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Author Topic: "Rome"
the_Somalian
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I just finished season one. Despite the rotteness of several of the characters, I've grown to love this show. The production values are AMAZING even by HBO standards, and Cirain Hinds, as well as most of the cast, are captivating in their roles.

But make no mistake about it, it's quite as amoral as "Deadwood" and "Sopranos", both of which are shows I gave up on because of the lack of a moral center. It kind of takes the fun out of a show when you hope for most of the characters to die. Only one character made me feel that way about "Rome"--that soldier, Titus Plutto. I initially felt the same way about Atia but she actually kind of grew on me...

Thoughts on this show?

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Little_Doctor
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I love the show. I'm curious to see where things will go during this next season. Who was the next emperor after Caesar historically?

Oh, and his name was Pullo, not Plutto.

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T_Smith
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First, you are right- the production value was jaw dropping. This originally was only meant to be a miniseries because of that production cost, but due to the nature of how it turned out, was decided to be turned into a series (hooray!).

Each character is captivating: Caeser with his brilliance, Brutus with his mixed loyalties, Octavion, Marc Antony with a balance of loyalty and greed, Titus Plutto and Lucious Verenus with their brother in arms. Each character is brilliantly written and acted. There are a couple of episodes where I didn't like the actions a character took, but it what those actions led to that truly hooked me.

Every character was exactly what they needed to be. The scenery? Fabulous. The dialogue? Hilarious, emotional, intriguing. You really felt like you were there in ancient rome. It was hard for me to believe that, while inspired by real events, a lot of it was imagined, such as Verenus and Plutto, and the dialogue between characters. It's not as if they picked this dialogue out of a book.

The sex? A lot of it. Bloodshed and violence- tons. But as much as it contained, rarely was it ever unneccesary (the scene with Cleopatra, while comical, could have been left out as an example). I personally wouldn't recommend this to anyone who can't handle frank and open sexual situations, nor would I advise this to be shown to someone not yet mature enough to deal with a lot of bloodshed (ranging from excessive stab wounds to beheadings, to torture).

It's a very excellent series all in all. 9.5/10 if you asked me.

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T_Smith
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(PS, I said Plutto because I didn't exactly remember myself)

And, historically, the next Emperor was Caesar Augustus (Gaius Julius Caesar Octavion), aka, Octavion the nephew of Caesar. But it took a good deal of time for that to take place.

What eventually happens is he allies himself with Marc Antony and some other dude I can't remember and sets up the Second Triumvariate. Marc Antony then resides in Egypt with Cleopatra, and due to a number of reasons, relations went south, and Octavion attacks Egypt, and Marc Antony and Cleopatra commit suicide.

Oh, and Caesers (Pullo's) kid? Octavion kills him saying "two Caesers are one to many."

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the_Somalian
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Well Pullo and Octavian upset me when they tortured that poor fellow, and Pullo especially when he killed that slave out of jealousy and subsequently became an assassin for hire. This man has many redeeming qualities and softer moments, but he's just too rephrehinsible, and I realized this during the gladiator scene. I was rooting against him the whole time.

My favorite characters though were Lucius Vorenus and Niobe. Their relationship was the heart of the show...

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Amanecer
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I've been considering checking this out. I'm debating between watching this and Carnivale. Does anybody have recommendations of which is better?
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T_Smith
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I disagree. The torture scene, the assassin for hire, the gladiator scene, and even the part where he killed the slave all revolve around the same character flaw of Pullo, which is that he is, at his very core, a soldier who needs orders. That's what he's used to, that's what he's good at, and that's his downfall.

Yes, he has some very admirable qualities, but he's used to taking orders, and having a simple soldiers life, and he couldn't adapt to that once he walked away from the 13th. Which, for me, makes him all the more watchable.


His simplicity to life and the humor that follows, and my desire to see him adapt to life outside of war and the army, makes him an incredibly compelling character for me.

I will admit to cringing during the jealously/slave scene. I admit fully he would have been a better man for having just walked away. But given who he is at his core, I wasn't surprised. Where it led him, I found hard to watch, but truth is I care about him as a character and I really want to see him be ok.

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T_Smith
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Rome is better, but not by far. Carnivale, unfortantly, will run you into a dead end seeing as how it was cancelled with tons of loose ends. Rome is fresh enough that you won't run into it, just feel cheated that you have to wait for more episodes.

If possible, watch both.

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the_Somalian
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No I understand he's flawed, and I can tolerate similar flaws/shaddiness in Atia's family. But Pullo uncaringly commits brutal violence...against innocents. If his murder of that all too innocent slave boy was intended to make a point about his character, I think the writers made it too well. I don't want to make it sound like I'm dissing the show, cause I think it's great. Still...

