Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Why Aren't You Watching ROME? (Or, if you are watching, why aren't you emailing me everyday to talk about it?)

This week's eighth episode of the quintessential HBO series, Rome, was outstanding.

Julius Caesar pursues his enemy, Pompey Magnus, to the shores of Alexandria and the kingdom of Egypt only to find Pompey's head served up on a platter by Egypt's ruler, twelve-year old King Ptolemy. Caesar quickly enforces his authority and sticks his big nose into a burdgenioning civil war between Ptolemy and wife/sister Cleopatra.

Every episode of this series - save the occasional transitional episode - is set up against this massive historical background. My five-second synopsis sounds like a history lesson and yet the show is anything but stuffy, dull, or historical. Rome is told through the eyes of two lowly soldiers who find themselves entwined in the largest real epic ever told. These characters, as well as the well-known characters of Caesar, Cicero, Brutus, Cleopatra, and the future Emperor of Rome, Octavian, are extremely well-defined and wonderfully acted by a cast of perfect people. BBC helped produce this series and it shows in the quality of actors - most from theater - and, for me, watching these people's facial expressions is perhaps the best quality to the show.

But there are some many! The production design wowed me from Episode 1. The dirty, colored, streets of Rome, the sparkling brilliance of the Aristocrat palaces, and more recently, the sandy over-the-top decadence of Egypt. I don't think I'll ever forget the scene that starts inside Cleopotra's tent and pulls out to show the tent moving slowly across a desert landscape, the bottom of the tent crisscrossed with poles, the poles being held by fifty slaves.

Any reader of this blog knowns about my longstanding passion for anything HBO related and yet I still find myself completely surprised and entraptured by this latest drama. To many more years of Rome!


Shawn said...

Rome is a great show - and I DID email you about it (or at least today I emailed you an article about it)

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