HBO's Rome: Your Latin Refresher Course For The Fall
What history teacher could resist a $100 million television series about the last days of the Roman Republic? Rome, the 12 episode limited series co-produced by HBO and the BBC is set to begin on HBO this Sunday evening.
Over at Slate, critic Dana Stevens took a look at the first six episodes. She gave the first six a very mixed review.
According to Stevens, the series features all the gore and nudity that are HBO's stock-in-trade, so it's use as a tool for classroom instruction will probably be extremely limited.
I'll be watching Sunday evening. As Monday will be the first day of classes at our junior high school, the historical comparisons are obvious.
I'm usually one of those "the book was better" type of guys. Any television or movie about this time-frame will have to go a long way to rival the series of six highly readable and exhaustively-researched historical novels by Colleen McCullough that are collectively known as The Masters of Rome (info here) which does an excellent job of "bringing to life" the personalities and events surrounding the final few decades of the Republic.
Ed's Note: Good news Masters fans: Even though McCullough had concluded the series with the defeat of Julius Caesar's assassins, she has responded to much lobbying by fans and is in the process of writing one more book, which will be concerned mainly with Antony and Cleopatra.
Update: (08/28) After watching the episode, I'll give the producers an "A" for costuming and sets. The acting seems to be OK, (with a possible miscasting of the role of Marcus Porcius Cato Uticencis) but the sex scene featuring Octavian's mother was purely gratuitous to the story. I'll have to withold judgement (for the time being) on historical accuracy.
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