The Lions of Sicily

The Lions of Sicily

TV-MA

hulu

A stunning but slow-paced and sprawling Sicilian dynasty drama

6.6

TV Show

Italy
Italian
Drama
2023
PAOLO GENOVESE
Donatella Finocchiaro, Eduardo Scarpetta, Michele Riondino
400 min

TLDR

I love a good historical romance, but this show takes too long to get there, even if you watch the show with subtitles instead of dubbing.

What it's about

After their family home has been burned down, Paolo and Ignazio Florio uproot their family to Palermo, turning their small Bagnara shop into a booming multi-industry business empire, but when Paolo’s son Vincenzo grows up, and inherits their companies, the arrival of an intriguing woman threatens to disrupt the entire family’s success.

The take

In the previous centuries, people were born into and died without ever being able to change their status. Nobles remained nobles and peasants remained peasants. But around the Renaissance, the idea of commerce and education allowed some leeway for men to reach a higher station, and for the Florios of Sicily, they’re able to reach higher spaces through the sheer force of will. This is an interesting idea, and The Lions of Sicily by Stefania Auci is able to capture it, but its show counterpart falters in depicting this. The sets and costumes are up to par, but the screenplay is unable to balance between the backstories, with the episode slipping confusedly in and between timelines.

What stands out

The Lions of Sicily is based on the real life entrepreneurial family, so understandably, there’s some need to keep the show historically accurate. The sets and costumes are on point, and so are the tropes, as the Florios struggle to deal with gaining social status, despite their accumulated wealth. However, the show takes too long to get to the romance, which is what the show is entirely marketed on. The first two episodes take its sweet, sweet time to get there, fleshing out the nobility’s disdain for the Florios, which is boggling, because the main romance isn’t the forbidden love between a noble and a man of commerce– it’s one between an entrepreneurial heir and someone whose status can bring back the family to its less influential status. On top of the boggling soundtrack choices, and the confusing way the backstories are balanced, the show falters in depicting what should be the highlight of the story, which is the family’s cutthroat ambition.

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