suggested that Showtime pursue a historical drama inspired by Charlemagne, who ruled the Franks from 768 on. This show would have a lot in common with "The Borgias": power struggles, fratricide, and a leader who can't stop his womanizing ways. Very few historical dramas have been set in this time period, making it a fairly unique addition to the TV landscape.
"David": A Bible-inspired taleThe History Channel had great success with their recent miniseries "The Bible," and the quality of short-lived shows like "Kings" prove that people love stories inspired by the Bible. The biblical account of David is a logical choice; there's action when David fights Goliath, intrigue when Saul wants David dead, and sexy drama when David has an affair with Bathsheba.
"The Ottomans": Turkey in the 1920sCovering the last few decades of the Ottoman Empire's existence, Showtime could easily sell this period drama as "Downton Abbey" set in the Middle East. Given the global political climate, Americans are more interested in the Middle East than ever before.
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