HBO's "Rome" is perhaps one of the best historical TV shows there ever was and one of the best HBO has ever produced.Set during the first century B.C., this TV show tells the tale of two Romans serving in the army, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pollo. Vorenus in a strict, humorless and hard-working centurion, expecting his troops to obey him and is a loyal citizen of Rome. Pollo is muscular, carefree, party-loving, and womanizing, yet he is also a faithful, trustworthy friend, loyal companion, and overall lovable character. These two military men serve in Julius Caesar's army and live during a time of turmoil in Rome.Originally planned as a TV miniseries, "Rome" has become an actual TV show. This TV show is mostly fictional, but it incorporates historical characters like Caesar, Pompey, Cato, Mark Anthony, and Atia, the most of Octavian, soon to become Rome's first emperor, Augustus. It is a time when the Roman Republic is corrupt, and high-ranking Romans like Julius Caesar and Pompey fight for power. The historical events in Rome are told thru the eyes of Vorenus and Pollo.The script is intelligent and realistic, with some profanity, violence, and decadence. Unlike most portrayals of Rome, which tend to be clean and sanitize things, this is a graphic portrayal of Ancient Rome, complete with drunkards, brawlers, womanizers, prostitutes, adulterers, fornication, and loads of sexual acts. This TV series do not attempt to hide the dirty aspects of the Roman Empire. Rather, it is a honest depiction of the Empire, portraying its decadence and wickedness.As for the production, one word - great! The sets are huge and realistic, with the viewer feeling as if he/she is in the middle of the scene. The costumes, too, are realistic and accurate. The sets, props, and costumes, etc. show signs of research. The actors and actresses did a great job, too, portraying their characters realistically.Overall, this is a great series. I will be expecting more seasons of this.
I Claudius was maybe the best miniseries ever. Now, there's Rome, and it's even better. I agree with another reviewer, that quibbles about historical inaccuracies, such as accents or how old so-and-so should be, are silly pedantry. I've been a Roman history buff ever since my own high school triumvirate of Caesar, Cicero and Virgil, and I say that this historical fiction is both exciting AND quite accurate with the important stuff.So far, every player has been terrific, in particular Ciarán Hinds as Caesar and Max Pirkis as Octavian. Julius Caesar was perhaps the most complex "great" figure in history. Was he a great populist, trying to champion the people against the Optimates, or was he an ambitious demagogue, who was using the Roman mobs to attain the imperium? Hinds depicts this complexity perfectly, while projecting a steely will that is shared by Caesar's emerging protégé, Octavian. Thanks to Max Pirkis's brilliant portrayal, we can already see the no-nonsense pragmatism, ruthlessness and brilliance that will propel this boy into becoming the greatest despot in history. And what about that dissolute Mark Anthony? We can already see Actium in his face. And with Atia, I think Livia (as depicted in I Claudius) and Messalina have met their match.And midst the struggle for mastery of Rome, we see the struggle of more common folk just to make a living. Rome makes the parallel stories of the Optimates and Centurian, now Prefect, Vorenus and Legionnaire Pullo a perfect vehicle for comparing the travails of different classes their love lives, social lives, how they treated the servants, how they practiced their faiths, how they fought. Seen from these different perspectives (which we did not get with I Claudius), we get a three-dimensional view and, for me, the closest to feeling like one is actually there of any historical fiction ever produced.And look at the production values. Is it any wonder, when we see who's behind the camera Michael Apted and John Milius that we have an immaculately crafted work?By their commitment to quality of production and integrity of story, HBO and BBC are demonstrating what television can be. This is a wonderful, wonderful series. Anyone with a love of history, drama and spectacle should be devouring it with delight.
Great. Loving classical literature and history, and the sometimes ridiculous film genre known as Sword and Sandal, I was thrilled by the first episode - I really feel like I'm getting something very like the grit and feel of the place and the politics for the first time. I've read some stupid comments here that somehow the series is less than authentic because these Romans speak English - and most absurd - that the actors are all too old because the average male died in his 40's. That figure - If true - is skewed tremendously by the fact that many died of childhood maladies that are easily treated today. Many men lived in to their 70's and 80's, especially in the aristocracy. Pompey - one of the oldest in the series - died at something like 58, and his death was anything but natural. Look, some suspension of disbelief is required every time you turn the TV on. I think they've done a great job with this series and I look forward to future episodes.
