The Daily Parker

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Neil Jordan was right

The Showtime series The Borgias will end its three-year run next week, mainly due to salaries increasing while ratings decrease. But creator Neil Jordan also understood the story had ended:

[W]hile filming a pivotal scene in the Season 3 finale, Jordan said [Jeremy] Irons turned to him and told him that “this feels like the end of something, that the family has come to an end.” While mulling a potential fourth season, Jordan said he wasn’t sure he had enough material for 10 episodes and wasn’t sure whether Showtime would want to commit to another season either. “As a compromise, I proposed to finish the arc of all the characters with a two-hour movie,” Jordan said, adding that Showtime commissioned the script and he wrote it. “When they looked at what it could cost, it was just too expensive,” he said.

Having just finished the penultimate episode of the series, I might go farther: the final scene of tonight's episode was, in fact, the technical climax[1] of the story. I would have liked more of this story; but tonight, the central conflict—the driving force of the story—resolved.

But what is it about penultimates in modern television fiction, though? Every Game of Thrones season builds up to Episode 9 and then uses Episode 10 to set up the next season. It's becoming a trope.

Ah, show business.

Let me say that again: show business.[2]

I plan to write more about the connection between The Borgias and that last bit there. For now, let me just say: Babylon 5, The Prisoner, and Lost. Three great stories, none of them finished right. (But J. Michael Straczynski at least had a plan.)

[1] The technical climax of a story is the point where the story can only go in one direction from that point. The dramatic climax is the payoff. For example: in The Godfather (one of the best films ever made, as far as I'm concerned), the technical climax happens when Michael visits his father in the hospital, and says, "I'm with you now, Papa." The dramatic climax occurs during the baptism. If you don't know what I mean, you really need to watch this movie.

[2] This is how my dad begins every screenwriting course he teaches. It's shocking to every student in the room. And it's the best description of entertainment I've ever seen.

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