Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Rome

We discussed this show when it began, and it's still been a bit uneven ... but I will say, you have succeeded as a show when yesterday every -- and I mean every -- conversation with a fellow Y-chromosome carrier involved:

"Did you see --"
"THIRTEEEN!"
"THE THIRTEEEEN!"

In the spirit of that, working on a post about action sequences. Check in later.

24 comments:

Heronymus said...

The Thirteen!

Pullo, poor poor Pullo. It's been amazing to watch his arc. From "gods get me out of jail" to "gods keep my friends and loved ones safe", watching Pullo grow has been worth the wait.

Stephen Benson said...

As a student of this era I have been very impressed with the accuracy. Yes, there have been some picky little things (stirrups 500 years too soon) but, by in large, this Caesar, Brutus, Antony, et al do behave like I would have expected them to behave. As for me, THIRTEEN! THIIRTEEEEN!

m1k3y said...

Best episode of the season, and that's saying something. And Warren says he's bailed on this show. For shame.

Pullo rocks, and its been great to watch him grow. So to Octivian, who I assume will be the subject of the next season.

Mostly, its just great to see Lucius and Titus reconciled.

thirteen.. THIRTEEN!

jon said...

Is this show intended as a one-season arc, or are they planning future activity? I'd had the impression that it was a one-off.

Rasselas said...

I like Rome, but I wish they had taken the time to paint Caesar in more impressive colors. Having secondary characters recite, for example, the story of his captivity with the pirates would have gone some way towards suggesting something more about him: "For thirty-eight days, with the greatest unconcern, he joined in all their games and exercises, just as if he was their leader instead of their prisoner. He also wrote poems and speeches which he read aloud to them, and if they failed to admire his work, he would call them to their faces illiterate savages, and would often laughingly threaten to have them all hanged. They were much taken with this and attributed his freedom of speech to a kind of simplicity in his character or boyish playfulness."

In Talbot Mundy's Tros of Samothrace, another Roman tells this story about Caesar to illustrate how superior Caesar was, even to arrogant fellow Romans.

m1k3y said...

Rome isn't a one-off, season two confirmed here.

Filming in March, for a 2007 screening.

Heronymus said...

Rasselas, I'm really not sure it's necessary, or even where they wanted to go with the character. We've seen arrogance and cowardice in other portrayals of Caesar; this version gives us his enormous intellect, continually moving people about as if they were chess pieces, while his ability to use understatement like a knife has been quite demonstrative. It makes him into a scary and dangerous man, rather than an arrogant prick or a snivelling simpleton.

Rasselas said...

I don't really disagree, Heronymus. I guess I've just been wondering, ever since the episode where Caesar showed up out of the toga'd nowhere at Vorenus's house, what it would have been like for lower-class, non-military Romans to see him after the end of the civil war, in person, walking the streets of Rome but being announced as "Imperator! Son of Venus! etc., etc.!" Would it have been fun, like seeing Bill Clinton on Madison Avenue? Unnerving but memorable, like seeing John Gotti? Frightening? Would people think about the pirate story, the Venus Genetrix stuff and the "man for every woman, woman for every man" jokes?

Frito Xyx said...

The only thing I didn't like about the episode was that the battle was so unrealistic. To cut through bone like they showed you would have to have a sword that was razor sharp, something that did not exist then. As well as some of the wirework being a little over the top. But as a battle scene it was very fun.

The show has floored me from start to finish. I light up my pipe, mix a drink and sit back and enjoy it, because it is the best show on TV right now. I think the early change of Verenus was what did it for me in the first half of the series, and now in the second half Pullo's fall and rebirth really have pulled me in. He ended up exactly where he was going in the begining of the series, and just as before Verenus got him out of it, but for entirely different reasons.

Next episode will be amazing.

Stephen Gallagher said...

