No one knows what Leonardo da Vinci was like. The guy lived 500 years ago. All that’s left are his paintings and manuscripts. That’s why the re-imagined genius is perfect in drama fantasy Da Vinci’s Demons (2013-2015).
The creators chose a youthful Leonardo rather than the greying, balding guy from Da Vinci’s self-portraits. And the show is actually a lot of fun because it doesn’t take itself too seriously while still keeping true to Da Vinci’s legacy.
Tom Riley plays Leo, who has days filled with commissions and other important matters, only to land in trouble thanks to his connection to the ruling Medici family or daydreaming with that incredible mind, visually dissecting everything he sees, writing with his right hand while drawing with his left at the same time. Plus, our hero has vices: women, and smoking opium to dull his senses so that he can get a break from his “demon” of being smarter than everyone else.
It’s fancy on the outside, and while it may, at times, feel a bit formulaic, variety.com’s Brian Lowry says: “Riley’s anachronistic Da Vinci feels as much like a Silicon Valley eccentric as a 15th-Century artist/inventor, but it’s still a good deal of fun, while indulging in all the lusty debauchery one expects from period dramas.”