Leonardo Da Vinci Gets Television Series: No Turtles In Sight

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Leonardo Da Vinci Gets Television Series: No Turtles In Sight

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trade News | October 16, 2012 | Comments ()


Besides his later career as a Ninja Turtle, Leonardo Da Vinci is perhaps best known for his work painting final dinners and strange looking women with no eyebrows. Oh and there was that stupid book about a code, but I hardly think that we can lay Dan Brown's hackish keyboard stomping at the feet of the Renaissance Master to end all Renaissance Masters.

But what Da Vinci should really be remembered for more, based on nothing but my own internal biases, is that he invented half the things in the modern world. We still don't know most of what he invented, as half of his famed notebooks have never been discovered. He made discoveries animal, vegetable, and mineral, but mostly just jotted them down without publishing them. And then there were the endless designs of machines, those that would fly and crawl and swim. Most were never constructed, but the dreams this man must have had, this prototypical science fiction man.

Starz (which I still don't quite believe isn't the name of a premium porn channel) has picked up a television series based on the life of Da Vinci. Namely, it's focusing on his younger years when he was swashbuckling and such:

Here's show runner David Goyer explaining the series:

Today, when many people imagine Da Vinci, they think of the old man depicted in his purported self-portrait. But he was so much more than that -- a vibrant, athletic, and attractive man, by most accounts. Possibly the greatest genius that ever lived. But also, a trickster, a remarkable rider and swordsman -- a vegetarian in an age when that was unheard of. Even more intriguing, there seem to be 'missing years' in Da Vinci's life. Periods where there are conflicting accounts as to his whereabouts. Better yet, of the alleged 13,000 notebook pages authored by him, only about half of those are known to have survived.

So what happened in those missing years and missing pages? We know Da Vinci invented the helicopter, the machine gun, the tank, the diving suit--and many, many other remarkable devices. Surely, in those missing pages, there were many other remarkable devices that have been lost to time, right?

In a nutshell, those hidden years and pages comprise the DNA of the show. That's what I pitched to Starz and I'm grateful that they've indulged me on this crazy journey. I've been having the time of my life. There will be action, mystery, puzzles, conspiracies -- huge, heaping chunks of Joseph Campbell mythology. It's a big swing, but I think we've managed to pull it off.

I'm calling it historical fantasy because there are definitely moments where we veer away from the facts. But not as many as you might think.

I can't quite decide if this is going to be some fantastic channelling of Doctor Who into the Middle Ages, or if it's going to be nothing more than those interminable syndicated shows on UPN that always seemed to star Bruce Campbell during the late nineties.

(source: Blastr)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Dragonchild

    In a nutshell, and just like all things TV, I get the feeling they're trying to capture the attraction and intrigue without even a passing interest in the passion that drives the man. You don't make 13,000 pages of drawings and notes unless you have an insatiable thirst for discovery.
    The "DNA" of the show focuses on what we DON'T know he did?? It's like a little kid thinking he can improve a cake by replacing all the actual cake with icing, not understanding why one gives meaning to the other.

  • Strand

    Sounds like a colossal shitshow and Starz has only ever produced either guilty pleasures (Spartacus) or turds (Camelot).

  • bleujayone

    Only slightly better than if they had cast Yahoo Serious as the Renaissance Man himself. I guess crapping on one of humankind's other genius minds already was enough for his career.

  • Yocean

    Could be interesting, though Joseph Campbell name-dropping and saying "DNA of the show" makes me weary. I hate when someone describe a show's themes that way. It usually is an attempt to make the show sound more intelligent than what it is and it never sound as catchy as it does in the heads of those whoe use this expression. Urg.

  • BWeaves

    I think Leo drew a lot of things that had already been invented. He's sometimes credited with inventing the treadle / flyer spinning wheel, despite the fact that it existed before he drew it. I think he was just facinated with machines and how they worked.

    Are they going to show him as the gay guy he was? He lived with a young man he called the spawn of Satan for twenty years. Or are they going to make him into a hot, macho guy?

  • marigi

    I was asking myself the same thing. He was gay and had many lovers among the young pupils in his workshop. Maybe they'll have him in a "bromance" to get away with it...

  • AudioSuede

    Of course, the fact that he's Italian won't get in the way of this production at all, will it? They'll just make everyone British, right?

    Problem solved.

  • Green Lantern

    This sounds stupid and fraught with issues. No thanks, Pornz.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    Oh, this could be very fun if they go with a Sherlock vibe rather than a Dan Brown vibe. Plus, I really like the idea of dispensing with the "tortured artist" archetype (that seems to have primarily sprung from Van Gogh) and replacing it with something less emo.

  • Groundloop

    I imagine "Sherlock Vibe" and "Dan Brown Vibe" could be found in the sex toy section of Borderz, the premium adult video store chain.

  • zeke_the_pig


  • competitivenonfiction

    "The Thinking Woman's Adult Shop"

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    Maybe Aaron Paul could get cast as the lead in this?

  • Mr_Zito

    The guy is a genius, invented everything, but he gets a show because he is athletic and attractive! That's great, Starz.

  • Fredo

    I can’t quite decide if this is going to be some fantastic channelling
    of Doctor Who into the Middle Ages, or if it’s going to be nothing more
    than those interminable syndicated shows on UPN that always seemed to
    star Bruce Campbell during the late nineties.

    Hey, don't you dare knock Jack of All Trades. That show was goofy but good.

    And since we're going for a Dr. Who comparison...David Tennant as Da Vinci?

  • Socrates_Johnson

    It turns out Da Vinci is actually John Bly!

  • jen

    Yeah, you say Bruce Campbell like it's a bad thing. Sounds like win/win to me!

  • Irina

    Starz (which I still don’t quite believe isn’t the name of a premium porn channel)

    Never seen an episode of Spartacus, have ya?

  • zeke_the_pig

    You can't even lay the blame for the Da Vinci Code at Dan Brown's feet. Unless you count Dan Brown falling asleep and letting his epileptic cat dance across the keyboard as his fault. Which I guess you could. At the very least he could've edited the damn thing before publishing.

  • Groundloop

    Hey! Mr. Whiskers is doing the best he can! He can't help that he has health issues!


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