Buh-Bye Da Vinci’s Demons


This show falls firmly into the category of “the things I do for you people.” Except I only tried one episode and was so annoyed that I didn’t try any further. Yep, it’s that bad. Incredibly silly fantasy story with incredibly bad fantasy costumes, all vaguely very loosely hung on the very barest of a historical framework. Speaking as someone who finds Reign amusing as a soap opera, this just made me want to throw things at the TV. Does it get better? I don’t care! And now, with this third season available online as of October 24, 2015, Da Vinci’s Demons is leaving TV and good riddance. Maybe we’ll revisit during Snark Week. Until then, here is all you need to know…

  1. Leonardo da Vinci is searching for the Book of Leaves so he can see into the future or something. This is the BS fantasy part of the story that doesn’t really matter, so I didn’t pay much attention.
Da Vinci's Demons, Leonardo & Lucrezia

They’re not even trying with the costumes here.

Da Vinci's Demons, Nico

At least Leonardo’s sidekick Nico has balls.

Da Vinci's Demons

Is that the Iron Throne? Nope, if it were, then we’d get costumes that at least made sense for each character.

  1. Leonardo wears mostly leather jackets and pants. He’s not unattractive in them, I’ll say that much. This is just another part of the BS fantasy, I guess, like most of the costuming.
Da Vinci's Demons, Leonardo da Vinci

Carefully designed to resemble a historical figure from 15th-century Florence not one bit.

Da Vinci's Demons, Leonardo da Vinci

The red silk shirt adds a jaunty touch tho’. Makes me wonder, is the International Male catalog still around?

Da Vinci's Demons, Leonardo da Vinci

Leo must have a full array of leather jackets for every occasion & in every color.

  1. The two main women — Lucrezia Donati, a sort-of love interest, and Clarice Orsini, a sort-of antagonist — wear ridiculous dresses that would fit right in at a fantasy-steampunk ball or Society for Creative Anachronism event. Or occasionally, a prom (I mean, a legit prom, not a haute couture prom like Reign; btw, I’d rather look at Alexander McQueen gowns than this junk).
Da Vinci's Demons, Lucrezia Donati

The sad thing here is that the guy to the right of Lucrezia is wearing a decently 15th-c. Florentine costume (down to a pretty historical pouch). While she’s dressed like a drag queen who hasn’t yet done her makeup.

Da Vinci's Demons, Lucrezia Donati

The only good thing I can say about this is that I don’t see obvious metal grommets (tho’ I think they used painted-orange metal eyelets, which are essentially the same thing).

Da Vinci's Demons, Lucrezia Donati

This, I actually like. It’s fabulous, & there’s an excuse for it, because Lucrezia is dressed for a carnevale ball. Not that it’s anything even remotely close to what was worn during the period to masked balls, of course.

Da Vinci's Demons, Lucrezia Donati

Off-the-rack medieval-oid fantasy gown. Inaccurate AND boring.

Da Vinci's Demons, Clarice Orsini

This yellow gown on Clarice offends me. It’s like they’re going out of their way to screw up historical shapes.

Da Vinci's Demons, Clarice Orsini

Off the shoulders??? HULK SMASH!!!

Da Vinci's Demons, Clarice Orsini

Bought at David’s Bridal. Also, what is this show’s deal with sticking necklaces on all the women’s heads?

Da Vinci's Demons, Clarice Orsini

It’s a promo shot, so I’ll give them the zebra-print chaise. But what the hell does this embroidered caftan & head-necklace have to do with 15th-c. Florentine fashion?

Da Vinci's Demons, Clarice Orsini

The most historical gown Clarice wears (tho’ it’s more 16th-c. than 15th), but it doesn’t fit. *headdesk*

  1. There’s a lot of sex and nudity, which, fine OK, premium cable, I get it, I watch Game of Thrones, I’m far from being a prude. But I can’t tell if Da Vinci’s Demons uses sex/nudity to advance the plot or as an excuse for skimpy costuming. Because look at this crap.
Da Vinci's Demons

Da Vinci & pals travel to the New World & get waylaid by sexy Inca girls. Uh-huh.

Da Vinci's Demons, Vanessa

Because, art?

  1. Open shirts and doublets, no smocks/chemises worn under gowns, unstyled hair, weird fabric choices — you know the drill. Obviously, they aren’t really trying for historically accurate costuming here, and the costuming isn’t particularly good at world-building or defining the characters either. I can’t tell that there’s a specific creative vision holding this mess together. Hell, I don’t find the costumes especially pretty or visually interesting most of the time.
Da Vinci's Demons, Girolamo Riario

I guess Girolamo Riario is supposed to be a baddie, so that’s why he gets totally modern pointed collars slapped onto his cloak.

