Sunday, March 25, 2007

Rome

2005-2007

Staring: Kevin McKidd (Lucius Vorenus), Ray Stevenson (Titus Pullo), James Purefoy (Mark Antony), Polly Walker (Atia of the Julii), Ciarán Hinds (Julius Caesar), Lyndsey Marshal (Cleopatra).

What a ride. With the series finale just coming by this past Sunday evening, I must admit that in the time period that this aired, no show even came close to matching it in quality.

Much of the story of Rome centers around two characters, Vorenus and Pullo, who follow the historical events from the last days of the Roman Republic to the eventual rise of the Roman Empire.

After finishing the series, I have to say that Purefoy was brilliant as Mark Antony. The actor has been around for some time, but I think was his huge break into “mainstream” media. Out of almost all the characters his struck me as the most solid, and there were many solid performances.

Tobias Menzies was wonderful as the traitor Brutus. It was a shame his role (and the entire plot of their escape and chase across the Republic) was reduced so much in the first episodes of the second season. The scheming Atia (Walker), was gorgeous and brutal at the same time, and was a delight to watch week after week. The ever wonderful Ian McNeice as the over the top Newsreader, telling the top “headlines” of the day to the masses as a way to transition between scenes. I have to admit that I don’t think there was a single actor or actress that was out of place in this series.

One thing that bothers many is the transition of Tobias Menzies as the young Octavian to the older Simon Woods. I don’t fault the switch, while Woods might be more “wooden” in the character than Menzies ever was, he sure does bring a better air of maturity and age to the character, where he should be if this was in fact the current time that the story is taking place in the second season. If only they had aged the other younger characters appropriately as well.

The one truly disappointing thing I have with the entire series is that they only had two seasons. Season two should have been the events that occurred between the assassination of Julius and the death of Brutus and the fall of his army, with the third season covering the entirety of events from then to Cleopatra and Mark Antony’s fall. If I’ve spoiled something by saying that, I probably shouldn’t tell you that the boat sinks in Titanic.

As I’ve heard someone else say when referencing this show: When in Rome, don’t do as the Romans do. Few words that are more truthful have been spoken in a long time.

Verdict: *****/*****

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