Monday, April 10, 2006

Rome on HBO

I spent Friday evening and the majority of Saturday enjoying a Rome marathon. Rome is a series on HBO there are 12 episodes in this first season. The series is some of the best television I have ever seen, not surprising since it’s made in collaboration with the BBC and the last time I sat through a Roman marathon was the BBC series “I, Claudius”. The intrigue, the characterizations, the action, the sex – simply great. The story is as follows from the Rome website:

The series begins in 52 BC, as Gaius Julius Caesar completes his conquest of Gaul after eight years of war, and prepares to return with his army to Rome. While Caesar's self-interested niece Atia and long-lost paramour Servilia anxiously await the general's return, ruling patricians despair that Caesar's homecoming will disrupt the status quo, and threaten the extravagant prosperity they've enjoyed at the expense of the lower class. In the Senate, old-guard leaders plot to undermine Caesar's influence by convincing his old friend, Pompey Magnus, that the general is a threat. Back at the front, two mismatched soldiers, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, see their fortunes rise following several serendipitous missions. As Caesars legions move closer to Rome, allegiances are put to the test for soldiers and civilians - and the escalating tensions climax with a full-scale conflict destined to change history.

What really sold me on this show was the authenticity that went into the writing. While there are good and evil characters, most of the Judeo-Christian ethics that we seem to naturally feel are the basis of a functioning society are non existent. The Romans have their own codes of ethics and honor and from our modern day standpoint they might as well be from Mars- there are universal themes such as honor and duty to family, but the way they approach these are completely alien. And as to your morals, well hang them at the door because Rome is a wild ride in a culture at the height of their hedonism. And lest we forget who we are, I have to say the fight scenes ROCK! Forget “Gladiator” Rome has one of the coolest, most brutal Gladiatorial battles you’ve ever seen. Titus Pullo (my favorite character in the series) kicks some major ass! I just checked Amazon dot com and the Rome series DVD isn’t out yet but once it hits the shelves I heartily recommend it.