Even though there has been only one episode so far, I have to say that "Rome" looks to be the best production of ancient Rome I have seen yet. Yes, Gladiator was a cool movie, but it lacked was historical accuracy. "Rome" has brought together what no one though possible: historical accuracy and good production. Octavian is an snide little wimp, but with political brilliance. Marc Antony is an arrogant and drunken man who has a love for brutality. Caesar is cunning and insightful. It's all there! The costuming is great, the dialog is crisp, the character interaction spot on and the plot flows smoothly. What more could you want!? This series is far and above that ABC knock-off "Empire", which couldn't even get Roman troops in proper costume. Every penny of this record-budget ($12 million for 12 episodes I think) series was well spent.
After seeing the first episode, the show promises to be an excellent production showing the civilization and intrigue of the Rome of Julius Caesar. We can't place our own moral code on these characters. They had their own, and are shown living it. When your life depended upon position and knowledge, you did everything you could to put yourself in the best position possible. In an "about the show" program that I saw about "Rome", the actress who plays Atia says that she doesn't feel her character is evil. The character is doing what she has to in order to keep her position and stay alive in that time. Life was hard, and so one didn't have the luxury of being soft. To those who complain about the accents, so what? Why would someone from ancient Rome speak with an Italian accent? Language and dialect evolve over time. Who knows what an ancient Roman accent sounded like? They aren't Italians speaking in English, they are Romans speaking their own Latin dialect. Latin is not Italian. Just ask my old High School Latin teacher. We just happen to have the movie magic version of a Universal Translator, so we can understand them.The sets are perfect, showing a bustling city, full of activity. To those who complain about them, they have to remember that the ruins of ancient Rome that we see today have been scoured clean by the progression of time. The filmmakers felt that ancient Rome would have been more like Bombay, India, and I tend to agree with them.The series shows life as it was in those days. I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops further.
I've become so bored of mainstream television over the last decade that I now make a point of only watching series that are history-related, given my huge love of the subject matter. I missed ROME when it was first shown, but heard so much good about it that I caved in and bought the box set on Blu-ray. I'm so glad I did; believe the hype, ROME is the ultimate in costume drama.The series only lasted for two seasons before cancellation, but every episode is a winner. There are two story strands running through: the big story and the little story. The big story is concerned with the legendary figures of history - in the first season Julius Caesar and his cohorts, and in the second Mark Antony. The little story looks at the minor characters, the soldiers and families involved with the politics of their era.The script crackles with realistic dialogue and the characters are superb. Not just Pullo and Vorenus, but also Atia and her offspring, Brutus and his mother, even the minor players who are awarded little dialogue. Every actor is amazing, with Ciaran Hinds stealing the show in the first series and James Purefoy in the second.I'm pleased that the producers went all-out in making an adult drama, not skimping on the sexual content or the violence. It's hard to pick highlights in a series that never puts a foot wrong, but Pullo's diversion in the gladiator arena is hard to beat in terms of its sheer power. The ending of season two, with Antony descending into madness, is chilling and moving in equal measure.It took a good few years, but I'm pleased to report that TV producers are finally capitalising on ROME's success and beginning to make similar products as they realise a market for adult-focused historical drama. Already we're seeing the likes of SPARTACUS (three series and counting), CAMELOT, GAME OF THRONES, THE BORGIAS and THE TUDORS, each of them indebted to ROME in some way. I'll enjoy watching them, but I doubt any will equal the quality of this.
One of the grand stories of history, Julius Ceasar and the beginnings of the Empire, told in a style which is both compelling and historically accurate. I am an art historian with a particular interest in Ancient Rome, and I find this to be the best evocation of Ancient Rome yet on screen.Rome at the time of Julius Ceasar was the major power in Europe and northern Africa, but it was not yet the great city of the Emperors. For once the set designers have got it right. It is colorful (not the pure white city of Hollywood), squalid, profane, reverent, brutal, and alive with life. We know of the graffiti from ancient sources. We know the outlines of the history, which this series treats very accurately. What we cannot know is the souls of the major actors in this great drama. This mini-series gives us a glimpse into the motivations, both grand and petty, of the people who brought down the Republic but did not quite replace it with the Empire. Not quite yet.Aside from the sets and set decoration, which is superb (first time a Roman insula or apartment building is accurately shown on film to the best of my knowledge), what this series does is give us a sense of the possible motivations behind the historical facts. Is this the way it really was? No one can say. It does fit the historical data we have. What this series does, beyond everything else, is remind us that these figures were people with all the complexity of motivation that we experience in people today. The producers, directors, and actors have admirably avoided the cardboard cut-out and pretentious posturing.Be warned, this mini-series is just as casually brutal and profane as Ancient Rome was. I would not let young children watch it, at least not without serious guidance. I will say that it is just plain excellent and well worth your attention. You will be entertained and informed. It will make you think about characters that we know only distantly from books or from far more conventional Hollywood cardboard characterizations. Unequivocally a great production.
