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I am not sure how many of you have been watching, but HBO’s Rome has managed to start off a lot better than I previously would have imagined. As somebody who studied the Roman republic and the Empire, I have no problem getting into the story. Historical accuracy is as good as one can expect these days, but I thought that the amount of time spent on a lot of the background history that preceded the first episode was not sufficient for any casual viewer to really get excited about. In fact, I would have to say it would bore most people to death. It looks like I was wrong, or HBO doesn’t care, because the series has been picked up for a second season. And lucky for those of us who are into the show, the second season won’t air until 2007 (note the sarcasm, HBO producers).
One of the reasons why the show might be doing better than I expected is that the acting is quite good. (I’ll have to make room on my crush list for Bollywood star Indira Varma as well.) It’s easy to get into what is happening with the main characters, but again, the problem is that you have no sense about the epic nature of what his happening around them. You really don’t care as much about what is happening to Caesar, Atia, Pompey et. al. as much as you want to know about the soldiers and the pawns of the politicians, and their regular lives away from the mess the elites are making. There is a fair amount of sex, although in true Roman fashion the woman is there pretty much as a receptacle. Expect plenty of violence, including a great scene where a doctor performs brain surgery on a man while the neighbors watch and laugh as the pus drains out of this guy’s skull.
I tell you all of this because if you haven’t had a chance to watch it, or have missed an episode, HBO will be replaying the first three parts of the series tonight, starting at 8PM Eastern and again on HBO West at 8PM Pacific.