Friday, August 03, 2007

Rome.

Okay, just to add some variety here by not ranting for a change. I’m going to sing some praises.

Many many years ago, when I was twenty-five and actually finally choosing which trade to pursue rather than being a Jack of all of them. I saw the first TV production of Robert Graves’ I Claudius, and was absolutely astounded. Sure, the grotesque violence and the possibility of a glimpse of tit (just about unheard of on TV at the time) had its attractions, but what a story, and what a superb cast: Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, Sian Phillips, Richard Baker, Brian Blessed, Ian Olgivy and many more. In recent years, I was re-acquainted with the whole series via our neighbour at the time (Alan Wood – one of the nicest men I’ve known and to whom Cowl is dedicated. He died of bowel cancer.) and still enjoyed it. Caroline loved it too and it is perhaps a testament to the actors and the others involved in the production that it hardly seemed to have dated.

Now we have Rome.

I love this and think it perfectly entitled to the laurel crown which, to my mind, has been held by I Claudius until now. Yeah, it may not be historically correct but what a superb series. All the characters are well-portrayed, rich, in fact, and the whole thing roles along with a wonderful contemporary bent that makes it all the more believable, or maybe more accessible. My particular favourite in the series has to be Titus Pullo played by Ray Stevenson (pictured). We’re now enjoying season one again since Caroline bought it for me for our wedding anniversary. And long may it continue.

Something else to note. HBO, who are responsible for this, are certainly good at what they do. The cartoon shown in the previous post is from them (I think) and they also did Band of Brothers. All power to them, too.

7 comments:

Bob Lock said...

Yeah Neal,
I agree with you wholeheartedly, Rome was excellent, what a refreshing change to sit down in front of my big telly and watch something worthwhile. (Usually the crap that's on only warrants me having my small telly on as a background hum in my computer/office/spare-bedroom whilst I'm writing or surfing) but Rome was deserving of booting up the big Sanyo. And yeah again, Pullo was one helluva character, bloodletting and killing just another job. The episode where he was sent to kill Cicero was nicely done with him almost making it into a holiday outing, taking the wife and kids and politely asking to pick fruit from his victim's tree before doing the nasty deed (which was cleverly filmed too).
Perhaps I'll buy the season 1 dvd as well as I didn't catch them all.

ROMA VICTOR!

dave hutchinson said...

Yes on both counts; I, Claudius is astounding work, from the days when the BBC wasn't more interested in making `populist' television. And if there's any justice in the world, Rome should make stars or Ray Stevenson and Kevin McKidd. Sadly, cancelled after two seasons. If you really want to bend your mind, you should try HBO's Carnivale. Also cancelled after two seasons.

Derek Molata said...

Family Guy is from FOX believe it or not.

Kitty said...

Rome was a fantastic series, and you could see they were building up for the 'I Claudius' time period. The sneakiness of the Livia character would have been great to see.

Shame HBO decided not to renew it after season 2 so all the contracts were released on the actors, the sets torn down... and then it unexpectedly got good ratings.

Neal Asher said...

This is all extremely annoying, since I didn't know the series was dropped after two seasons. I was looking forward, just like Kitty, to it moving into Claudius's time with such wonderful characters about like ... Caligula.

no stinking loops said...

Another terrific piece of work from John Milius (The Wind and the Lion, &c.), who wrote 22 of the episodes and is also listed as executive producer. (See his listing on imdb.com. My favorite credit: as "spiritual advisor" on Lone Wolf McQuade.)

My understanding is that the show was terrifically expensive to make. The producers insisted that every detail of set and costume be as authentic as possible. Most of that money is probably not visible, but it would be interesting to see the inventory and price-list.

Anyone interested in a Titus-in-08 bumpersticker? Then here's a prototype -- I can't recall where it originated:

Titus

Cheers

sa

no stinking loops said...

Milius is one of the few political conservatives in Hollywood who can still find work. James Woods is another.

An old, but very funny interview:

Woods on fire

Cheers

sa