|Acting Their Middle Age|
'The Borgias' and 11 other shows that have mined medieval times
By Kenny Herzog
Not that long ago in pop culture history, the Middle Ages were merely fodder for amateur re-enactors and employees at theme restaurants. But the period has experienced a renaissance (pun very much intended) of late on the small screen, and in gripping fashion.
Almost nowhere is this more evident than in "The Borgias," Showtime's dramatic imagining of Italy's notorious Borgia family, who exist in the Renaissance-era but rule like it's still Medieval times. The series returned for a second season of violence, corruption and juicy entertainment on Sunday, April at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Of course, if one looks deep into TV's archives, "Borgias" is far from alone when it comes to scenarios and characters that exist in that unwieldy period between the 5th and 15th centuries. Whether it's HBO's mammoth "Game of Thrones" saga or a group of cuddly blue cartoons called "The Smurfs," here are 11 dramas, adventures, fantasy epics and, yes, even Saturday morning favorites that captured the sorcery, pageantry and volatility of early to mid-A.D.