One of the more interesting things about The Young Pope is what it’s trying not to be, as opposed to what it’s actually trying to be. A show about a 40 something Cardinal (Jude Law) who winds up as the youngest Pope in modern times, and the first American, the show has a couple of interesting bents to it. It wants to be a sort of dramatic, behind the scenes look at the Vatican through the eyes of the most powerful clergy in the world … but it also wants to distract you with some really weird stuff throughout, as well. It makes for an interesting, if flawed, look at the world behind the Papacy.
Lenny (Law) is an average American cardinal whose mentor (James Cromwell) was supposed to be the man to inherit the Papacy … and then Lenny wound up becoming the next Pope. Assumed he could be controlled by the reigning older guard of the Vatican, the now Pope Pius XIII proves to be a Pope beyond their control. Wanting to do away with many of the modern traditions, the first series of show focuses on Pius/Lenny and his desire to reassert a more conservative Catholicism as he figures out the world he has inherited as the head of modern Christendom.
The show has a vibe that’s reminiscent of The Wire and Game of Thrones but without the necessary violence that accompanies those shows; this is about the machinations of power and those trying to save theirs in the face of someone looking to radically change the system.
Law really shines in the show; Lenny is a complicated man trying to figure out matters of faith, and leadership, while having to lead billions worldwide as their leader in spirituality. He’s a different kind of Pope and no one knows quite how to handle him. It makes for an interesting dynamic; all of the rules for how a Pope handles being the Pope are out and everyone is scrambling to figure out their place.
The Young Pope is an interesting show so far that has signs of being something substantial.
An EPK piece and a generic behind the scenes highlight some passable extras.
HBO presents The Young Pope (Season 1). Starring Jude Law. Run Time: 600 minutes. Not Rated. Released on:6.6.17
Tags: Diane KEaton, James Cromwell, jude law, The Young Pope