If you were a fan of the Showtime series The Borgias, it will take a lot to be shocked by anything suggested by The Young Pope. A strange, rogue pope with his own sense of right and wrong, which he only later, privately attempts to justify with the Almighty (and usually does what he wants anyway) is the hallmark of many a historical pope — or so we are told. But HBO’s series leads with a modern, fictional one (Jude Law‘s Pope Pius XIII), even though his actions seem more in line with popes of an earlier age than the reformed Catholic church of Pope John Paul II and Vatican II.
The Young Pope adds an additional layer to this story with the inclusion of Diane Keaton as a nun who raised Pius and helped him ascend to the papacy — is she really in control? The new trailer suggests that Pius is looking for the ultimate power grab and feels fully empowered to do so. “Everyone is afraid of you,” Keaton’s Sister Mary says to him. “That’s not exactly true,” he icily replies. “But it will be.”
The ornate series will probably bring some controversy with it, although Paolo Sorrentino may also make it a meditation on faith in a modern world. Check out the new trailer below:
Sorrentino will be directing all 10 episodes, which is usually a great thing that lends a lot of visual continuity to the story. The limited series looks ornate, dark, and full of intrigue, yet its story is still a bit mysterious. Still, it’s currently one of the most promising new series of 2017, and HBO is surely hoping it gives their network a solid drama anchor in the ratings through the winter.
The Young Pope premieres Sunday, January 15th at 9 p.m. Here’s the official synopsis:
THE YOUNG POPE tells the controversial story of the beginning of PIUS XIII’s Pontificate. Born Lenny Belardo, he is a complex and conflicted character, so conservative in his choices as to border on obscurantism, yet full of compassion towards the weak and poor. He is a man of great power who is stubbornly resistant to the Vatican courtiers, unconcerned with the implications to his authority. During the series, Belardo will face losing those closest to him and the constant fear of being abandoned, even by his God. He is, however, not afraid of undertaking the millennial mission of defending that same God and the world representing Him.