I'm actually reminded of something similar in Martin Scorsese's "Goodfellas", that shocking scene when Joe Pesci kills the waiter because of hurt feelings. Pesci gets what he deserves towards the end of that movie, and part of me hopes the same for Pullo.

[ December 13, 2006, 09:48 PM: Message edited by: the_Somalian ]

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Amanecer
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quote:
Rome is better, but not by far. Carnivale, unfortantly, will run you into a dead end seeing as how it was cancelled with tons of loose ends. Rome is fresh enough that you won't run into it, just feel cheated that you have to wait for more episodes.

If possible, watch both.

Thanks! [Smile]
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Noemon
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I found Rome to be more immediately approachable than Carnivale. It wasn't until the 4th disc of the 1st season that I decided that I liked Carnivale, whereas I loved Rome from the first episode on.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Rome is awesome! My favorite part of the show is the devolpment of friendship and trust between Varinus and Pullo. They start off hating each other and end up being brothers.

The sex and the violence are acceptable to me because it is a stark naked view of how Rome really was (much as the harshness of Deadwood is also reality based).

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Javert
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I just finished the first season. I broke down and bought the DVD collection because I love Ancient Rome...soooooooo worth it.

I'm terribly close to getting cable just so I can watch season 2. But, I think I'll just wait for it to come onto dvd as well...and hopefully more seasons.

This is one of the first shows that has made me get on the edge of my seat and start begging the characters, as if they could hear me, to do/not do something. No matter how horrible they all are, I can't help loving these characters.

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Carrie
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Watch Carnivale and read some Roman history.
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graywolfe
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quote:
Originally posted by the_Somalian:
I just finished season one. Despite the rotteness of several of the characters, I've grown to love this show. The production values are AMAZING even by HBO standards, and Cirain Hinds, as well as most of the cast, are captivating in their roles.

But make no mistake about it, it's quite as amoral as "Deadwood" and "Sopranos", both of which are shows I gave up on because of the lack of a moral center. It kind of takes the fun out of a show when you hope for most of the characters to die. Only one character made me feel that way about "Rome"--that soldier, Titus Plutto. I initially felt the same way about Atia but she actually kind of grew on me...

Thoughts on this show?

Fantastic show. I'm of the Wilde school of artistic criticism when it comes to these sorts of things. Is the show well done, or not? I don't give a <blank> whether it has a moral agenda or not, I care if it's actually well done, and Rome, like Deadwood, The Soprano's, and their superior, The Wire, is a fantastic show. Terrific really. I'm sad to hear that these last ten episodes will wrap it up, but considering that supposedly it was just going to be a mini-series (according to Tim Goodman's recent review at the SF Chronicle), and was then extended because HBO was so happy with what came out, I'll be satisfied so long as the show retains its initial brilliance.
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graywolfe
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quote:
Originally posted by the_Somalian:
No I understand he's flawed, and I can tolerate similar flaws/shaddiness in Atia's family. But Pullo uncaringly commits brutal violence...against innocents. If his murder of that all too innocent slave boy was intended to make a point about his character, I think the writers made it too well. I don't want to make it sound like I'm dissing the show, cause I think it's great. Still...

I'm actually reminded of something similar in Martin Scorsese's "Goodfellas", that shocking scene when Joe Pesci kills the waiter because of hurt feelings. Pesci gets what he deserves towards the end of that movie, and part of me hopes the same for Pullo.

I don't think you're seeing the complexity of character development here, or as T_Smith explains, how the internal strengths and flaws of each character are revealed through their wise and poor choices. In this sense it very much echoes real life, all be it in their time. Additionally it seems you do not recognize the evolution of Pullo's character. No doubt there is a core there, that T_Smith has described well, but in his later scenes after the gladiator fight and his actions and non-actions towards the slave girl you do indeed see that there is an ability to learn, there is a capacity for regret in the man, there is complexity mixed in with the fact that this man has been essentially a living gladius for Rome his whole life. As T_Smith has said, his life has been following orders, not building a complex moral code to interpret the world around him and guide his actions, so on his own, without leaders directing him, he tends to get lost in his impulsiveness, and yet we see that this impulsiveness can also be his greatest asset, freeing the slave in the first place, and other such actions. I could babble on about it, but suffice it to say, there are layers of complexity that can be found within that seemingly simple man.
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Amanecer
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I also just finished watching the first season. It was excellent. I'm heartbroken that Niobe is dead. I loved her and Lucius Vorenus's relationship. I wonder what Lucius will do now. I doubt his Senator title is still good, and without his wife I'm not sure how he'll cope with anything.

I really enjoyed Pullo's character. The murder was brutal, but it was also extremely abrupt. Pullo didn't think about what he was doing. He got angry and he hurt the guy. When his impulsive anger fades, he realizes the consequences. He loses his will to live. Only when Lucius forgives him is he able to start forgiving himself.

