Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rome (2005 & 2007)

Since Christmas I've had the opportunity to see all of both seasons of the HBO series Rome and I was just as impressed by the entire work as I was by the two episodes I saw back in November. I am not a classicist or a Roman-era archaeologist, so I may have missed some things, but it's the most amazing visual re-creation of a distant time and place I've ever seen. The writing and acting were mostly excellent. There were very few places where I thought the producers and directors were pandering to modern prejudices and preconceptions. All in all, one of the best video presentations of anything I've ever seen. For instance, the episode where Pompey dies was riveting. There was so much in it, and it worked perfectly.

I had my disappointments. In an effort to avoid Cranky Academic Syndrome, I'll mention only one. There were no Greek elements in the presentation of Egypt, Alexandria, or Cleopatra's court. It wouldn't have taken more than a few Greek references to make me happy.

Warning: Rome is full of sex, brutality, and a fair amount of brutal sex. And very few characters, even your favorites, abstain from doing something horrible, generally murder.

Image: Kerry Condon playing Octavia; there are worse things than being a parasitic, drugged-out daughter of the upper class.

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Blogger Colin Archbell said...

This is probably the best historical drama ever produced, and I hope the cost of production will not deter HBO from making other shows of the same epic genre.

I really admire how they filmed this series in Italy, used Italian extras, and if you use the feature 'all roads lead to Rome' (or something along those lines), they give a ton of information about Roman life.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Ancarett said...

I'm glad you've had the chance to see it all. Like you, I'm a big fan of this both as entertainment and as a historical take on the subject. When I compare this to the travesty of "The Tudors", I want to weep with frustration. "Rome" is great TV dramatization and had the producers of "The Tudors" wanted to do so, they could have gone that direction.

Oh well!

4:31 PM  

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