HBO does it again. I got my start with the network back in 1990 with a sitcom called Dream On. From there, I have followed the yellow brick road through Sex and the City, Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Band of Brothers, From the Earth to the Moon and Deadwood (not to mention hours and hours of boxing, documentary specials and tons of movies).HBO now presents a miniseries about the Roman Empire, appropriately called "Rome". The story revolves around the time Julius Ceasar conquers Gaul, and the subsequent years following that (Ceasar's rise to dictator). The series delves into historical and archaeological records, with a dash of artistic licensing to create an environment that seems so real. For the most part the series is divided into 3 parts :1) Julius Caesar's rise to unanimous political power.2) The exploits (in the field and at home) of a Roman officer, Luscious Vorenus, and one of the soldiers under his command (whom becomes his friend), Titus Pollo.3) The various political and social interactions and manipulations of Caesars relatives, namely Atia and her two offspring, Octavian and Octavia.4) Post Caesarian Rome. The production of this series is quite breathtaking. It seems like they took into account so many of the variables ; costumes, jewelry, architecture, religious practices, mannerism, military units, social venues, politics, class structure,etc. to bring the empire back to life in the 21st century. They went as far as to train the extras portraying the Roman soldiers in boot camp fashion. All were to sleep in tents outside and were provided with no modern amenities.This series has something for everyone with a strong stomach and inclination towards the graphic. The show is going for authenticity. This is not Rome seen through the eyes of 21st century people, but rather through they eyes of 1st century BC Romans. It has action, graphic violence, sex, incest, betrayal, murder, Machiavellian scheming, politics, family bonding, war,etc. I just can't begin to describe just how authentic the show feels and how hypnotically captivating it is to watch (especially in High Definition). I can't help but feel that John Milius (as a writer and executive producer) has brought some of the same grit and grime from Conan (albeit with a more historic flavor). Also on the writing credits is work from Entourage, Sex and the City, Band of Brothers and Desperate Housewives.The acting core is quite good, consisting mostly on an English cast with theatrical experience. Their performances are quite good and contains many veterans and some newcomers (at least to me). Such standouts would include : Indira Varma (of Kama Sutra fame) who plays Luscious' wife Niobe, Kerry Condon (whom I first saw in Jet Li's Danny the Dog) as Atti's daughter Octavia, Kenneth Cranham (Jimmy from Layer Cake) as Pompey, Kevin McKidd (from Trainspotting and Dog Soldiers) as Luscious, Polly Walker as Atia and Ray Stevenson as Titus.To add to the authenticity, the series was shot at Cinecitta Studios in Rome. This gives the series an extra flavor. I highly recommend this series, but only for those that can stomach graphic sex, violence and a lot of the Queen's English. It is currently my favorite show, and wishing it could last 1000 years.-Celluloid Rehab
WHY was this series canceled?!!! While waiting for the new season of Game of Thrones to return, my husband and I started watching Rome on demand to stave off our epic genre addiction and we Love it! We were so disappointed to find out that it had been canceled! What a shame and only 2 seasons? Why? Fans FYI: Having never heard of the characters Vorenus and Pullo, I assumed they were probably fictional characters but I did some digging and found that Vorenus and Pullo are only semi-fictional characters and were two of the very few plebeians/soldiers mentioned by Caesar in his writings, whose names appear as 'Titus Pulcio' and 'Lucius Varenus'. The first mention of Varenus and Pulcio comes in Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War. Caesar tells us that the camp of the XIII legion was attacked by the Nervii in 54 BC and was about to be overrun. Pulcio jumped the ramparts to fight hand-to-hand with the Nervii. Varenus, not wanting Pulcio to reap all the glory, then jumps the ramparts too, killing many of enemy. As a demonstration of "brotherly love" and comradeship, they each save the other's life at certain points during the fight. Caesar said it was impossible to decide who was braver.HBO, PLEASE bring Rome back!
I only wish there was more seasons. It has it all, love, war, death
This show is excellent from start to finish. It is the only show that I loved so much that I rushed out to buy the box-set. The acting, all of the casting, the story and character development, the sets, everything was superb. The only point against it is that it ended too soon, it should have been renewed for a few more seasons.