HBO's new drama The Young Pope stars Jude Law as a power-hungry pontiff. The series marks the English debut of the Academy Award winner director Paolo Sorrentino. The series depicts the journey of Pope Pius XIII, a modern fictional pontiff and also the first American Pope.
The 10-episode series opens with a sequence where the Pope Pius XIII is seen emerging from a pile of sleeping babies. After getting elected as the pope, Lenny Belardo (Jude Law), delivers a fresh lecture at the St. Peter's Square about life, happiness, friendship and of course masturbation (though in his dream).
The new pope shatters every expectation of Cardinal Voiello (Silvio Orlando), the Vatican secretary of state, as he does not turn out to be "a telegenic puppet" and a bridge between church conservatives and liberals.
Pope Pius XIII is a pop-culture literate who drinks Cherry Coke Zero. As per Pius, the church has become too tolerant and ecumenical. However, Jude Law aka Lenny believes in prayer although he is not sure if the God is listening.
Rejecting every influence, he installs Sister Mary (Diane Keaton) as the mentor- the nun who raised him as an orphan. Sister Mary's character seems to be very mischievous in the entire series. She prefers to sleep wearing a novelty T-shirt.
The beginning of the season shows the Australian government gifting a kangaroo to the Vatican, but Pius orders to release it into the papal gardens. Later, he runs into the beast on a nighttime walk, and a staring competition ensues.
Jude Law as Pope Pius XIII has pulled of the badass character with elan. He lights up in the papal palace despite John Paul II's no-smoking regulations, "There's a new pope now."
James Cromwell as Pius's jealous mentor, Cardinal Spencer, portrays a very shrewd character beautifully. Diane Keaton's portrayal as Sister Mary is very sharp and arouses intrigue.
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino, The Young Pope is visually stunning. The religious drama is full of surreal moments.
HBO's new drama has already turned a lot of heads with its grand opening. Filled with a lot of dream sequences, the series wallows in imaginative absurdity. The show is definitely going to captivate its audience till the end. The episode 1 and 2 have opened a can of worms. Is the pope a fanatic or a nonbeliever? Is he a Saint or Antichrist? Is he actually using his real power?
The Young Pope premiered on Sunday, January 15 at 9 pm EST Eastern on HBO. The second episode also aired at 9 pm EST on Monday, January 16. Future episodes will be aired on Sundays and Mondays at 9 pm respectively.