Da Vinci's Demons, Giuliano Medici

Giuliano Medici wears a Versace shirt — because that’s Italian & designer, so it’s accurate. *eyeroll*

Da Vinci's Demons

Barn door’s open, dudes.

Da Vinci's Demons, Vanessa

Where do we start? With the crop-top bodice? The slash pockets? The sleeveless smock? Or should we just be grateful for the lack of big honkin’ metal grommets?

Da Vinci's Demons, Lorenzo Medici

In what world does Lorenzo the Magnificent wear panne velvet? Oh right.


So good-bye, Da Vinci’s Demons. I’m not sorry I didn’t get to know you better.

18 Responses

  1. EMS

    Yikes! Costume wise this reminds me of Young Blades (hilariously bad Canadian 3 Musketeers spin-off that only lasted one brief season), but at least that was campy, ridiculous fun. This doesn’t look at all fun…

    • Trystan L. Bass

      I really needed to be campier. See, I find Reign to be pretty darn campy & fun (Catherine de Medici chews the hell outta that scenery!), but Da Vinci, ugh, just ploddingly dull.

  2. Stephani

    Why do they do this to us? Don’t they love us? I might have to rewatch The Borgias just to get this muck out of my head…

  3. Meg

    “3. The two main women […] wear ridiculous dresses that would fit right in at a fantasy-steampunk ball or Society for Creative Anachronism event.”

    Um. I’m confused. Is there *really* somewhere in the world where these Magrat Garlick, acres-of-chiffon-with-fake-flowers-and-boobs type creations would be seen at an SCA event? o.O #DoNotGrok #ConfuzAndAppalled #iHeartLochac

    • Trystan L. Bass

      Pennsic? Isn’t that where ppl break out the elf ears & fairy wings ‘n crap? I don’t know, I live in the West Kingdom, where we alternate between exacting 16th-c. garb & saggy Viking tunics (also, as renfaire-first gal, I reserve the right to forever mock my SCA pals :) ).

      • Lady Hermina De Pagan

        Actually, those are only worn at Pennsic during the Blue Feather’s Ball. Hell I’ve seen Link and TeleTubbies there. Mostly you see a crap ton of kilted men with no shirts, women in “bog dresses” ie caftans, Roman Tunicas, stolas, chitions, or choli tops and petticoats. Mostly anything that breaths in the heat and humidity. Btw, if you do evet get to war, my barony camps right behind the West Kingdom encampment. Just stroll over and say hello. We can share some wine and snark the garb.

  4. Susan Pola Staples

    I agree about the costumes being atrocious. The SCA does better, and I’ve seen better at their events and at Ren faires. Furthermore, the show didn’t devote any time to Da Vinci’s alleged or actual homosexuality. He was brought before Florence’s judiciary. Got off bc of his Medici connections. Also one of the other charged had closer ties to the PTBs.

    Reign might be a tad better. They don’t pretend they’re accurate.

  5. Isis

    I’m in awe that you managed a whole episode! I could only stomach a half…

  6. Woodstockgurl

    I’m so confused by all her clothing. I assume the costumers make her clothing for her, correct? So why are her boobs falling out in one dress and strangled into submission in another? Was she not available for fittings before her scenes were shot? Inquiring minds want to know.

  7. Lisa

    My husband likes “DaVinci’s Demons”. Pretty sure it’s for the boobs and sex. I try not to laugh at the costumes. Chemists anyone? Anyone?

  8. Kim S.

    What is that blue outfit made of? Reads like cambric or crap denim on my cellphone. So much wrong in one outfit…

  9. Brandy Loutherback

    That yellow fugly gown. Maybe they got drunk and looked at a picture of Belle’s yellow gown in Beauty and the Beast

  10. saffireblu

    There were only two historically accurate things that I saw in all of these pictures; Giuliano’s pendant & the badge on Lorenzo’s cloak, because that’s the Medici coat of arms.

    Seriously, who signs off on this sh*t?!
    Was the story of LEONARDO DA FRICKIN’ VINCI in need of ‘spicing up’?
    If I want a fictional story with Leonardo, I’ll watch ‘Ever After’.
    I’m glad this steaming pile passed me by – I might one day watch it with friends, as a drinking game…