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Rakeesh
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I personally believe that Varenus will support Mark Antony, whom he has very specifically sworn his final loyalty to in return for Mark Antony' reinstatement of Varenus to the Legion with a high rank and major signing bonus, after Varenus refused a previous offer.

This will probably put him at odds with Pullo, who will I suspect end up following (in a less direct way) Octavian, whom he's established a relationship with.

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Lupus
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Well, Octavian actually was an ally of Antony for a while. My guess is, the split won't happen this season...if it does it won't be until near the very end...unless they want to bring us all the way to the point that Octavian becomes Augustus in the second season...but even then, for at least half the season he would be allied with Antony. I just think that would be a hell of a lot of time to cover in one season.
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Geraine
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Have any of you watched Episode 1 of Season 2 yet? It was on HBO last night. VERY good episode.

Spoilers without being spoiled:

We find out what happens to Varenus' "Arch Enemy", and what happens to Varenus' family.

I like Pullo a lot. He does have a lot of moral issues, but I believe that he feels bad about the decisions he makes. He holds all of his sadness and guilt inside of him, and only expresses himself when he is. The time I really felt bad for him was when he was still in prison awaiting the time in which he would be put in the arena. The prayer he gave really made me feel for him. He prayed for his friends family, as well as his own soul.

Very well done series.

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Rakeesh
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Spoilers
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I'm not sure that what Orestes said happened to Varenus' children is what actually happened. While he's certainly capable of raping and then murdering women and children for revenge, it doesn't seem very profitable. Why not just sell them into slavery? The point is still made, and perhaps the humiliation to Varenus even greater. Time will tell what's actually happened to them...

And Pullo still hasn't confessed his role in the deception to Varenus, either [Smile]


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Spoilers

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Michiel
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It was a good episode, I agree, but I expected more of the speech of Marc Anthony. It was a cop-out, I thought, not to treat it all.

It's interesting how they constantly shy away from the "famous moments", i.e. Caesar did not have any final words, and now they leave out the Anthony funeral speech.

But I thought it was very subtle humor when Brutus says to his mother, "Oh no, not you too, mother?"

And Cicero is portrayed weaker and more slippery than he really was, in my humble opinion.

Also, it's noticeable how powerful the actor was who portrayed Caesar. You really miss him, which is just the way it must have been in real life. This great man, suddenly gone.

Overall, in a way it was a deliberately understated season opening. I like that.

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Xavier
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quote:
It was a good episode, I agree, but I expected more of the speech of Marc Anthony. It was a cop-out, I thought, not to treat it all.
It was told, not shown, which I also thought was a cop-out. Much like the battle of Battle of Pharsalus in the first season. Most likely budget/time constraints, but a shame none-the-less.

quote:
But I thought it was very subtle humor when Brutus says to his mother, "Oh no, not you too, mother?"
I think it was a more direct "and you, mother?", and the line actually made both Niki and I cringe a bit. Totally took us out of the moment. It wasn't subtle to us at all [Smile] .

As for Vorenus' children, I think that perhaps a long time must pass in this season, and they hadn't really convincingly aged the two girls so far. Might not have been worth it to recast them, especially when they'd likely need to do it again depending on how much time passes this season.

Which is a good question.

If this is the last season, then I'd assume it would probably end with Antony and Cleopatra's suicide. However, that is a long 14 years after Caesar's death. On the other hand, Brutus' suicide comes much earlier, so maybe that's where they will end it. It will pretty much follow the same time-line as Shakespeare's play did then.

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Valentine014
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I was watching some of the HBO On Demand and I hope none of you are attached to Octavius. He has been replaced. [Frown] I'm not happy. I hate that!
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Rakeesh
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What?!
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Rakeesh
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Oh, man, I was hoping you were somehow magically wrong about that! That does suck, and I thought he was great!
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Michiel
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Yes, they willl replace him at some point during this season with an older actor.

Xavier: yes, this will be the last season.

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Rakeesh
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Well, I was right about the kiddies [Smile]

It consistently surprised me, although it shouldn't, just how stupid Atia is. It's like she thinks using a combination of the stupidest parts of her brain and her lust.

I laughed when future-Augustus whaled on Mark Antony when he was down, even though he (of course) took a butt-kicking in that little scrap. Antony's stupidity was less surprising. Ironically, Servilia is the one who least underrates him, but even she still seriously underrates him.

Still a fun show, but I'm dreading the character switch [Frown]

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Verily the Younger
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I figured they'd be replacing the actor for Octavian at some point. My assumption is that the second season is leading up to the final defeat of Mark Antony, which took something like ten years after the death of Caesar. Granted, giving an impression of time passing is one thing that has not been handled well in this show. Still, it wouldn't do at all to have that kid still playing Octavian when Antony goes down.
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