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.