Rome didn't get off to the greatest start here in the UK, probably because of the BBC's decision to edit the first three hours down into two, losing the balanced introduction of the Pompey/Caesar rivalry and sacrificing coherence for pace.

The BBC's officially-given reasoning is that British viewers are so familiar with the background to the conflicts that we don't need all that information.

D'you know, only the other day our windowcleaner was reminding me how Pompey carried the senate but it didn't do him any good. Thank goodness they cut the political stuff so I didn't have to hear it again.

Director Michael Apted has been protesting about it - rightly, in my opinion, as I've had the chance to see both cuts. We were intrigued by the BBC's version but captivated by the HBO cut. So much so that we've abandoned our broadcast version in favour of bittorrent-sourced discs. After hour three the shows are supposed to be the same, but it's easier to keep going than to regain synch.

nolo said...

I agree, excellent episode, and Vorenus finally jumping in to stand for Pullo was a wonderfully rip-roaring moment. But maybe it was my lack of a Y chromosome that caused me to think, fairly quickly, that Niobe's gonna be really pissed when she finds out.

Ian said...

So... could someone explain the whole THIRTEEN thing to us godless heathens without HBO?

nolo said...

"Thirteen" is the number of Vorenus and Pullo's former legion, and it is the battle cry that Vorenus raises (and Pullo then takes up) when Vorenus finally hops into the gladiator's pit to save Pullo from death.

Greg L. said...

I agree that the action choreography was fantastic. Pullo getting pissed off when the gladiators started making fun of his legion felt so natural because of all the set ups from previous episodes.
While watching, I began to wonder if Pullo was going to be killed while Vorenus watched...great to have the feeling of not knowing in which direction the writing was going!
And how about the episode before, when Pullo kills Erenie's lover! The wet sound of the head hitting the concrete; and the twitching...

Doctor Memory said...

Frito: I'm not so sure about the sharpness thing. I've got an atrocious, chinese-made cleaver in my kitchen that I haven't bothered to sharpen in years because it is made of some actually very cleverly designed steel alloy that is apparently impossible to put an edge on, and it still goes through chicken bone well enough: you just have to put enough force behind it. Human bones are (much) sturdier, sure, but then again a roman-era sword would have been much heavier than my cleaver, not to mention a roman legionaire being rather stronger than bookish little me. (Plus, if you get lucky, you don't really have to go through much bone at all: hit the joint at the right angle and it's just tendon and gristle...)

Sizemore said...

I stopped watching regular TV here in the UK as soon as I got broadband - that the BBC butchered the series is a disgrace, but I wasn't aware of it because I'm normally seasons ahead of my fellow Brits thanks to living in the future here with you guys.

I kind of like Rome and agree that the last episode was splendid, but I'd have loved to see them take their time with it. Season one would have finished nicely with Egypt, but here we are with everything whizzing by. Oh well.

Not as good as Deadwood of course but miles better than Doctor Who ;)

Rogers said...

I like your article on Dr. Who, but I swear to God I will kill you if you continue to diss my Time Lord boy-crush.

I too think Rome was a bit rushed, buit I can smell the structure-pitch on that one. "And Season One ends with the Assassination!"

DJ said...

‘The Thirteen”….”Thirteen”.

Just take pleasure in “Dr. Who” stop analyzing and just enjoy.

Sizemore said...

I was wondering if that would get your sonic screwdriver in a twist.

I just watched Veronica Mars and Lost back to back. It was like a good soak in the tub followed by the discovery of a lump in your testicle while towelling off.

Harriet said...

I have no Y chromosome, and yet, cannot resist the temptation.

THIRTEEN!

Side note to Mike: I struggle with the correct order to watch Mars & Lost. I *have* to know what happens on Mars, which causes me to watch it first (even--gasp!--live), but Lost is inevitably a let down. I would be better off watching it first and leaving Mars for a delicious apertif.

Anonymous said...

The season ending left me feeling like Caesar when Brutus sticks the knife in.

nolo said...

Me too.

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