On Rome

“Rome” the HBO series, that is – not the city itself. The city itself is of course wonderful, although when I was there a few years ago I noticed a lot more cigarettes: on the ground, in people’s mouths, and more generally the stale smell of them everywhere omnipotent, even outdoors. So it turns out that smoking ban here in Seattle may be a good thing after all.

Anyway, I just finished watching the HBO historical drama that ran for two seasons covering the rise and fall of Julius Caesar and the metamorphoses of Octavian into Augustus. I liked the first season very much, mainly for the historical elements that I thought were handled so well. Max Pirkis was extremely good as the young Octavian, and seems to be a remarkably well adjusted lad for the business. I liked the second season less because I didn’t think the historical elements were handled as well and the new casting seemed to be a bit off, although I did come to enjoy the fictional elements involving Lucius Vorenus and Titius Pollo rather more than I had the first year. None of this really adds up to a stunning endorsement, although it was fun. I guess I’m still waiting for the stunning rennaissance of Sand and Sandal epics that I thought Gladiator would unleash.

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