It should come as no surprise that the forthcoming Starz series “Da Vinci’s Demons,” which premieres on the cable channel on April 12, was created by the co-writer of “The Dark Knight Rises” David S. Goyer, because judging by the show’s trailer (embedded below) it portrays the Florentine artist and inventor as something between a superhero, a Holmesian detective, and his namesake Ninja Turtle.
In the vein of the short-lived “Young Indiana Jones Chronicles,” the premise of “Da Vinci’s Demons” seems to be to follow the young artist’s adventures. Going by the outrageous trailer these seem to involve creating a magical steampunk bird, furiously sketching diagrams for inventions and then throwing them dramatically into a fireplace, fleeing from sword-wielding aggressors in a Jack Sparrovian fashion, manufacturing weapons for the pope, and bedding babes with James Bond-like frequency.
The show, in which Leonardo is played by Tom Riley — who co-starred alongside Carmen Electra in the 2007 porn industry satire “I Want Candy” — sets said adventures within the larger political conflict between the decadent and sorcery-loving Medicis and the puritanical papacy. Its title, an SEO-baiting mashup of the titles of Dan Brown’s two Leonardo-related novels — “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons” — hints at some dark secret haunting the young artist. What that might be, aside from a fear of never getting his work into the Louvre’s permanent collection, is anybody’s guess.
— Benjamin Sutton