Originally, season 1 was going to have ten episodes, but according to Neil Jordan they ran out of money and had to adapt to nine.
The show was originally going to have four seasons, but when Neil Jordan thought about doing the fourth season, he didn't have the energy or even story to do ten episodes. Instead of that, he said Showtime that he could wrap up everything in a two-hour TV-Movie. He even wrote the screenplay, but the network refused, arguing it was too expensive and the season 3 ending worked as a series finale.
If you were to pause right after the scene where Pope Alexander IV and his Cardinals are seated for their meal (at around 15 mins), John Maybury (the director) has them seated reflecting Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper'.
(at around 15 mins) During the dinner in which the Pope says there is still 15 days of lent. Once the shot changes to a general shot the cardinals position themselves like the apostles in Da Vinci's "last super"