The first season of The Borgias is over, the first season of Camelot ends next week, and the first season of Game of Thrones is barreling towards its finale.
I've watched every episode of each, some more than once because of my nasty tendency to fall sound asleep as soon as I go horizontal on the sofa.
My whole damn family has this tendency, by the way. If the four of us were to gather in the same room and we each had our own sofa and you turned on the TV, we would all fall sound asleep and probably snore in harmony. I fear we have all passed this gene on to our children, but I'm not sure about that (except for SonnyeBoy; he definitely inherited it). Would any of my younger family members care to confirm my suspicion?
But I digress. Back to the hysterical costume dramas.
First, let's sum up. The Borgias is based on actual historical people, the rather murderous Borgia family. Camelot is based on the Arthurian legends. Game of Thrones is based on a fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, by G.R.R. Martin.
I've liked Game of Thrones the best, with The Borgias a close second. Camelot, alas! I have mixed feelings.
Because they're all on premium channels, there's sex and violence aplenty in all three. So, let's rate them on their sexiness and violence-iness.
Best sex scene: Game of Thrones, the scene between Khal Drogo and Danerys where they look at each other and proceed to... well, whew!
Ickiest sex scene: Game of Thrones, the scene where we see Jamie Lannister and HIS SISTER EEWW having sex.
Murder, Battles, and Assorted Gore: The Borgias. Lots of poisonings, stabbings, floggings, battles. However, I think Game of Thrones may overtake The Borgias in this category; it's already had a horse beheading, severed body parts, and a spurting carotid artery resulting from a jousting death. Camelot has had a few minor battles and swordplay, and a couple of gruesome deaths by magical invention. Overall, however, the gore factor has been minimal.
Humor: The Borgias wins this category, if only for the scene where Rodrigo, after being elected Pope, has to prove he's male.
Flawed heroes: Although the writers have amped up the flawedness of King Arthur and Merlin, I still have to give this one to The Borgias. I mean, really -- Rodrigo bought the papacy, poisoned his enemies, set up his son as a cardinal, and yet he loved all of his illegitimate children fiercely.
Acting: Game of Thrones, hands down. Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Jason Momoa, the whole cast is excellent. Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia was terrific, though; and Joseph Fiennes as Merlin is very good.
Magic: Camelot. I do like that Merlin's not an old man with a long white beard and pointy hat. The writers have given Morgan magical skills (evil), which adds a nice touch.
So why did I like Game of Thrones best? The story and acting. Although the story is complex, the show is doing a good job of making it understandable and followable.
And why am I lukewarm about Camelot? Well, I've read an awful lot of Arthurian legend -- I even took a course on it. I don't mind that they've changed a lot of the common thread of the legend, but I wish that the plot moved along quicker. Too much time is wasted on scenery shots, for example.
Mostly, though, I kept thinking through the whole series that surely, somewhere in the whole of Camelot, that King Arthur could have found a comb.