In this British historical drama, the turbulent transition from Roman republic to autocratic empire, which changed world history through civil war and wars of conquest, is sketched both from the aristocratic viewpoint of Julius Caesar, his family, his adopted successor Octavian Augustus, and their political allies and adversaries, and from the politically naive viewpoint of a few ordinary Romans, notably the soldiers Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo and their families.Written by
Because episode three is 37 minutes long, it was hard for BBC2 to schedule in the UK, and it was also felt that the short running time would make the episode feel curiously light. The first three episodes were therefore edited down into episodes one and two for the UK. This was mostly achieved by trimming within existing scenes; few scenes were actually lost. The final two episodes of the first series were also edited into a single double-length episode, possibly because it was around the Christmas period and was easier to fit into the holiday schedule than two regular-length slots. See more »
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.
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